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December 09, 2005

Welcome to Self-Government, Iraq

In 6 days, Iraqis will vote for their new parliament; yet another milestone hit on-time. The WaPo notes that the political game is afoot and it looks very familiar; campaign posters, 30-second TV spots, negative campaigning, the works.

What kind of government will Iraqis vote in? That question is really up in the air at this point. Some think that it may be a little too Iranian for their comfort, others think it may be quite amenable to the West. (I predict that liberals will be reliably defeatist with the outcome not matter what it is. If it's too sharia-like, they'll call it a failure of the Bush administration for not ensuring a friendly government. If it is a friendly government, they'll claim that it's a puppet regime and find a way to tie it to Halliburton.)

However, what's really the point is that it will be Iraqis deciding on how they want to be governed. This is, after all, self government, something they've not had in Iraq for a good long time. And no matter how it turns out, that's a win for them.

Will it be full of halting progress and missteps? Undoubtedly. This is all new to them, and the idea of governing by force is still too ingrained to be removed at the drop of a hat. We'll still hear of police overstepping their boundaries. But they are at least on the road, taking the journey, and not under the thumb of a ruling minority that would kill you if you looked at them sideways.

Will there be arguing and bad-mouthing and legislative logjams? Yup, just like here. That's part of being a representative democracy. Don't forget, this country was started because of an argument.

Will this spread? I certainly hope so. Iran could use some real democratic reforms. (When the mad mullahs, who hold the real power, talk about wiping Israel off the map, it's time.) The oppressive regimes in other neighboring countries are, I believe, the real reason the area is so unstable and volatile.

Let's stand with the Iraqi people as they begin their journey, and let's remember it's their journey to take, even if we may not agree with some of their choices.

Posted by Doug at December 9, 2005 04:26 PM

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