Old media naysaying on Iraqi democracy

David Limbaugh

1/18/2005 12:00:00 AM - David Limbaugh

 Far be it from me to accuse the mainstream media of rooting for failure in the Jan. 30 Iraqi elections, but their reporting sometimes makes you wonder.

 On Monday, MSNBC's "First Read" sought to draw a contrast between President Bush's so-called "liberty speech" (his upcoming inaugural address) and the "more and more details com[ing] out about how unsafe the balloting in Iraq is expected to be."

 Let me get this straight: The fact that we have enemy forces trying to sabotage the transition to democracy and liberty means that the president's goal to secure that liberty is somehow misguided?

 Are we to assume that liberty for other peoples is so unimportant to the Old Media that unless it can happen automatically, it ought not to happen at all? Are they so ignorant of history that they believe democracy can be won effortlessly and without resistance from those with a vested interest in thwarting it?

 It's as if these committed cynics are enjoying some euphoric "I told you so moment," reveling in the ongoing news that the transition to democracy is painful and costly. This hardly qualifies as news.

 Ever since Saddam's holdover miscreants joined forces with international terrorists to prevent Iraqi's transition to democracy, we've known that the election process would be extremely dangerous.

 But you'd never know it from reading First Read, which considers it "surreal" that the Bush administration is going to tout the Iraqi elections as legitimate even though "the names of many candidates [and] the locations of many polling places" won't be announced in advance for security reasons.

 What is our alternative, gentlemen? Would you prefer that our commander in chief cower at the increased terrorist violence leading up to the elections? Should he lose his resolve and abandon all that our troops and Iraqi troops have fought and died for?

 Should he, in anticipation of terrorist violence at the polling places, declare in advance that the elections will be illegitimate if the terrorists succeed in wreaking substantial disruption in the election process? What kind of self-defeating lunacy are these people advocating?

 It's not just MSNBC. USA Today frets that "mass resignations by frightened poll workers and police threaten the viability of elections scheduled in two weeks." The Boston Globe, instead of recognizing the wisdom in our decision to drastically reduce the number of polling places to make them easier to secure, laments, "Iraqis will have to travel farther to vote in an election whose legitimacy depends in part on significant turnout."

 The Los Angeles Times chimes in that "U.S. and Iraqi officials have begun to focus on the daunting problems they will face the morning after election day -- ones every bit as formidable as those they have faced since the invasion," as if that's some newsworthy revelation.

 Don't forget that President Bush, despite being pressured by the Old Media and Democrats to do so, has steadfastly refused to give a timetable on the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. He knows this is going to take a number of years and has never suggested that the Iraqi elections would end the war.

 The naysayers have always mouthed the mindless complaint that President Bush had no plan to "win the peace." Well, what's their plan: to withdraw at the first sign of any difficulty? In order to win the peace, you have to be willing to stay with the democratization process until some stability has been achieved. To win the peace, you must defeat the enemies of the peace.

 Instead of endlessly wringing their hands, these Old Media pseudo-champions of the downtrodden ought to be extolling the American and Iraqi troops risking their lives to secure for the Iraqi people the lofty goals of freedom and democracy, to which the Old Media merely pay lip service. They ought to be headlining the remarkable courage of the Iraqi people jeopardizing everything to secure their own liberty. (According to a survey by an independent Iraqi newspaper, two-thirds of registered voters in Baghdad plan to vote despite threats of violence.)

 The prevailing Old Media attitude seems to be that nothing worth fighting for is worth fighting for. Well, let's pray that their type is not in charge if we ever experience terrorist violence at our own voting places in America.