Larry Elder

 "At one station," reported the Washington Post, "a woman showered election workers with handfuls of candy. At another, a veiled, elderly woman kept repeating, 'God's blessings on you' to election workers. Across town, three Iraqi soldiers carried an elderly man in a wheelchair two blocks to a voting booth. . . . 'God willing, this election will be the nail in the coffin of the terrorists,' Abbas Salem, a real estate agent in Mosul, said after voting."

 A New York Times reporter talked to a former Iraqi Army officer under the Saddam Hussein regime. The ex-officer said in 2002, when Saddam last held an "election," he showed up at the polling place at the last minute, only to find his ballot had already been filled out for him. Today, the man said, he walked for two or three hours to get to the polling place -- that's how excited he was.

 How about this account from the Washington Times:

The last time 82-year-old Malia Ahmed stepped out of her house in the mountains that divide Iraq from Iran, her hometown of Biyara was controlled by an Islamist militia with links to al Qaeda.

That was more than two years ago.

Today, too frail to walk, she was carried by her grandson, Ali Nasreddin, to the local polling station to vote.

'She suddenly made the decision yesterday,' Mr. Nasreddin said. 'Every vote counted, she told me.'

Too tired to speak, Mrs. Ahmed limited herself to waving a finger soaked in indelible purple ink at a reporter. Then . . . her grandson hauled her onto his back to start the 20-minute walk home.

 How about the new mayor of Baghdad, who wishes to erect a monument to George W. Bush? "'We will build a statue for Bush,' said Ali Fadel. . . . 'He is the symbol of freedom. . . . We have a lot of work and we are especially grateful to the soldiers of the USA for freeing our country of tyranny.'"

 Another paper wrote about an elated eastern Baghdad Sunni engineer, who said, "'Everybody feels that he is human today and can have a free voice. No one wanted to lose his chance. I think today will show these terrorists lost their chance in this country.

  "'But I want to say one thing: I want to thank the U.S. soldiers for bringing this to Iraq,' said the ex-soldier who had been imprisoned by deposed ruler Saddam Hussein. 'Without them, we would have to vote for Saddam always.'"

 The "Fire of Freedom." What a beautiful thing. Thank you, Mr. President.


Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com.