Over the past three months, all we’ve heard about elections in Iraq is a steady drumbeat of pessimism — that the violence of the so-called insurgency will keep Iraqis away from the polls, and even that the Iraqis don’t truly want democracy. Despite our men and women in Iraq telling everyone they can that this meme doesn’t apply in their experience, the mainstream media in America insists on reinforcing this dreadful analysis with every terrorist bombing, making the Islamist strategy pay off in spades.
Tomorrow’s Washington Post takes a surprising point of view instead:
The number of Iraqis making sure they are properly registered to vote has surged dramatically, officials said Saturday, calling the rise evidence of enthusiasm for the Jan. 30 elections despite continuing security concerns that have blocked the process in two provinces.
After a slow start to the six-week registration process that began Nov. 1, the number of voters making corrections to official voter lists more than doubled in the final week, according to a final tally quoted by election officials Saturday.
Officials said that more than 2.1 million people went to local election offices to assure that eligible members of their households could vote. About 1.2 million forms were submitted to add names to the voter lists, an involved process that requires providing proof of identification and residence.
Iraqi voter rolls derive from food ration lists, so registration isn’t required. That piece of information from Karl Vick explains why the voter information centers didn’t get a lot of attention from ordinary Iraqis earlier on, a development that some media outlets apparently misinterpreted as a reluctance to register for the election. Having 2.1 million people out of 25 million take the time to confirm their status demonstrates a high degree of interest in the process and points to a rather large turnout.
The mainstream media intends on selling the Iraqis short, just as they did the Afghanis prior to their election. We heard nothing but how the clannish Afghanis would never embrace democracy, how the warlords would use violence to prevent the election, and how the Taliban remnants would overwhelm the voting centers with terrorist attacks everywhere except Kabul. It all turned out to be nothing but defeatist nonsense. Apparently, it looks like the same is true in Iraq.
One cheer for the Washington Post for finally reporting on the commitment of the Iraqis to govern themselves through democracy, even in the face of the Islamist lunatics. It would have been three cheers, except that they buried this story on page A12. At least they bothered to print it at all.
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