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December 14, 2005
Nation On The Edge Of Forever

Day is dawning at this moment in Iraq -- Election Day, when the Iraqis freely select their first constitutional government in decades. Some estimate a turnout of ten million voters in the elections today, and while the biggest concerns will be about security, no one believes it will discourage anyone from making their way to the polling booth. Just the same, like a broken record, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi issued his traditional Election Day threat, making the even seem more official:

With Iraqi exiles starting to cast their ballots, including in Zarqawi's home town of Zarqa in Jordan, a statement issued by his branch of al-Qa'eda announced "a blessed conquest to shake up the bastions of non-believers and apostates and to ruin the 'democratic' wedding of heresy and immorality".

There were sporadic shooting and bombing attacks at polling stations yesterday, and several candidates have been killed in recent weeks. But overall the level of violence seemed to have dropped in the run-up to the poll. ...

In Tahrir Square posters were hung depicting Zarqawi dressed as a blood-red monster with the motto: "He wants to destroy elections, democracy, progress." There are growing signs that Sunni Arabs, who have led the insurgency for more than two years, will vote in unprecedented numbers.

Even with the media relentlessly focused on death tolls and bombings, it began to appear that the rate of violence had scaled down significantly. That may have come from a temporary pause in operations among the Ba'athist insurgents, the remnants of the former Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein. Those forces, primarily Sunni, have instead switched to defending the Sunni minority in order to guarantee a high turnout for Sunni voters and their slate of candidates. The rumored strong turnout appears to have been encouraged by these native terrorists, keen on ensuring that the Sunnis get represented in the four-year government in much better proportion than their boycott left them last January.

We will find out soon enough whether that strategy paid off and whether the Sunni make themselves a part of the new and democratic Iraq. Hopefully the results will encourage these native "insurgents" to give up the bullet for the ballot permanently, further isolating al-Qaeda and Zarqawi. It won't fail for lack of courage on the part of the ordinary Iraqis, who proudly display their purple fingers as the new symbol of defiance and courage. The cowardice of the terrorists cannot hope to triumph over them.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 14, 2005 9:31 PM

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» Iraqis Show They Love To Vote from The Moderate Voice
Yet another milestone in Iraq's transition to democracy: another vote in which Iraqis flocked to the polls, showing a clear thirst for democracy.

And this should be good news for several sides:

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Tracked on December 16, 2005 2:06 AM


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