Congrats, Iraqi’s

From what I hear on MSNBC and CNN, turnout in Iraq has been fantastic- up to 72%. That, mind you, is 10% higher than the turnout here in the United States in the hotly contested Bush/Kerry election several months ago.

Such a high turnout will be difficult to spin, and it appears that the ‘Damning But’ was strangled in the crib. In fact, check this out:

Millions of Iraqis turned out to vote Sunday, defying anti-U.S. insurgents determined to drown the historic poll in blood.

Suicide bombs and mortar fire shadowed the event, the first multi-party election in 50 years, killing at least 22 people. But still voters came out in force, many with resolve, some with fanfare and others with their faces hidden.

And here:

Several loud explosions echoed across the city as 26-year-old Lamia Allawi prepared to enter a primary school turned into a polling center. But Ms. Allawi remained undeterred from voting.

Even the AP is in on the action:

Some couldn’t read, but knew their party’s identification number on the ballot. Others couldn’t see, but were led to the polls by police.

Across wide swathes of Iraq, especially in the southern Shiite and northern Kurdish areas, Iraqis went to the polls today, expressing fierce determination and pride, together with hope that the election will improve their hard lives.

“I don’t have a job. I hope the new government will give me a job,” said one voter, Rashi Ayash, 50, a former Iraqi lieutenant colonel.

From the early hours of this morning, Iraqis stood in long lines that wrapped around street corners, defying militant threats of violence to cast their votes for the 275-member National Assembly. Dozens were killed as militants fired mortars, and in one town, a suicide bomber mingled with voters waiting outside a polling booth.

But people continued to vote undeterred.

RIP, Damning But.

At any rate, it appears that even the NY Times can find no way to spin this negatively:

After a slow start, voters turned out in very large numbers in Baghdad today, packing polling places and creating a party atmosphere in the streets, which were closed to traffic but full of children playing soccer, and men and women, some carrying babies.

After eight hours of voting, with two to go, American officials were showing confidence that today was going to be an amazing success, although they were still wary of major attacks.

In the Karada district of central Baghdad, everyone, it seemed, was walking to the polls, where they lined up to vote 50 people deep.

If the insurgents wanted to stop people from voting, they failed. If they wanted to cause chaos, they failed.

The atmosphere in the usually grim capital, a city at war and an ethnic microcosm of the country, had changed, with people dressed in their finest clothes in what was generally a convivial mood.

You can almost hear Juan Cole weeping (check out his only post on the issue), things have gone so well. Check out Oliver Willis, ‘moderate’ Democrat:

You know, I really wish Iraq were having an honest, safe, real election. But that isn’t happening, and that’s a shame. Even if you were and are opposed to this war, as I am, you would wish the Bush people would do things right just for the simple reason that it would help our standing in the world. But they can’ even do that.

Instead, we get a made for the media moment, then the cameras will go away and it will be 9/10 all over again, ripe for the next Bin Laden and ready for another Republican president idling his time away on vacation.

The mind boggles.

This Scrappleface post sums it up:

Iraqi Voting Disrupts News Reports of Bombings by Scott Ott

(2005-01-30) — News reports of terrorist bombings in Iraq were marred Sunday by shocking graphic images of Iraqi “insurgents” voting by the millions in their first free democratic election.

Despite reporters’ hopes that a well-orchestrated barrage of mortar attacks and suicide bombings would put down the so-called ‘freedom insurgency’, hastily-formed battalions of rebels swarmed polling places to cast their ballots — shattering the status quo and striking fear into the hearts of the leaders of the existing terror regime.

Hopes for a return to the stability of tyranny waned as rank upon rank of Iraqi men and women filed out of precinct stations, each armed with the distinctive mark of the new freedom guerrillas — an ink-stained index finger, which one former Ba’athist called “the evidence of their betrayal of 50 years of Iraqi tradition.”

Journalists struggled to put a positive spin on the day’s events, but the video images of tyranny’s traitors choosing a future of freedom overwhelmed the official story of bloodshed and mayhem.

Hehe. So far, Donald Sensing’s optimism was spot on, and those I chided for overt pessimism are going to have a long, long day.

Sensing is not alone- someone else predicted this:

Some, I know, have questioned the global appeal of liberty – though this time in history, four decades defined by the swiftest advance of freedom ever seen, is an odd time for doubt. Americans, of all people, should never be surprised by the power of our ideals. Eventually, the call of freedom comes to every mind and every soul. We do not accept the existence of permanent tyranny because we do not accept the possibility of permanent slavery. Liberty will come to those who love it.


The Guardian isn’t giving up on the Copperhead Conjunction:

Election officials claim a 60% turnout, but attacks kill 33 would-be voters.

Tough as Nails

This is unbelievable:

The first time Lance Cpl. Tony Stevens was bombed in Iraq, a car packed with 155 mm shells exploded next to his Humvee just as a device containing five more shells detonated beneath it.

By bomb No. 9, the former baseball minor league shortstop had become a good luck-bad luck icon and the awe of his 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment patrolling the so-called “triangle of death” south of Baghdad.

With a couple of weeks remaining in his second tour of duty in Iraq, the 26-year-old might be counting the days a little more closely than most and has become a seasoned, battle-hardened veteran of the laws of physics.

“When you hear the explosion, that’s actually good,” Stevens said, pointing out that because sound travels relatively slowly, hearing the blast means you have survived it. “It means you’re still in the game.”

As an Army guy, I have to tell you- Marines are something else. They are just cut from a different cloth. I used to joke there was nothing I wanted more than a platoon of Marines ahead of me and nothine I feared more than a platoon of Marines around my sister.

Is It Really This Difficult?

Sometimes Andrew Sullivan is simply amazing. He has recently been in a tedious little tiff with Glenn Reynolds and Mickey Kaus (who is telling one side of the story, who is being inconsistent, etc.) that I was mostly able to ignore. Tonight, however, he has outdone even himself:

GLENN’S DEFENSE: He argues that he only covers good news from Iraq because the mainstream media is doing all the rest. But doesn’t that prove my point? He’s deliberately covering only half the story. How that differs from putting fingers in his ears when bad news emerges, I don’t know.

Let’s see- Glenn covers half the story. The MSM covers the other half.

1/2 + 1/2 = Mass Fucking Confusion for Andy

Maybe his point is that he is aware of the bad news but deliberately eschews any reference to it on the blog.

Getting warmer. Except he doesn’t eschew any reference to it- he implicitly and explicitly acknowledges the negative side of the story every time he MOCKS THE MEDIA FOR ONLY TELLING THE NEGATIVE SIDE OF THE STORY.

My criticism of Belmont Club and Powerline is simply that they defend anything and everything done by the Bush administration. I may be wrong here, because I haven’t read their every word.

If you haven’t read their every word, perhaps claiming they will defend ‘anything and everything’ may be a bit much, ehh?

So can anyone point me to a critique of the Bush administration in any way that has appeared on either blog?

Ya lazy bastard. In other words, your accusation stands until someone does the research and tells you otherwise? YOur readers really are getting a helluva return on the 100k in donations you got last year.

I’d be happy to be corrected. Even pro-war, pro-Bush writers must have some small criticism occasionally? Just asking … And is there any conservative blog out there that can criticize my work without some poster eventually imputing it to AIDS dementia?

If it makes you feel better, I think you were drunk when you wrote this. At least I hope so.

The Damning “But”

The Damning But (aka the “Copperhead Conjunction”) is out in full force:


Iraq to Vote Shadowed by Threat of Bloodbath-Sat Jan 29, 2005 04:24 PM ET

Insurgents threatened a bloodbath on Sunday when Iraqis go to the polls in an election intended to unite the country and quell violence but which could instead foment sectarian strife.

Or they could all join hands and sing Kumbaya. Or they could go on without incident. Or there could be some mild violence and nothing more. The possibilities are endless. Why pimp only the worst case?


Iraq leaders urge calm on election eve, two Americans killed in embassy attack

Iraqi officials have predicted up to eight million of 14 million voters will turn out for Sunday’s election to choose a National Assembly and governing councils in the 18 provinces. Voters in the Kurdish-run north also will select a regional legislature.

But turnout is uncertain, especially in the Sunni Muslim areas of central, northern and western Iraq where the insurgency is most deadly. About 300,000 Iraqi and U.S. troops are on the streets and on standby to protect voters.

Of course turnout is uncertain, you pompous gasbags. Turnout is always uncertain before ANY election. Even here in the gold old United States of America.


More blood shed as vote nears

A dusk-to-dawn curfew and a ban on travel between provinces were imposed, and the Government today extended a state of emergency for one month.

But the measures could not prevent the attack on the US embassy compound, housed in one of Saddam’s gigantic palaces inside the heavily-fortified Green Zone and a symbol of the American presence in Iraq.

Of course the measures couldn’t stop the attack- otherwise you wouldn’t be writing it. Note to reporters- in the future, if an attack is successful, we will assume attempts to stop it failed.

The New York Times

Rocket Strikes U.S. Embassy as Iraqis Prepare to Vote

Iraqi officials predicted that 8 million of the country’s 14 million eligible voters would cast ballots on Sunday, a turnout of roughly 57 percent, in the country’s first multiparty elections in more than 50 years. But with insurgents threatening to kill Iraqis who vote and to bomb polling places, and with most leaders of the country’s Sunni minority calling for a boycott, that statement, by the Independent Election Commission of Iraq, appeared to be as much an expression of hope as it was a prediction.


Like I said- the media has their storyline already. Kudos, however, to CNN, whose Damning But was not Damning nor a reflection of the personal opinion of the author, merely a statement of fact:

But to establish democracy in Iraq, the electoral process will have to overcome threats of violence against voters and polling places, a history of dictatorship and repression, and generations of animosity between the country’s Shiite and Sunni sects of Islam.

I don’t have a problem with the cold, hard facts of the situation. In order for the elections to be successful, the obstacles listed will have to be overcome.

Give It Up

The extent to which the loony left will go to attack this administration over stupid little things is mind-boggling.

Dear Deep-Thinker,

Go sit your ass outside in Aushwitz for an hour without moving.

Then, walk from your heated hotel to a heated limo.

Get back to me which one is colder.

Ankle-biting morons.

PS- They had a heater on the dais and heated seats at the inauguration, before you get on your high horse and fall off again. They were probably part of the expenses you bitched about last week.