Although the violence and attacks have been extensive and took place all over the country, the security measures put in prevented massive loss of life. Suicide bombers clearly could not get close enough to crowds to take a big toll. [emphasis mine]
Juan Cole, writing today in his blog "Informed Comment." Professor Cole, alas, can't quite bring himself to come out and state the obvious. Which is that the insurgents suffered a major blow today--because Iraqis courageously came out in droves to vote and because there were far fewer insurgent attacks than anyone dared hope. And note the italicized portion quoted above. Is it just me, or does one almost espy a sense of regret that the security measures, you know, worked? [ed. note: Why do I still blogroll this guy? I respect his regional expertise--but I fear he's too knee-deep in Ward Churchill disease. Perhaps I'll have to remedy this during the next blog-roll cleanup.]
UPDATE: I'm getting some mail along the lines that I'm unfair to Cole by suggesting he might derive pleasure from the deaths of innocents. That's not what I'm saying above. Cole cares about the region and its inhabitants, quite passionately. What I'm saying is that his quasi-pathological distrust and hate of the Bushies has greatly reduced his credibility. Why? Because he too often appears to be rooting for this Administration's policy objectives to fail (witness the almost monomaniacal obsession with each and every setback--day in, day out-- at his blog (never a good day, Juan, just one?). And also, people, because Bush is simply not the devil incarnate. Believe it or not, some of his policy moves can and do advance the cause of human liberty every now and again. Today was such a day. Cole would have done himself a favor by showing some magnanimity and judiciousness by acknowledging that. Instead, he's further embarrassing himself by penning such sour drivel:
I'm just appalled by the cheerleading tone of US news coverage of the so-called elections in Iraq on Sunday. I said on television last week that this event is a "political earthquake" and "a historical first step" for Iraq. It is an event of the utmost importance, for Iraq, the Middle East, and the world. All the boosterism has a kernel of truth to it, of course. Iraqis hadn't been able to choose their leaders at all in recent decades, even by some strange process where they chose unknown leaders. But this process is not a model for anything, and would not willingly be imitated by anyone else in the region. The 1997 elections in Iran were much more democratic, as were the 2002 elections in Bahrain and Pakistan.
"All the boosterism has a kernel of truth to it..." How shabby, ungenerous and low. Meanwhile, I would look forward to an explication of Cole's methodology regarding how each of the Pakistani election of 2002 and the Iranian one of 1997 were "much more democratic" than today's in Iraq. Regardless, read all of Cole's post to get a full flavor of the hoops he will jump through to deny Bush any credit at all for what took place today. It's quite, er, breathtaking.