WOMEN CHECK VOTING ROLLS IN FALLUJAHThe We Told You So Scolds of the conservative right are out in full regalia after what by most accounts was a successful parliamentary elections in Iraq despite a stepped-up insurgent bombing campaign.
Sorry, but I'm not buying even when you consider, as do the scolds, that Saddam Hussein may have killed more than the tens of thousands of Iraqis and 4,400 Americans who have died in a war that enters its eighth year later this month and is far from over even as the drawdown of U.S. troops continues.
I'm also not buying the scolds' assertion that Iraq can now be validated as the democracy that the Bush administration claimed in one of its rolling rationales for the invasion. (The others being WMD that did not exist and stabilizing the region, which is in a greater state of turmoil now than it was before the invasion.)
Or the scolds' view that since Sunnis voted this time after sitting out the first parliamentary election in 2005 every thing is okey-dokey because this does not take into account that turnout was down. And that Iraqi defense forces have come of age because they provided election day security and there were few incidents. I think we're going have to wait and see how these forces do when handling something a little more incendiary than standing around outside polling stations comes up.
Then there is the small matter of the trillion dollar cost of the war, which along with a tax cut for the rich gutted a healthy federal budget surplus, and the body blow to American credibility in Europe and elsewhere because of the Bush administration's serial lies.
Oh, and how about the election results themselves?
If Prime Minister Al Maliki's Shiite-led coalition won a majority of the votes, as is expected, it is a big win for Iran. If the coalition led by former interim leader Ayad Allawi won, then there is reason for guarded optimism because he has promised to work to overcome Iraq's sectarian divides. But in any event, a new phase of turmoil and horse-trading is inevitable as the winners try to get enough votes to elect a prime minister.
So that sound you hear is of one hand clapping. Barely.Top photograph by Joao Silva for The New York Times