Monday, February 14, 2005

Iraq: "The End of the Beginning"

Arthur Chrenkoff provides another great biweekly summary of the positive side of the Iraq story. Those who prefer to scoff at such a notion should reflect on the following:

Which is why many of those who for almost two years provided us with a steady diet of disaster and negativity out of Iraq were unprepared and quite clearly taken aback by the spectacle of a majority of Iraqis defying the terrorists to participate in what was by large a free and successful democratic election.

Steyn is right; the seeds of a democratic culture are harder to spot, particularly for media obsess with reporting events (explosions, gunfights) as opposed to processes (reconstruction--physical, political, spiritual--of a country and society). The verdict on Iraq remains open. Only time will tell if Saddam's former domain will become a normal and successful state, perhaps the first Middle Eastern domino to fall for democratization and reform, or whether if and religious entropy will prevail to send Iraq down a spiral of theocracy, or perhaps civil war and territorial disintegration.

Yet if Iraq does pull through, the signs of slow and gradual progress will always have been there to see. I have been chronicling them in this series for nine months now, and when majority of Iraqis defied threats and cast their ballots of Jan. 30, I was not surprised. The successful election was not a bolt out of the blue but a culmination of a year and a half of hard work by millions of Iraqis and citizens of the coalition countries. To paraphrase Churchill, the election, is not the end or even the beginning of the end, but hopefully the end of the beginning. Let us hope that the journey will continue in the right direction. In the meantime, here are some snapshots from the past two weeks along the way.

The End of the Beginning
(also available via Chrenkoff)


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