Vote deals a blow to defeatists

After The Iraqi Elections

February 03, 2005|By 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's distorted picture of their country, so they went to the polls -- with a higher turnout than in our own elections in 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.

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.

Sen. John Kerry 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.

Mr. 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" that we could only accept and that was futile to waste resources opposing.

They imagined themselves to be so much wiser than other people that condescension was only natural, as they brushed aside any other viewpoint with such dismissive words as "cowboy" or even "stupid." That events proved the defeatist elitists dead wrong in the Cold War -- and now again in the Iraqi elections -- has not yet broken through their smugness.

Senator Kerry has been a defeatist in another way. He has been quick to throw to the wolves foreign allies who have been depicted as mere accomplices in America's futile efforts.

During the current struggle for Iraq, Senator Kerry has called Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi a "puppet" -- once more giving aid and comfort to the enemy by undermining an ally, in this case a man who is putting his life on the line in a country where terrorist assassinations have become a way of life.

Senator Kerry's long years of defeatism, obstructionism and abetting our enemies have been largely overlooked by the mainstream media. But many in that media have been doing the same thing. The courage of the Iraqis should shame the defeatists -- if they had any shame.

Thomas Sowell, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, writes a syndicated column that appears Thursdays in The Sun.

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