Postponing the Iraq election
There has been much talk, mostly from the Sunni side, that the election set for January 30, 2005 be postponed. Various concerns about the security of the election keep coming up...Fallujah, Baghdad, terrorists, you name it.
But these calls for postponement should be roundly ignored. Sure, it makes sense on an academic level that an election should be held only when everyone who is eligible and desires to vote has the same opportunity as everyone else to have a say in an election.
But there were calls to postpone our election for fear of potential Madrid-style or worse terrorist attacks. We didn't, and a very clear message was sent to our enemies, that their days remain numbered. Postponement would have created a very real impression that the terrorists are more than thugs, but instead, real influences in our internal affairs.
And that goes double for Iraq, where a terrorist presence is a daily concern for soldier and civilian alike. Forestalling the election may make it possible for more folks to participate, but holding it on the scheduled date sends the message that terrorists do not control the democratic process. And a delayed election can only help the terrorists.
Because the symbolic value of this first election is exponentially greater than its substance. It will make the restoration of the totalitarianism that the terrorists so deperately want to restore to the region just that much more unlikely because the people of Iraq will feel the tangible results of a freely elected government. And it possibly has one other benefit to various Sunnis who may not be too keen on a majority Shi'ite Iraq. It will make them all the more eager to cooperate with efforts to root out the terrorists operating in their neighborhoods. They won't tolerate being precluded from voting and participating in the process when their Shia neighbors are making decisions for them.
January 30 is a hard deadline for the terrorists. Don't even consider granting them a stay.