Friday, February 13, 2009

A quiet miracle occurs unreported in the Arab Middle East

If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? Now we know definitively the answer to that old puzzler. Yes, it makes a sound, but if it's good news from Iraq, no one will hear it because the mainstream media will suddenly be stricken by nationwide blindness and deafness. Sir Charles Krauthammer has been paying attention as usual, and reports on the good news from Iraq despite the media blackout. They held an election and a peaceful one at that. And we won. Or more accurately, our troops won because it's been their blood, sweat and tears that brought this astonishing miracle to pass, the first peaceful democracy forming in the Arab Middle East.
Preoccupied as it was poring over Tom Daschle's tax returns, Washington hardly noticed a near-miracle abroad. Iraq held provincial elections. There was no Election Day violence. Security was handled by Iraqi forces with little U.S. involvement. A fabulous bazaar of 14,400 candidates representing 400 parties participated, yielding results highly favorable to both Iraq and the United States.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki went from leader of a small Islamic party to leader of the "State of Law Party," campaigning on security and secular nationalism. He won a smashing victory. His chief rival, a more sectarian and pro-Iranian Shiite religious party, was devastated. Another major Islamic party, the pro-Iranian Sadr faction, went from 11 percent of the vote to 3 percent, losing badly in its stronghold of Baghdad. The Islamic Fadhila party that had dominated Basra was almost wiped out.
When Mookie and his Al Sadr thugs lose, we win, the Iraqi people win and Iran loses. Of course, it's still possible to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and Obama can still pull it off.

This is not to say that these astonishing gains are irreversible. There loom three possible threats: (a) a coup from a rising and relatively clean military disgusted with the corruption of civilian politicians -- the familiar post-colonial pattern of the past half-century; (b) a strongman emerging from a democratic system (Maliki?) and then subverting it, following the Russian and Venezuelan models; or (c) the collapse of the current system because of a premature U.S. withdrawal that leads to a collapse of security.

Averting the first two is the job of Iraqis. Averting the third is the job of the U.S. Which is why President Obama's reaction to these remarkable elections, a perfunctory statement noting that they "should continue the process of Iraqis taking responsibility for their future," was shockingly detached and ungenerous.

When you become president of the United States you inherit its history, even the parts you would have done differently. Obama might argue that American sacrifices in Iraq were not worth what we achieved. But for the purposes of current and future policy, that is entirely moot. Despite Obama's opposition, America went on to create a small miracle in the heart of the Arab Middle East. President Obama is now the custodian of that miracle. It is his duty as leader of the nation that gave birth to this fledgling democracy to ensure that he does nothing to undermine it.

Read the whole thing and get the news you missed from the MSM (AKA Obama News Network).

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