The heroism of the Iraqi voter
: Dan Henninger in the Wall Street Journal nominates the Iraqi voter for the Nobel Peace Prize. I second that nomination:
They have already won the world’s peace prize by demonstrating in a single day a commitment not seen in our lifetime to peace, self-determination and human rights — the goals for which the Nobel Peace Prize began in 1901. Formal recognition by the Nobel Committee of what the Iraqi people did on Jan. 30 would do more to ensure the furtherance of these goals, in concrete ways, than any other imaginable recipient this year. Who did more?
The history of the Peace Prize shows as well that Iraq’s voters placed themselves squarely at the center of one of the Nobel Committee’s enduring, seemingly quixotic, goals — peace in the Middle East.
: And right next to that on the WSJ edit page, Bernard Lewis — a Middle East expert I’ll take over Juan P.S. Cole any day — says the are not only heroic but historic:
The Iraqi election is a momentous occasion even in the long history of that cradle of civilizations that we now call the Middle East. This election was an achievement first and foremost of the Iraqi people, who showed both wisdom and courage — wisdom in recognizing the meaning of freedom though it was unfamiliar, courage in operating it despite both danger and inexperience.
The critics have been proved wrong, both the so-called realists, more accurately denigrators, and some of the so-called friends and supporters, more precisely previous or expectant participants in the profits of tyranny….
The cause of freedom has won a major battle, but it has not yet won the war. Democracy in Iraq and elsewhere in the region faces a double threat, on the one hand from ruthless and resolute enemies, on the other from fickle and hesitant friends. We must stay with the Iraqi democrats, even if their choice of rulers is not what some of us would have preferred. It is their country, and freedom — a free election — means that the choice is theirs.
But our role has been, and will for a while remain, crucial. In successive phases, we enabled the peoples of Axis-ruled Europe and Asia to create or restore democracy. More recently, we helped give the peoples of the former Soviet bloc the opportunity to do the same, and some are well on the way. Now it is time for the countries of the Middle East to join the Free World, and recover their rightful place in the forefront of civilization.