72 Percent Turnout in Iraqi Elections
Polls are closed in Iraq, and itÃ¢€™s being reported that 72 percent of eligible voters cast ballots. If this number holds true, this is an unmitigated success, regardless of likely regional disparities in voter turnout.
But there is an interesting subtext: over and over what Iraqis are saying is that they were Ã¢€œvoting against terrorismÃ¢€ or that they Ã¢€œvoted for peace.Ã¢€ Which means that this election went from a referendum on the American Ã¢€œoccupationÃ¢€ to a rejection of the terrorism of Abu al-Zarqawi.
As insensitive as it sounded at the time, I said over and over again in my classes that what Iraq needed was for Zarqawi to start targeting Iraqis — because this would show Iraqis that his insurgency is not anti-American but rather it is anti-democratic. And he fell right into this exact trap; he murdered Iraqis and his terrorism was increasingly perceived as anti-Iraqi (except in the mainstream media). Of course it certainly didnÃ¢€™t help his cause when Zarqawi labeled Shiite Muslims Ã¢€œinfidels.Ã¢€
Obviously the new Iraqi government has a Herculean task ahead of it, but this is a major turning point in modern history. The Iraqi people are the true winners, but the secondary winner is the American voter, who once again put US foreign policy on the right side of history. The losers: the jihadists, old Europe, and most of the Democrat party.