Thursday, December 15, 2005

Today's Iraqi Elections

Today's elections in Iraq were enormously successful, as an estimated 10 million voters went to the polls. For the third time this year, millions of ordinary Iraqis defied al Qaeda and its jihadist allies in order to exercise their right to determine their own future. Most importantly, Iraq's Sunni Arab community went to the polls en masse for the first time. Even al-Qaeda's erstwhile insurgent allies warned them against interfering with the voting.

Today's events were clearly yet another defeat for the Safafist-Jihadists and their totalitarian ideology, and mark one more milestone on their road to isolation and eventual defeat. Al Qaeda and its allies regard democracy as anathema, and fear the impact of its spread in the Muslim world. Seeing a nascent democratic state arise in the heart of the Middle East is the jihadists' worst nightmare. For all their atrocities, they appear increasingly unable to stop it.

However, the struggle with radical Islamism, both in Iraq and elsewhere, is far from over. As Patrick Clawson notes, the elections are just a single step in a long and difficult process, one that will require sustained commitment and, sadly, further sacrifice.

Above all, we should remember the men and women of our armed forces, whose courage, skill, and determination have given the Iraqi people this opportunity. W. Thomas Smith offers some first-hand accounts of today's festivities from our troops on the ground. Through their efforts, they have made possible the creation of a new Middle East, based on freedom and hope. Getting there will be neither quick nor easy, but it is a necessity if the totalitarian ideology of Salafist-Jihadism is to be defeated.


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