Day By Day

Monday, February 02, 2009

The Iraqi Election

Iraq just finished holding a successful round of elections. There was little attending violence -- so little that the Times of London could proclaim Iraqi Fighters Swap Bullets for Ballots [here].

In a reasonable world this would be hailed as a strong indication that there has been a successful conclusion to the American effort in Iraq, one to which we as a people could point with pride. But the MSM had little positive to say about this historic event. There was little reporting on the elections and much of what was reported was designed to downplay their significance. The elections were criticized and to some extent dismissed on the grounds that there was less participation than many anticipated. There was little discussion of positive indicators such as the fact that Sunni participation was markedly higher than in the past, that the Maliki administration made significant gains, that secular leadership was strengthened, and that Iran-backed troublemaker, Muqtada al Sadr, was largely shut out.

On ABC's This Week the Democrat position was laid out clearly. The peaceful elections were nice, but great problems remain and the outcome of our Iraq involvement is still not clear and anyway the only real significance of the election is to hasten our departure from Iraq and the region. And, even if we do consider Iraq to have been something of a success, it came at far too great a cost, not only in men and money, but also in policy terms. Iraq, according to the liberal critique, absorbed too much of Washington's attention, causing us to neglect far more seriousn problems in Afghanistan, in Palestine, and in the U.S. economy. Thus responsibility for the current economic troubles, for the Gaza incursion, and for the perilous conditions in Pakistan and Afghanistan are squarely laid at the feet of Dubya and the hated Neocons who invaded Iraq.

I fear that this interpretation, which in the end is little more than an attempt to shift blame for current problems onto the previous administration and to facilitate withdrawal from international responsibilities will prevail. Certainly the MSM in this country is receptive to it.