Here are some notables in a morning of notable reactions to the Iraqi elections:
First, NRO's The Corner notes three silences: The American Prospect and its blog Tapped say nothing about the Iraqi election; the DNC website discusses fighting to maintain the unsustainable status quo on Social Security, nothing on the election; and NOW has nothing to say, even though more women than men voted.
Second, Walter Russell Mead discusses how every vote for democracy is a slap in the face for the terrorists [free registration may be required].
Third, John Podhoretz declares the election a vindication for Bush's policies; Bartle Bull's report from Sadr City gives an eyewitness account of the vindication, and Bull sharply notes that "[t]he Kurdish leaders in the valleys of the north, the Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in the alleys of Najaf, the radical Shiite Moktada al-Sadr in his hiding place - all understand what they have achieved over the last two years. By showing great restraint toward one another's communities and a spectacular patience with the necessary evil of American occupation, they have woven together the long, improbable, unfinished carpet of an Iraqi future."
In non-Iraq notables, Leo McKinsry blasts Eurointellectuals for their anti-Americanism after visiting the American military cemetary at Epinal in France:
To European intellectuals, the term "American democracy" is probably an oxymoron. Though such sophisticated cynicism is contradicted by events in Iraq, where – just like in France 60 years ago – US soldiers have been sacrificing their lives to liberate a people from tyranny, anti-Americanism is now written into the European psyche, the last acceptable prejudice in a culture that makes a fetish of racial equality. Indeed, as I walked through the cemetery, my sense of gratitude at Bill's service [McKinsry's wife's uncle] was accompanied by deep, almost visceral, anger at my fellow Europeans for their constant sneering at America and their gloating over the body count in Iraq, despite all that the USA has done to free Europe in the past from totalitarian dictatorships, whether they be Nazi or communist.
And Ross Clark blasts Tony Blair for his global warming doom-mongering idiocy at Davos.
Back to Iraq: If you're feeling pessimistic, former hawk turned administration critic Fareed Zakaria supports your view that the elections mean little because the signs in Iraq point to a new dictatorship in the near future. Zakaria's just wrong because the ethnic strife he cites doesn't indicate a future dictator will emerge. Too many Iraqis are wearing that indelible blue ink as a badge of honor to allow a new dictator to rise from the ashes of the old one. And as a Shia noted to Bartle Bull (see above), if the Shia wanted to suppress or avenge themselves against the Sunnis, they could have done so easily in 2003 right after the fall of Hussein. Indeed, hawk-turned-dove Andrew Sullivan says the election is a triumph for Iraq regardless of the result.
Thus, Mark Steyn again hits the nail on the head:
When you consider the behavior of the Shia and Kurdish parties, they've been remarkably shrewd, restrained and responsible. They don't want to blow their big rendezvous with history and rejoin the rest of the Middle East in the fetid swamp of stable despotism. The naysayers in the Democratic Party and the U.S. media are so obsessed with Rumsfeld getting this wrong and Condi getting that wrong and Bush getting everything wrong that they've failed to notice just how surefooted both the Kurds and Shiites have been -- which in the end is far more important. The latter, for example, have adopted a moderate secular pitch entirely different from their co-religionist mullahs over the border. In fact, as partisan pols go, they sound a lot less loopy than, say, Barbara Boxer. Even on the Sunni side of the street, there are signs the smarter fellows understand their plans to destroy the election have flopped and it's time to cut themselves into the picture. The IMF noted in November that the Iraqi economy is already outperforming all its Arab neighbors.
You might not have gained that impression from watching CNN or reading the Los Angeles Times. The Western press are all holed up in the same part of Baghdad, and the insurgents very conveniently set off bombs visible from their hotel windows in perfect synchronization with the U.S. TV news cycle. But, if they could look beyond the plumes of smoke, they'd see that Iraq's going to be better than OK, that it will be the economic powerhouse of the region, and that the various small nods toward democracy going on in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and elsewhere suggest that the Arab world has figured out what the foreign policy ''realists'' haven't: that the trend is in the Bush direction. When Amr Moussa, secretary-general of the Arab League, warned that the U.S. invasion of Iraq would ''destabilize'' the entire region, he was right. That's why it was such a great idea.