Thomas Sowell

The defeatists have been defeated.

 Remember all the political outcries that the Iraqi elections should be postponed because it would be impossible to hold elections with terrorism rampant throughout the country?

 Fortunately, most Iraqis do not see the American media, with its distorted picture of their country, so they went to the polls -- with a higher turnout than in our own elections last November. Over here we worry about whether falling snow will reduce turnout. But the Iraqis braved threats of death in order to take control of Iraq.

 First and foremost, it was a great victory for the Iraqi people. It was also a great victory for the magnetic appeal of freedom, even in a country that has so long been denied it. What some of our own politicians and media pundits are obviously afraid of is that it will also be seen as a victory for President Bush.

 In the eyes of some people, nothing that the Bush administration does can be right. If the President were to create a program that would end earthquakes and tsunamis tomorrow, critics would demand to know why he is allowing wildfires and lightning to continue killing people.

 The defeatists who have been defeated are already saying that the election is "just the first step" toward democracy. Every step is just one step. Invading Normandy was just one step, the battle of Midway was just one step. But, without those steps, World War II might not have been won.

 Senator John Kerry loudly proclaimed on "Meet the Press" that the Iraqi election represented President Bush's "last chance" to "get it right." Nothing is easier than to demand more from somebody else -- even when you yourself have been an obstacle to achieving what has already been achieved.

 Senator Kerry has a long record as a defeatist and obstructionist. Back in 1971, he said, "we cannot fight communism all over the world" -- adding in the same arrogant tone he uses today, "I think we should have learned that lesson by now."

 Ronald Reagan never learned that lesson -- and hundreds of millions of human beings are free of communist tyranny today as a result. But during all the years when President Reagan was building up our military forces and our intelligence agencies, Senator Kerry was consistently voting against the appropriations required to do so.

 What both men were doing was consistent with their respective assumptions and goals. Senator Kerry was just one of the defeatist elitists who regarded the communist bloc as a "fact of life" which we could only accept and which it was futile to waste resources opposing.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate