December 23, 2004


A Historic Moment for All Iraqis: Ballots will prove to be more powerful than bullets. (AYAD ALLAWI, December 23, 2004, Wall Street Journal)

The elections next month will be transparent and competitive, supervised across the country by the thousands of brave workers of the Independent Electoral Commission for Iraq, and by international organizations including the U.N. Iraqis will have over 250 different parties and political entities from which to choose--a far cry from the farcical referendum with Saddam as the single candidate who received 100% of the vote. They will be conducted in the open and under public scrutiny, and though these elections and the ones the year after will not by themselves create a democracy, they will be a major landmark event of huge significance. The resulting National Assembly will be one of the most important in our history--responsible for drafting our permanent constitution which will then be put to referendum for approval by the people. In addition, there will be voting for the 18 provincial councils and for the Kurdish Assembly, reflecting the important role of local government in the new democratic Iraq.

For all these reasons, it is not surprising that there has been robust debate about the timing and modalities for these elections. The debate is a positive sign that Iraqis take these elections extremely seriously and understand their significance for the future of our country and indeed the wider region. Just as we and the vast majority of Iraqis are determined that the elections will go forward on time however, there are those--a combination of terrorists and loyalists of the former regime--who will attempt to derail the process with barbaric and cowardly acts of violence, such as the recent horrific bombings in Najaf and Karbala and the brutal murders of brave Iraqi election officials. Though such attacks may escalate in the coming weeks as we approach the elections, they cannot and will not be allowed to achieve their destructive aims. As Iraqis, we will refuse to be divided and cowed into fear by such criminals. We will stand firm.

Ballots will prove far more powerful than bullets in the end, and the will of the peaceful majority of Iraqis will triumph over the terror tactics of a hateful few. To this mission, I and my colleagues from the Interim Government pledge ourselves, and we call upon the governments and citizens of our allies in the international community and our neighbors in the region to do their utmost to support Iraq at this critical juncture. A free and secure Iraq will be a victory for all peace-loving people, and we Iraqis face a historic opportunity that we shall not squander.

The terrorists and loyalists certainly seem to grasp this, even if the Western Left does not.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 23, 2004 9:49 AM
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