Election: success despite and thanks to America

That so many millions of Iraqis braved such difficult and dangerous conditions to vote on Sunday was inspiring. But the fact that they had to brave such conditions at all is a good deal less inspiring– and at least partly a result of Bush administration miscalculations and mismanagement for which no one is being held accountable.

As I’ve noted before– and as the election turnout seems to prove– the desire of Iraqis for democracy is so strong that perhaps even major American screwups can’t hold it back.

But while taking account of those mistakes and failures, let’s not forget that the elections were made possible by the decisions of US and UK leaders and, above all, by the sacrifices and bravery of US and UK soldiers.

David Ignatius writes in Wednesday’s Washington Post:

The Iraq story has had too many painful twists for anyone to offer rosy scenarios. Sunday’s vote wasn’t a culmination, but a beginning. The new Iraqi government may make as many mistakes as its American liberators have [let’s hope not], but at least they will be Iraqi mistakes.