Sunday's elections in Iraq were glorious for Americans who relish the concept of freedom somewhere, anywhere in the Arab world. The televised images were too rich, and emotional and inspirational for the Quagmire Corps in the press to dismiss. The cameras revealed the Iraqi people hiking to the polls in droves, facing down the dangers of terrorist violence to dip their fingers in purple ink and say to the world after 50 years of tyranny that "My voice matters."
While our national media were for the most part greeting these images with warm words -- after all, who wants to look like they oppose elections? -- this sudden bubble of idealism was in marked contrast to the daily diet of doom and dread they feed the public from Iraq. Journalists have defended themselves from those objecting to their overwhelming pessimism by saying they're only reporting "reality," unlike the president's supporters, who were mocked as a passel of Pollyannas. But doesn't the election prove that the Pollyannas were right and the Quagmire Corps were the ones out of touch with "reality"?
For two years, the liberal media have tried to transform Iraq into Vietnam. On the Saturday morning before the elections, there was Todd Purdum in the New York Times: "Nearly two years after the American invasion of Iraq, such comparisons are no longer dismissed in mainstream political discourse as facile and flawed, but are instead bubbling to the top." It would have been nice to put Todd Purdum's story at polling places so every voter could smudge some of their purple ink on his pessimistic copy.
Iraq is not Vietnam. It is El Salvador. It is Nicaragua. It is just one more country where, when given the chance, the people turn out in droves to choose a "fledgling democracy" -- one that first staggers out of the egg, and then stabilizes from global "hot spot" to a cold spot of calm. It is another country where liberal media pessimists suggested that bellicose American ideologues and their corporate puppet-masters were clueless about the natives. But in the end, who painted the picture all wrong? Once again, it was the New York Times, Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel and the rest of the "realists" who put their geopolitical bets on people who shoot at voters who have the egg on their faces.