My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Interesting Historical Perspective

Charles Krauthammer has an interesting column in the Guardian today. The basic premise of the article is that Iraq is already in the midst of a civil war, it's just that the Americans are the only ones fighting on this side. But, just like America emerged from its Civil War to rise to greatness, Iraq can envision a great future IF the Shia and Kurd majorities start fighting for it. That synopsis might be too "Cliff Notes," but will serve for my purposes.

Because that wasn't the part of the column that got my attention. Krauthammer grabbed me with these three opening paragraphs:

In 1864, 11 of the 36 states did not participate in the American presidential election. Was Lincoln's election therefore illegitimate?

In 1868, three years after the security situation had, shall we say, stabilised, three states (and not insignificant ones: Texas, Virginia and Mississippi) did not participate in the election. Was Grant's election illegitimate?

There has been much talk that if the Iraqi election is held and some Sunni Arab provinces (perhaps three of the 18) do not participate, the election will be illegitimate. Nonsense. The election should be held. It should be open to everyone. If Iraq's Sunni Arabs - barely 20% of the population - decide that they cannot abide giving up their 80 years of minority rule, which ended with 30 years of Saddam Hussein's atrocious tyranny, then tough luck.

Of course, it would have to be true that Lincoln's re-election was not by the country as a whole; and I am shamed by lack of historical knowledge to learn that Virginia, among others, did not participate in the 1868 elections. Clearly, these two elections were pivotal and have almost no historical consequence due to lack of participation.

And that is why pushing forward with an Iraqi election in six weeks is an imperative. If America can do it, and Afghanistan can do it, we have to send the message to the Iraqis that they can do it too.

Now, if only we could get the U.N. and Jimmy Carter to get onboard and, for lack of a better term, shut up.

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