Cynicism And Hypocrisy Over The Iraq Election By CavalierX

The sight of millions of Iraqis conquering fear and braving death to cast their votes was an uplifting, awesome, and humbling event to most people. The naysayers who told us that Iraqis — and Muslims in general — had no hunger for democracy were wrong. Those who told us they would cave in to the threats of terrorists were wrong. Iraqis walked for miles, stood in line for hours — in danger the whole time — and came in carts, wheelchairs and on the strong backs of others when necessary to make their voices heard. Living in terror of Saddam for decades seems to have inured them to threats, to some degree. Afterwards, they danced and sang in the streets, wearing broad smiles and waving their blue-dyed fingers in the air in defiance of tyranny and terrorism. The effect this has had on President Bush’s opponents is startling. Most have retreated behind the walls of Cynicism and Hypocrisy.

Many Liberals are now cautiously cheering the election, after warning us that it could not or should not take place, should be delayed, or that Iraqis would not vote. However, after more than two years of attacking President Bush’s Iraq policies on every front, they blithely praise the election while either ignoring or repudiating its author. Most temper their positive words with censure of President Bush, as though they wanted to help the Iraqi people all along, but Bush’s war got in their way. Here’s the heart of the hypocrisy: they never really cared before.

Remember the protests against Saddam’s mass graves in front of the Iraqi Embassy?

Neither do I.

Remember the candlelight vigils for the maimed and broken victims of Saddam’s “justice” on the steps of the UN?

Neither do I.

Remember when NOW (National Organisation for Women) marched to raise our level of consciousness concerning Saddam’s rape rooms and Uday’s victimisation of women, which included the abduction of schoolgirls?

Neither do I.

Before American troops set foot in Iraq, most on the Left cared about the plight of the Iraqi people about as much as I care about the plight of an ant colony. Now they’re trying to convince us that they really wanted Saddam toppled all along, but that there were “other ways” that would have worked. The Standard Line is, “I merely opposed the timing and the manner of the war.” Most of those “other ways” were tried; they all failed. We already knew from twelve years of diplomacy that more talking was not the answer. So America went to war, to free the Iraqi people among many other reasons, and the Left opposed it every single step of the way. Now they hypocritically praise the election as though they had anything to do with it… indeed, as if it would ever have happened had they gotten their way.

In Britain’s Guardian Unlimited, Michael Ignatieff wrote that “Iraqis fight a lonely battle for democracy,” as though they have had no help from Coalition forces. “Just as depressing as the violence in Iraq is the indifference to it abroad. Americans and Europeans who have never lifted a finger to defend their own right to vote seem not to care that Iraqis are dying for the right to choose their own leaders.” As ignorant of the present as the past, he seems to believe that the election only took place to give us an excuse to pull out of Iraq as soon as possible — or even that they happened in spite of American intervention, not because of it. “For its part, the Bush administration sometimes seems to support the elections less to give the Iraqis a chance at freedom than to provide what Henry Kissinger, speaking of Vietnam, called ‘a decent interval’ before collapse.” Ignatieff must think that John Kerry, unabashedly negative about Iraq on its election day, won the 2004 election instead of George W. Bush, and that Ted Kennedy, who called for the US to abandon Iraq on the eve of the election there, is the Secretary of State.

On the other hand, James Carroll of the Boston Globe had no praise to give, calling it a “Train wreck of an election.” On 1 February 2005, with images of jubilant, blue-fingered Iraqis still fresh in our minds, Carroll wrote, “Iraq is a train wreck. The man who caused it is not in trouble. Tomorrow night he will give his State of the Union speech, and the Washington establishment will applaud him.” I wonder whether he knows that the Mayor of Baghdad wants to erect a statue to President Bush? “We will build a statue for Bush,” said newly-elected mayor Ali Fadel. “He is the symbol of freedom.”

Carroll continued his litany of negativity. “Tens of thousands of Iraqis are dead. More than 1,400 Americans are dead. An Arab nation is humiliated. Islamic hatred of the West is ignited. The American military is emasculated. Lies define the foreign policy of the United States. On all sides of Operation Iraqi Freedom, there is wreckage. In the center, there are the dead, the maimed, the displaced — those who will be the ghosts of this war for the rest of their days. All for what?” Carroll speaks to the cynics, those who will never be satisfied no matter what happens. Oscar Wilde once said, “A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” That’s a fair description of James Carroll and the rest of the cynical Left, those who can only count the costs without reckoning with the results.

Some few, like Chicago Sun-Times writer Mark Brown, have had the courage to ask the awful question, “What if Bush has been right about Iraq all along?” On the very same day Carroll wrote his “train wreck” column, Brown wrote, “But on Sunday, we caught a glimpse of the flip side. We could finally see signs that a majority of the Iraqi people perceive something to be gained from this brave new world we are forcing on them. Instead of making the elections a further expression of ‘Yankee Go Home,’ their participation gave us hope that all those soldiers haven’t died in vain.” Brown speaks for a small number of Liberals who are bravely re-thinking their opposition to a war which has led to such a result.

If the Iraqis can be brave enough to defy death to cast their votes, surely anti-war Liberals can be brave enough to re-examine their position in the light of recent events. If the Iraqis can cast aside their skepticism in favor of hope, why can’t more Liberals do the same?

Content used with permission of CavalierX from Guardian Watchblog. You can read more of his work by clicking here.

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