As you might guess from the MSM’s silence, things are going well in Iraq. Iraqis are very optimistic and now have the first democratically elected President in the Arab world. He’s a Shiite, but he’s doing a better job bringing Sunnis into his cabinet than Blair has bringing English – as opposed to Scots – into his. Plus, the US Army is hosing out the last of the terrorists, to the delight of Iraqis.
Here’s what Iraqis think (poll was December 05):
Average household incomes have soared by 60 percent in the last 20 months (to $263 a month), 70 percent of Iraqis rate their own economic situation positively, and consumer goods are sweeping the country. In early 2004, 6 percent of Iraqi households had cell phones; now it’s 62 percent. Ownership of satellite dishes has nearly tripled, and many more families now own air conditioners (58 percent, up from 44 percent), cars, washing machines and kitchen appliances.
Interest in politics has soared.
Preference for a democratic political structure has advanced, to 57 percent of Iraqis, while support for an Islamic state has lost ground, to 14 percent (the rest, 26 percent, chiefly in Sunni Arab areas, favor a “single strong leader.”)
Whatever the current problems, 69 percent of Iraqis expect things for the country overall to improve in the next year — a remarkable level of optimism in light of the continuing violence there. However, in a sign of the many challenges ahead, this optimism is far lower in Sunni Arab-dominated provinces, where just 35 percent are optimistic about the country’s future.
Here’s Iraq’s new president (WSJ, subscription):
It’s become a cliche in some circles that Iraq won’t be ready for “Jeffersonian” democracy any time soon. And maybe not. But the more we watch the political developments that the U.S. is fostering in Iraq, the more we see the kind of compromise and debate that are crucial to democratic progress.
The latest news is the orderly election this weekend of Ibrahim al-Jaafari as the Shiite Alliance’s candidate to serve as Prime Minister for the next four years.
Though not the most inspiring of political personalities, Mr. Jaafari is well-liked by the Iraqi public and by his fellow political leaders. He delegates power and is willing to trust the skills of those around him. He has also never been associated with even a hint of corruption. And far from being a reformed Baathist, he has an untainted record of courageous opposition to Saddam Hussein’s regime.
Of all the Shiite Alliance’s conceivable choices for the post, Mr. Jaafari is also the least beholden to Iran. Mr. Jaafari can also call upon a strong team already in office. We’re particularly impressed with Defense Minister Saddoun Dulaimi, a Sunni brought in by the Shiite Alliance despite the Sunni boycott of the January 2005 vote.
You read it right – he’s appointed a Sunni as Defense Minister – seems pretty Jeffersonian to me.
Fighting continues, but here’s part of a letter from the mayor of a town in northern Iraq to the commander of the US troops that just cleaned it up, hat tip Power Line and Mudville Gazette:
In the Name of God the Compassionate and Merciful
To the Courageous Men and Women of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who have changed the city of Tall’ Afar from a ghost town, in which terrorists spread death and destruction, to a secure city flourishing with life.
To the lion-hearts who liberated our city from the grasp of terrorists who were beheading men, women and children in the streets for many months.
To those who spread smiles on the faces of our children, and gave us restored hope, through their personal sacrifice and brave fighting, and gave new life to the city after hopelessness darkened our days, and stole our confidence in our ability to reestablish our city.
The leaders of this Regiment; COL McMaster, COL Armstrong, LTC Hickey, LTC Gibson, and LTC Reilly embody courage, strength, vision and wisdom. Officers and soldiers alike bristle with the confidence and character of knights in a bygone era.
The mission they have accomplished, by means of a unique military operation, stands among the finest military feats to date in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and truly deserves to be studied in military science. This military operation was clean, with little collateral damage, despite the ferocity of the enemy. With the skill and precision of surgeons they dealt with the terrorist cancers in the city without causing unnecessary damage.
God bless this brave Regiment; God bless the families who dedicated these brave men and women. From the bottom of our hearts we thank the families. They have given us something we will never forget. To the families of those who have given their holy blood for our land, we all bow to you in reverence and to the souls of your loved ones. Their sacrifice was not in vain.
This looks like WW2 in March 1945 – some tough fighting left, but the enemy beaten. You’ll know when the war is finally won – Iraq will fall entirely of the MSM’s radar. It’s mostly done so – just one US newspaper ran the mayor’s letter.