What Has Been Accomplished In Iraq? More Than You Might Think.
After Iraq’s historic vote this week-end, it’s worth taking just a few moments to contemplate what has been accomplished in Iraq since we invaded back in March of 2003.
When we arrived in Iraq, it was run by a maniacal, America hating, terrorist supporting dictator, who had ties to Al-Qaeda, and a history of using weapons of mass destruction on his own people and on his neighbors.
Today, roughly 31 months later, Saddam is in a cell, Iraq is a Democracy, and as a result of this week-end’s election, it looks as if a Constitution, written by Iraqis, which guarantees freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press, has been approved.
Furthermore, although the last Iraqi election was a tremendous success, the Sunnis largely sat out. This time around, not only did they participate in great numbers, a significant percentage of them obviously supported the Constitution:
“Initial estimates of overall turnout Saturday were 61 percent, election officials said. The constitution’s apparent victory was muted, though, by the prospect that the result might divide the country further.
Rejection appeared highly unlikely after initial vote counts showed that a majority supported the constitution in two of the four provinces Sunni Arab opponents were relying on to defeat it.
Opponents needed to get a two-thirds “no” vote in three of those provinces. They may have reached the threshold in Anbar and Salahuddin, but Diyala and Ninevah provinces appeared to have supported the document by a wide margin.
The latter three have Sunni majorities but also powerful Shiite and Kurdish communities, which made them focal points for the political battle.
In Diyala, 70 percent supported the referendum, 20 percent opposed it and 10 percent of ballots were rejected as irregular, said Adil Abdel-Latif, the head of the election commission in Diyala. The result came from a first count of the approximately 400,000 votes cast.
At least one more count was being conducted to confirm the votes, which would then be sent to Baghdad, where results from all provinces are being collected for final confirmation.
According to a vote count from 260 of Ninevah’s 300 polling stations, about 300,000 people supported the constitution and 80,000 opposed it, said Samira Mohammed, spokeswoman for the election commission in the province’s capital, Mosul.”
If 70%+ of Sunni majority provinces like Diyala and Ninevah are actually supporting the Constitution, then that would seem to indicate that at the very least, a large minority of Sunnis voted “yes.” So although it would be nice if the percentage of Sunnis supporting the Constitution were higher, having let’s say 35%-45% of them on board, across the country as a whole, along with overwhelming majorities of Shias and Kurds isn’t too shabby, especially when we’re talking about an issue as potentially divisive as a Constitution.
Add to that the upcoming trial of Saddam, another election coming up in December, and the 90,000 (and climbing) Iraqi troops that are in the fight, and it’s quite apparent that we’ve made much more progress in Iraq than most people realize.
The war hasn’t been easy, nor is it likely to suddenly become so because of this election, but we’re moving steadily, inexorably towards a free and Democratic Iraq that’s capable of defending itself from terrorists without Coalition troops on the streets. When that day comes, we’ll be able to bring our troops home for the respite and victory parades that they will so richly deserve.