Debra J. Saunders

 Web sites for peacenik groups -- and -- that were quick to pounce on the administration when things went sour in Iraq were oddly silent Monday, as of my deadline. I'll say this much: Silent is better than petulant.

 In an odd juxtaposition, the left now pooh-poohs building democracies from nations plagued with ethnic or religious strife, while President Bush, once a committed isolationist, has become the chieftain of nation-building.

 First Afghanistan, now Iraq.

 Al-Bander compares Iraq's new leadership to that of other Middle Eastern countries. Al-Bander argued that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak "is grooming his son" Gamal to succeed him -- the Mubaraks deny this frequently made charge. Syrian President Bashar Assad succeeded his father. As for Jordanian King Abdullah II, "What is his legitimacy?" he asks. The Saudi royal family rules Saudi Arabia as if it is in the "14th or 15th century"; women can't vote.

 Iran, though a democracy, is ruled by Muslim theocrats. Only in Iraq do the people themselves find "an opportunity" to determine their fate, he said.

 I ask Al-Bander what he thinks of those who pronounced Iraqis as incapable of ruling themselves. "I think it is racism," he answers. "What amazes me, it is coming from liberals."

 That's what Bush hating has come to in America 2005. The Iraqi people risk their lives to vote for a new government and self-rule. And, in response, John Kerry says the election has "a kind of legitimacy," while anti-war opponents can't bring themselves to acknowledge that the elections in Iraq brought light and hope to a once-repressed people.

Debra J. Saunders

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