Today, a significant leap towards democracy was taken in Iraq.
I won't re-hash the turnout numbers too much, except to say that the high turnout is a testament to the 'state of the war', that we are winning!! It says that people feel secure enough to go out and stand in line and not fear reprisals.
Sunni Arabs turned out en-masse, which is a considerable turnaround. Sunni's are seeing and understanding that they hold the key to their own freedoms in their hand, and, while sometimes fighting for it is the only option, voting for it and abiding by the decisions of the general populace is a pretty darned good way to go about deciding how your government should work, and who should be a part of your government.
Today is an especially good day for me, and should be for all the men and women who have served over in Iraq. Not just Americans, but everyone who is a part of the "Coalition of the Willing". Every person who has toiled, bled, sweated, and cried in the sands of Mesopotamia should rejoice today. Today is what we worked for. The groundwork laid by us has proven solid, and a democratic nation is being erected on that foundation. I spent a year of my life in Iraq, doing my part to secure the country, that democracy and free will might be given a chance to flourish in a part of the world where those things are rare, and to allow a formerly repressed people to live in peace. Every soldier wonders wether his contribution will be wasted, will the Iraqi people squander this opportunity we have given them?.
Today they raised their purple index fingers again and said "NO!!! We will not waste what you have given us!!!" A year of my life in that desert, and today I see that my sweat was not in vain. My fallen comrades blood was not spilt in vain.
A while back, on the first election day, in January, I wrote on my buddie's site, that the seed of democracy had been planted. A fitting analogy, as the fertile crescent is some of the most fertile ground in the world. In October, that seed of democracy pushed through the crust of the Earth and showed its green stems to the world, under sunny skies. Today, that young shoot has become a tree, and has begun to unfurl leaves, leaves that are red on top, black on bottom, and have green stars and arabic writing on a white center stripe. This tree will soon bear fruit, and that fruit will be sweet to the Iraqi people. Victory and Freedom.
I think back to the Iraqi guys who worked with us as interpreters. Doc, Jay, Bob, Omar, and Adam. I think about how they were on the last election day. I think about their purple fingers, and how Jay, in particular, made an effort to show his purple finger to every soldier in the platoon, and to shake their hand or hug them and show his appreciation that he was able to vote for his own life, to express his own free will.
Finally, I want to leave all you who oppose this war and our efforts in Iraq with this question:
How does unprecedented voter turnout and very sporadic attacks or violence look like we are losing??