In October of 2002, some members of the media breathlessly reported that Saddam Hussein was re-elected with 99.96% of the vote. The Associated Press reported that, “all 11,445,638 eligible voters cast ballots . . . . Iraqi officials said popular outrage at American threats to Saddam’s regime made the turnout and percentage even higher than the last vote, in 1995, when Saddam received a 99.96 ‘yes’ vote.”
On Sunday, January 30, 2004, Iraqis actually had a real election. Braving terrorist threats made good with a bomb strapped to the wheelchair of a child suffering from Down Syndrome, more than 60% percent of Iraqis eligible to vote turned out. This might be one of those times when we have to forgive the American left for seemingly rooting for the terrorists who would deny Iraqis the right to vote.
While Josh Marshall found some good in the voting, Oliver Willis, ignoring the fact that Iraqis voted willingly in less than ideal conditions after years of torture under a man who liked to throw people into shredders, proclaimed, “I really wish Iraq were having an honest, safe, real election. But that isn’t happening, and that’s a shame.”
Kos is working on a thread that there were successful elections in Vietnam before everything went down the drain. Like Kos, Jerome Armstrong of MyDD is mockingly delighted that we have allowed the Iraqis to possibly vote in a fundamentalist Shiite regime. Juan Cole, usually on the cutting edge of denial, thinks the elections were a mixed bag that will not change anything. Perhaps James Wolcott sums it up best. Successful elections in Iraq will embolden that mysterious gang of neocons, a group whose membership no one can really define, but whose name sounds evil enough it must be real and really bad. That, perhaps, is reason enough for some to root against successful elections. It is, however, that on the day after the election the left leaves the impression that it would only be happy if more people were blown to bits, the election process collapse, and they got to gloat and say “I told you so” while, in deep pangs of anguish and with furrowed brows they say “we are not gloating. We’re just right.”
These are some of the largest voices of the left in the up and coming medium called the blogosphere. As time goes on, they will speak more and more for the left. Before they gain the credibility of the New York Times editorial page, the left needs to decide if it wants to spend its time apologizing for the United States daring to free millions from a tyranny the left has so long denied.