As I woke up yesterday morning and surveyed the landscape at my guard post, a most peaceful and optimistic feeling enveloped me. I had a feeling that December 15th would turn out to be a remarkable day. Immediately I knew that it was at least a great day for the Iraqis in my area of operations as it appeared that nearly every registered voter turned out early to cast his or her vote.
When I got back to our Foward Operating Base (FOB) yesterday afternoon, I couldn't wait to listen to and read about what had happened across the country while I had been at work. The first sign that the day had been a remarkable one for Iraqis was that National Public Radio (NPR) actually had quite a few positive things to say about it.
The stories agreed, from the impartial Fox News to the liberal leaning CNN, that it had been a marvelously wonderful day for Iraq. Much less violence than in the previous January elections. Much less tension among voters. Hundreds and hundreds of voters waiting much more patiently in long voting lines than Americans do. Sunni militias protecting, rather than attacking, polling places. Hordes of smiling people showing their purple fingers to the cameras. Sunni clerics encouraging everyone to vote, and huge Sunni turnout, including in the city of Ramadi and the provice of Al Anbar, which had seen only 2 per cent turnout for the October referendum.
There are still a lot of things to accomplish here, but anyone (that means you, too, Democrats in congress) who can't see the enormous progress that has happened in Iraq is willfully blind. It has been a privilege to be present at the making of the best of Iraqi history.