Iraqis Go to the Polls - Left Couldn't Care Less

There was a lot going on this past week. I couldn't get enough of all the "Change We Can Believe In" sweeping across the nation. We have a Treasury Secretary who wrote off his kid's summer camp on his taxes, a HHS Secretary nominee who's been taking money from the healthcare industry while failing to pay more than $120,000 in taxes, and a new deputy secretary of defense who was a top lobbyist for Raytheon. Just think, all that and I haven't even mentioned Obama-Pelosi proposed trillion-dollar spending spree.

The most important event that occurred this past week didn't happen in Washington. You wouldn't know it from listening to the President, the Congress and reading the websites of the major news organizations on Sunday but Iraq held it's provincial elections on Saturday with no major incidents of violence. Between 50 and 75% of eligible voters turned out to more than 6000 polling places in 14 or Iraq's 18 provinces. They chose from among more than 14000 candidates for provincial councils that will hold local budget authority and control. With Iraqi-led security forces leading the way and participation among Sunni voters higher, the provincial leadership will be more representative of the country's ethnic diversity.

The White House did not issue a statement about the elections. The websites of the New York Times, CNN, USA Today, MSNBC and others buried their coverage of the election on Sunday below the fold on screen. The San Francisco Chronicle ran a story Sunday morning on page A7. The New York Time put any substance on page A12. The New York Daily News is providing a 34 page color pullout on Michelle Obama this weekend (as if that's necessary under any circumstances), but has only limited coverage of the Iraqi elections.

Disgraceful. The leftist media, is again showing its utter contempt for the nation's continuing mission in Iraq by refusing to give the successes achieved the attention they deserve. I'm not terribly shocked. I dealt with media bias every day I spent in Baghdad working for the Coalition. The media long ago decided for all of us that the mission was at best a waste of time and at worst a failure. For our men and women in uniform, failure was never an option. For the media and the left, victory was abhorrent.

If Pelosi, Reid, Obama and the radical left had their way, we would have withdrawn all troops two years ago. Iraq would be in chaos, the achievement of this weekend would not have been possible and the Democratic leadership would have more fodder for their protectionist arguments.

The media and the left have their new President, yet Iraq is still a thorn in their side. They are slowly realizing that withdrawal won't be in 16 months, that all the troops may not come home even by 2011, and that much to their chagrin, this great historic gamble might actually pay off.

They would rather you just forget about Iraq. They want you to focus on the urgent need for more government intervention in the economic crisis. Of course, in typical liberal fashion, after criticizing the cost of the Iraq mission, they are preparing to spend more money in one bill than Iraq and Afghanistan have cost the taxpayer since the war began - pork by the billions, dozens of new government programs and a resurgence of the welfare state all in the guise of stimulating the economy.

Before Iraqis went to the polls in 2005, there had never been a free election in a Muslim country in the Middle East. More than 300 million people had never cast a ballot, or had real power to effect the leadership and direction of their nation and their lives. The people of Iraq, who have stood in line at polling places risking their lives to participate in their government have each played an important role in securing their freedom for themselves and their children. It is a dramatic achievement that beats back any assertion that people in predominantly Muslim countries, don't want, don't deserve or can't handle self governance.

I remember speaking with people in the region during the 2005 elections. With a sense of complete disbelief in their voices they asked me, "Are they really voting?" and "Will it really matter?" The answer was yes.

Yes, America played a critical role in making that a new reality. This nation has once again paid with the blood of its brave men and women in uniform to advance the cause of freedom and basic human rights. Despite the mistakes that were made and the challenges we faced, we should be proud of our effort. There is more work to be done in Iraq and much of it will be for the Iraqis to do, but we have clearly laid the foundation for something truly remarkable - a functioning democracy, a free society that respects its neighbors and fundamental human rights - all in the heart of the Middle East.

We are closer now to victory in Iraq than we have ever been. My sympathies to those on the left - but for those who truly care about America’s ideals, its place in the world and the promise of freedom, this was a good weekend.

2009-2010Albert Solano