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September 19, 2005
Afghanistan Elections A Smashing Success

The Afghanis have conducted yet another successful election, with millions of its citizens casting votes despite the threats of violence from former Taliban remnants. In fact, security held up well for the voting, with only a few isolated incidents of violence:

Afghans embraced democracy by the millions yesterday, with voters undaunted by weeks of violence and threats of terrorist attacks to cast ballots for the first elected parliament in decades.

The vote went smoothly, with only a handful of incidents involving gunfire or militant attacks at the 6,200 polling stations. "We are going to vote for the people who will do something for the country, not just for us," said Yosof Khan, dressed in the traditional loose-fitting garb and turban donned by members of his nomadic Kuchi tribe for centuries. Mr. Khan gestured to a throng of bearded men who nodded in agreement outside tents pitched amid desolate mountain peaks east of Kabul.

With more than 12 million voters registered, election officials said 80 percent to 85 percent cast ballots -- an unheard-of turnout in Western democracies.

Our last national election elicited a 60% turnout, considered extraordinarily high over the past few decades. Americans did not face the credible threats of violence that voters in Afghanistan faced yesterday, either. According to some political leaders, a handful of long lines induced Americans to forego their right to vote, "disenfranchising" themselves. Afghanis went to the polls even though they had been threatened with death for doing so.

Can anyone doubt that democracy has taken root in Afghanistan, and that its appeal truly crosses all cultural and economic lines? People willingly face death for the right to control their own nation and the leaders who have power over them. Only hope accounts for the massive march to polling stations in the face of fear, and only an honest democracy brings that hope. Contrast this with the wan response to the rigged Egyptian election, which only attracted less than 20% of eligible voters despite a lack of any threats of violence. People know the difference.

Perhaps, as Vladimir Putin told Chris Wallace yesterday and a number of pundits have claimed since 9/11, democracy cannot be imposed at gunpoint. However, freedom can be established under force of arms, and tyrants toppled by determined armies of liberty. Democracy arises when the liberated hope for a better future and use that hope to jealously guard their right to self-determination. George Bush gave the Afghanis that opportunity, and they took it for themselves.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 19, 2005 6:26 AM

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» Why we fight from Peace Like A River
You may have missed it, in between Emmy talk, and Bush ordered spaceborne-lasers to redirect Katrina straight into New Orleans talk, but Afghanistan just saw another successful round of elections. Free elections. [Read More]

Tracked on September 19, 2005 10:40 AM

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Tracked on September 19, 2005 10:51 AM

Captain's Quarters has a great post and link to news on Afghanistan's recent elections. Who really believes our invasions into the Middle East were failed attempts to spur democracy? The seeds have been planted. Very cool. Captain Ed's words are pre... [Read More]

Tracked on September 19, 2005 1:48 PM

» Democracy Marches On from Hard Starboard the soil that the American left insists is rejecting it. Afghanistan: Afghans embraced democracy by the millions yesterday, with voters undaunted by weeks of violence and threats of terrorist attacks to cast ballots for the first elected... [Read More]

Tracked on September 20, 2005 2:36 PM

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