The violence is increasing dramatically as elections approach in Iraq.
I’ve noticed a trend among some right-leaning and/or Iraq war supporting thinkers. There is this notion that criticizing the Bush team and the current state of affairs on the ground in Iraq is somehow the opposite of celebrating and encouraging what is the historic and incredible nature of the upcoming Iraqi vote.
Actually, just the opposite is true.
We made a pact with the Iraqi people. That pact was made in the most public way. It was made the day we started to drop bombs on their country. At that moment, we entered into a one way pact in which we promised that we would do whatever it takes to ease the transition from dictatorship to democracy.
The fact that we are seeing Iraqis step up to join the police force and the new military is a good thing. The fact that we failed to deploy enough troops and do enough planning to keep them from getting blown up during their training is not. The fact that Iraqis will be voting in real elections is fantastic. The fact that we are failing to provide a safe environment for anyone from candidates to voters is not.
The question is not whether or not democracy is good and worth fighting for. The question is whether or not we are living up to our side of the bargain (and let’s be frank, we were the only side of the bargain). To suggest that the answer to that question is no is not to demean the glory of democracy. It is to celebrate it.