January 30, 2005 [LINK]

Freedom rings loud & clear in Iraq

Upbeat assessments about prospects for the elections in Iraq that yesterday would have been judged as pollyannish wishful thinking are today borne out as fact. All indications are that voter turnout in today's historic elections in Iraq was high -- perhaps as high as 70 percent nationwide -- while disruption by the terrorists was low. Even Dan Rather was impressed by the strong show of support for democracy: "courage" indeed! To the many Americans who rely on the mainstream media for their news, the good news from Iraq will come as a pleasant surprise, but it really shouldn't have. In the Baltimore Sun, Thomas Sowell put the terribly negative press coverage of Iraq in historical perspective by noting that U.S. forces in World War II suffered major losses even in such lopsided victories as the "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot." (link via Chris Green) War reporting that lacks historical perspective is undermining American people's morale, but the recent burgeoning of alternative media at least provides a saving grace. I don't know what portion of our press would qualify as "fifth columnists," as he puts it, but it is certainly ironic that so many journalists exhibit such a dim appreciation for what is at stake in Iraq -- a free press, for one thing. (To maintain an upbeat tone suitable for this auspicious occasion, I will postpone until later any comment about what Democrat leaders have been saying about Iraq recently.) It will take weeks to count all the votes, so it is too soon to tell whether the Shi'ite candidates endorsed by Ayatollah Sistani will be in a commanding position or not. For an on-the-scene picture of events in Iraq, see friendsofdemocracy.info (link via Donald Sensing) or Iraq the Model; the title in today's entry of the latter blog says it all: "The people have won."