"Millions of Iraqis flocked to vote in a historic election Sunday, defying insurgents who killed 25 people in bloody attacks aimed at wrecking the poll.
Iraqis, some ululating with joy, others hiding their faces in fear, voted in much higher-than-expected numbers in their first multi-party election in half a century."
And this from Reuters. But most media outlets are predictably reluctant to call this the ringing success that it is. An NPR reporter insisted that it was too early to tell, and the real measure will be the turnout of Sunni voters, both in the Sunni triangle and in mixed neighborhoods. This is, of course, hogwash. As James Taranto posited in a thought experiment that he proposed,
Suppose that, when South Africa held its first postapartheid election in 1994, Afrikaner turnout had been depressed by similar measures. Would that have made the enfranchisement of a long-oppressed majority any less a cause for celebration
The very concept would have been laughable. No, the early reticence of the media to declare this the unqualified success that it is is directly attributable to their distaste for giving the president credit for a major win. The success of the Iraqi vote is a great victory, not just for Bush, but also for his foreign policy. While it certainly is still early, this would seem to be the worst nightmare of the other repressive regimes in the middle east.
No one in a position of power will be sleeping well in Syria or Saudi Arabia (among others) tonight.