Iraq the Vote

Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi (search) says the terrorists were defeated with Sunday's vote. Is he overstating the impact of Sunday's elections? No.

The insurgency certainly was defeated in the sense that it did not stop the vote, even though Iraqis were hesitant at first, in the morning, until they saw that American and Iraqi security measures looked like they were going to work. Then those hesitant Iraqis became bold and they went out to vote.

So by a margin much larger than George Bush's impressive victory here in the U.S. last November, the Iraqi people defeated Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (search) at the polls. He was running as the "Don't You Dare Vote" candidate and he got a good smacking, in electoral terms.

In terms of voting, al-Zarqawi lost and the Iraqis won. And we are no longer confused about what Iraqis want. They don't want Saddam, they don't want Islamist jihadis, they don't want war and —incidentally — they aren't all that thrilled about Americans staying there a moment longer than we have to.

In that Americans and Iraqis are united. I do hope they understand that none of our troops wants to be there a moment longer than necessary and neither do the rest of us back here on the home front.

There was great hope engendered by that election. Considering the oil wealth they are sitting on, Iraqis have the potential to be the richest people on earth. Good. I hope they are and I hope they enjoy their wealth. They deserve it.

Now, as for the insurgency, getting beat at the ballot box doesn't mean the end of bombings, unfortunately. They live by Chairman Mao's rule: Power comes from the barrel of a gun.

So there is a bit more cleaning up to do and I hope the Iraqi security forces, emboldened by their successes on Sunday, will go out and do what is required of them and bring Al-Zarqawi in for his spot next to Saddam on Iraq's death row.

It was a great day and I hope President Bush takes a bow for it Wednesday night in the State of the Union Address.

That's My Word.

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