Andrew Sullivan this morning has put his finger on where yesterday's Iraqi elections will fit in the arch of history:
[B]y the time of the elections, the insurgents had been able to show themselves as a real threat to the democratic experiment and to reveal their true colors - enemies of democracy, Jihadist fanatics and Baathist thugs. The election was in part a referendum on these forces. And they lost - big time.
Granted there is much work left to do, and this is only the first of the three key votes to be cast by Iraqis, with the ratification of a constitution and the election of an enduring government to follow, but I do not understand how any true, small "d" democrat could not have a touch of Mr. Sullivan's euphoria.I think this also includes the key to unlocking the conundrum in his mostly on the mark piece in the Sunday Times:
Indeed how do you create a democracy when you do not have order? And how do you create a stable and lasting order in Iraq without democracy? It seems at times as if we are stuck in an unending cycle of chaos.
Ah, but we are not stuck. Not really. Iraq's election day was made by a societal choice before voting even opened. Its successes with relatively high voter turnout and relatively low violence are the respective political and security manifestations of a cultural action that began in the minds and hearts of millions of individual Iraqis. So long as they continue to embrace a culture of freedom (and I don't mean just political freedom), the tyranny of insurgency will stay on its current path to extinction in Iraq. Indeed, democracy and security will grow together, and be joined by an increasingly robust economy accordingly. Let us pray that it be so.