Iraqis Win Their Election


Even Juan Cole said last Friday that a turnout of Iraqi voters of "something like 40 percent or more would be a success," so a 60 percent turnout (assuming the figure holds up) speaks for itself. Even Dan Rather stood on a Baghdad street and said he found the Iraqi turnout "inspiring," thus glazing over the eyes of what's left of the CBS News audience. Even the French government called the vote "a "great success for the international community," while TV5's Le Journal, France's state TV news, described George W. Bush as "exulting" in the course of his Sunday remarks.

Want to understand Iraq as a spectacle? Here's a two-sentence primer offered last June 27 by Washington Post editorial-page editor Fred Hiatt. Washington, he wrote after returning from Iraq, "seems to dwell on measuring failure, apportioning blame, and calculating the effect on American politics and American power. In Iraq, the focus tends to be on what is at stake for Iraq and on how to achieve progress there."

The vast majority of Iraqis want to make their new country work, an essential fact that was lost in the coverage after the "insurgency" intensified. Can Iraqis get back into the Iraq story now?