Do you hear angels singing?
I do. It's because three major newspapers wrote editorials today saying that postponing elections in Iraq is a bad idea. Hallelujah! 1. Don't Postpone Elections (washingtonpost.com) offers this:
The most compelling reasons to stick to the January date, however, are practical. Iraq's Shiite leaders appear dead set against any delay, and for the government or the Bush administration to oppose them would invite chaos in the biggest swath of Iraq, which is now relatively peaceful. Delay would be a victory for the insurgents, just when they have suffered an important battlefield defeat in Fallujah. Rather than leading to the negotiations between the government and Sunni leaders that proponents say they want, a postponement is more likely to prompt an escalation of the insurgency coupled with demands that U.S. forces leave Iraq before any vote is held.Did you hear that? The Washington Post just admitted that "the biggest swath of Iraq" is "relatively peaceful." Is something funny in the air today or what! 2. The Wall Street Journal (subscription-only) offers this:
More than 50 Americans have just died and hundreds more were wounded correcting President Bush's decision to allow Iraqi insurgents a Fallujah safe haven back in April. So it's more than a little disheartening to hear the sudden talk of postponing by six months or more the scheduled January 30 elections, for which the second Battle of Fallujah and other recent operations were designed to pave the way. . . The argument for postponement, of course, is that the insurgency in Iraq will make holding elections difficult. Of particular concern is the Sunni Triangle, and the possibility that an organized boycott or low voter turnout there will make reconciliation between Iraq's Sunnis and the resulting government more or less impossible, leading to a permanent Sunni insurgency or escalation to civil war. . . Over the weekend Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih summed up the bottom line nicely, saying that while it would be a real challenge to hold elections on time, delay would be worse because it would have "serious ramifications to the political process" and bolster the Baathists and terrorists. As for Iraq's Sunnis generally, the way to get them on board is not to cede them effective veto power but to give those among them who want to participate the prospect of a real legislative presence. Any elected Shiite majority will be able to succeed only if it recognizes minority rights, which the Kurds as well as the Sunnis will be demanding. . . In our view, two of the largest U.S. mistakes in handling post-Saddam Iraq were ceding insurgent safe havens, and gambling recklessly with the allegiance of the majority Shiites by delaying democracy and dabbling in re-Baathification. We got a second chance to deal with Fallujah. But one more delay in moving to a democratically legitimate government could set in motion events from which we might not recover. A January 30 (or thereabouts) vote, however imperfect the conditions, is the most responsible option. . .3. The LA Times: Ballots, the Insurgents' Enemy has this:
It seems certain that not every eligible Iraqi will have the opportunity to vote in January. Troubling as that is, if a majority of possible voters do get to choose a generally representative national assembly, and it succeeds in writing a permanent constitution, millions of Iraqis will acquire a stake in their country. The election would also lay the groundwork for eventual withdrawal of U.S. forces, whose presence both angers Iraqis and reassures them that all-out civil war will not occur.The LA Times manages to advocate elections while still sounding incredibly pessimistic. What is life like in these newsrooms? A bunch of nihilist neurotics perpetually pessimistic about everything that matters -- when they shed their irony long enough to feign concern. But they still endorse January elections!