There is an odd questioning among liberal ideologues of President Bush’s sincerity when he fanned freedom’s ferment in his second inaugural. It is odd because, whether or not you agree with the Administration’s foreign or domestic policies, four years have certainly taught that George W. Bush is sincere and resolute. Many doubters have rued the day of their unbelief.
I heard this tone of skepticism in questions posed at The Political Question concerning the Iraqi election this weekend. The questions: Would the Bush/Cheney administration allow someone who would demand the immediate withdrawl of American troops to run in the election? If elected, would the United States allow them to take office?
While it is healthy to consider scenarios, these are less that that; they are hypothetical questions that brush close to the realm of reality only in the coffee shops of blue America, not the bazaars of Basra.
The questioners make the wrongheaded assumption that the President or anyone in his Administration wants a single American soldier walking the streets of Baghdad, exposed like bobbing ducks in a carnival shooting range. Republicans and Democrats alike desire the withdrawal of American troops.
But withdrawal at what price?
There are no candidates in the Iraq election calling for the immediate withdrawal of American troops because they are interested in long-term freedom more than the short-term satisfaction of ousting foreign forces.
The only potential candidates who would see the timetable as more important than stability don’t have widespread support throughout the country. They’ve been too busy cutting the heads off relief workers to campaign beyond the Sunni triangle.
The hypothetical questions, then, are without basis, but in the world created by them, the U.S. would neither interfere with the candidacies of those who sought immediate withdrawal, nor with the seating of such a winner. To do so would unnecessarily undermine the process.
President Bush said in an interview yesterday: “It seems like most of the leadership there understands that there will be a need for coalition troops at least until Iraqis are able to fight.” But he added that “as a matter of principle, the United States would pull out of Iraq at the request of a new government.”
I don’t believe the troops would or should be withdrawn until it is prudent and until the new democracy can stand against terror. To do otherwise would be a mockery to the sacrifice paid by hundreds of Americans to free Iraq from tyranny and reduce its threat to the world.
It is a blue myth that Iraqis have an aversion to the democratic process before them, or even that they will stay away from the polls this weekend because of the danger.
The Arabic newspaper Alsharq Alausat published a poll of 33,313 Iraqis (in all of Iraq) 18 and older that was conducted by the Iraqi ministry of planning regarding Iraqi participation in the elections. The results, which appeared in the paper’s January 26 edition, included the following:
72.4 % of all of those polled said they would participate in the elections.
97% of Iraqis in Kurdistan said they would participate in the elections.
96% of Iraqis in the southern provinces (mainly Shiite areas) said they would participate in the elections.
33% of Iraqis in the central provinces (Sunni Area) said they would participate in the elections.
62.1% of those polled said that the elections will be neutral and free.
66% said that the elections must take place under current circumstances.
53.3% said the security is good in their area.21.7% said that security was average in their area.25% said that security was bad in their area.”
The appeal of freedom is strong, but the price is often high. As Robert at Let’s Try Freedom said:
“Iraq is finishing one chapter and beginning a new one in the days to come. We do not yet know what the new chapter will look like. We do know what the last chapter looks like – it is written in blood. The men and women who have joined the Iraqi army, police, and security forces have made a huge sacrifice. All of them are volunteers. All are modestly-paid, held in suspicion by many friends and neighbors. Many of them have been killed.”
Pray for the millions of Iraqis who on Sunday will be risking their lives to have a chance to elect their government.