Democracy in Iraq

How do we know things are getting better in Iraq? Because our Iraqi brothers and sisters are reaching US-levels of nonchalance about voting!

But while election monitors hailed a smooth vote, Iraqi officials reported that turnout was 51 percent – lower than expected, particularly in Baghdad, where only 40 percent of registered voters went to the polls.

Seriously, though, the good news is that the Sunnis participated and will probably gain political power (making war less necessary):

Official results are expected midweek. But early returns indicated that Shiite candidates affiliated with Mr. Maliki’s Dawa Party did well in the south, while in the north, Sunni Arab voters, many participating for the first time, were believed to have voted in significant numbers for al-Hadba candidates, a new party that has pledged to challenge Kurdish expansion.

The whole “challenge Kurdish expansion” thing is troubling, of course. But Iraq is calming down just in time for Obama’s Vietnam. It will be one of history’s sad ironies if Bush ends up being vindicated for prosecuting a “successful” war in Iraq, while Obama ends up bearing te burden of a “failed” war in Afghanistan.

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