Oliver North

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- On Nov. 2, here in the United States, Americans showed up at the polls in record numbers. Over 120 million voters turned out to cast their ballots, believing that this past election was one of the most important elections in their lifetime. They had a personal stake in the outcome and found time to get to the polls. Some even sacrificed by standing in line for several hours.

 On Jan. 30 in Iraq, elections will take place for the first time in over 50 years to elect a National Assembly and install a new government in a country that only two years ago was ruled by a repressive, brutal dictator. There is a lot at stake in the Iraqi election, to be sure -- and one of the most important thresholds of success will be determined by whether or not the elections actually take place on time. Some want to postpone the elections and cite the terrorist violence, which they say, threatens the outcome and the ability of Iraqis to vote.

 Adnan Pachachi, the former foreign minister of Iraq, argues that the elections should be delayed for several months, though he readily admits "there is merit in the argument" that delaying the elections would give a victory to the terrorists.

 The fact that the terrorists are causing more violence is evidence of the success the coalition and the Iraqi people are making to bring about democratic reform in this country. It is something this column has been predicting for months -- the closer we get to the scheduled election date, the more we are likely to see an increase in violence.

 The last thing the terrorists want on Jan. 30 is for a free and democratic election to take place in Iraq because that will not only empower 28 million Iraqis, it will send a signal to citizens of other repressed countries in the region that a democratic government can exist and thrive in the Middle East.

 Showing their determination to prevent the elections, terrorists have stepped up their bombing attacks and even carried out an assassination on Ali Al-Haidari, the governor of Baghdad. The pessimists in the press see this as an opportunity to give in to the demands of the terrorists and delay the scheduled elections -- as if that's really what the terrorists want -- a few more months of violence before they give up and surrender.

 During a briefing this week on security operations in Baghdad, conducted by Maj. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, commander of the Multinational Division in Baghdad and the commanding general of the 1st Cavalry Division, a reporter for the Dallas Morning News asked what is on the minds of too many reporters and pundits these days.


Oliver North

Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.