Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Steyn on Iraq

I recommend Mark Steyn's column on Iraq in The Telegraph:

Defying the suicide bombers and head-hackers, courageous Iraqis went to the polls in huge numbers. Before the vote, the naysayers told us that the indelible purple dye on each voter's finger would mark them out for punishment by "insurgents". Instead, it became a defiant symbol of the country's freedom.
I liked the picture of some grizzled beaming Arab so proud of his purple finger that he dipped a second one and then raised both to the camera - flipping the V sign, or so I like to think, to the BBC, to Sir Simon Jenkins, to Do-Nothing Doug Hurd, to those Spanish protesters and the rest of the quagmire fetishists.

The most fascinating detail in the big picture was this: Iraqi expats weren't voting just in Sydney and London and Los Angeles, but also in Syria. Think about that. If you're an Iraqi in Syria, you can vote for the political party of your choice. If you're a Syrian in Syria, you have no choice at all. Which of those arrangements is the one with a future?

I agree with the sentiment of the piece but I think we need to look on a much longer timescale. Those who so freely criticise the democratic process and liberation, whilst essentially correct, are obviously far too short-termist, and the absurdity of their position is clear with the help of even a little historical knowledge. Similarly, to suggest, within only a few days of the election that Iraq has turned the corner is risky. I tend to think that the Arab world might be shocked into reform and/or revolt, but we need to wait and see.


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