Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Elections and Iraq

The day before the election last November, I posted a comment on one of Bill Whittle's posts, which I'll exerpt here:
The frightening thing about being a free people -- about trusting one another and making decisions in an election -- is that we as a people might actually make the wrong choice. This has happened before, and when it does happen we always eventually pay a price. This time, I think, the price could be pretty high.

Democracies can make mistakes. We can be distracted by demagogues and by the chaos of the day-to-day squabbles, and miss the big truths about the world and our responsibilities in it. Whole generations of people can lose sight of the values and the spirit that must animate a free society....

Sometimes, we do get it right. And when democracies get it right, we can get it really really right, right in a way that no other kind of society can approach. I'm hoping that tomorrow, we do just that.
I feel a bit like that about the approaching Iraqi elections. The strategy that we've chosen in Iraq, as in Afghanistan, is not a safe one, because it depends on people whom we do not control doing the right thing in large numbers. I thought that the President touched on this near the end of his inaugural address. He said that we had confidence in the progress of freedom:
Not because history runs on the wheels of inevitability; it is human choices that move events. Not because we consider ourselves a chosen nation; God moves and chooses as He wills. We have confidence because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul.
I am glad of the President's faith. I wish I shared it more whole-heartedly. I do agree with the principle. And I hope that the Iraqis can meet the challenge of the hour, despite the dangers and the fog of this untidy war.

(I note that I am perfectly capable of quoting myself and the Leader of the Free World in the same post. That's real blogger egotism for you! But after all, a cat may look at a king.)


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