Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Democracy under fire...

David Brooks draws an historical parallel between the situation in Iraq and that in El Salvador in the early ‘80s, where citizens risked bombs and sniper fire to cast their votes. Over time, elections grew safer as freedom took hold and the violence waned.

Cassandra at I Love Jet Noise finds the analogy an apt one, and says critics have put the cart before the horse.
We just need to hold elections. With every election held, a tradition is reinforced. Time, and the repetition of successful elections, are what will establish democracy and eventually smother insurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Iraq is a different time, place, and culture than El Salvador and it remains to be seen how badly Iraqis prize their freedom. But my sense is that Brooks and Cassandra (whom you should be reading everyday, by the way) are exactly right: we don’t need to end the insurgency to pave the way for the elections; we need to hold elections in order to quell the insurgency. All democracy needs is a foothold.

Update: More from Dale Franks at QandO.

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