The people in Iraq held their first free elections in half a century, and there were celebrations throughout the country. Blue fingers could be seen throughout most of Iraq as people waved them in the air; freedom was theirs.
The insurgents did attempt to scare people into staying home but it did not work. A good estimate put the amount of votes cast at 8 million of 14 million people, and nearly 60 percent of people who could vote did. Some had speculated turnout would be poor, and that 15 percent would be the best they could hope for.
By reading a sample of Internet blogs, one can get a sense of the feeling in Iraq. As one blogger put it, “Everyone out on the streets is happy, even the Iraqi security forces who will laugh and joke with journalists – the first time they’ve done it in months” (http://www.back-to-iraq.com/). Another said, “Our thanks go to George W. Bush who will enter the history as the leader of the freedom and democracy in the recent history! He and his people are our friends for ever!” (http://hammorabi.blogspot.com/)
These people seem happy that they have been liberated from under the iron first of Saddam Hussein, but if you had read the newspapers over the last year, you would have gotten a completely different story.
The media has been reporting to everyone about the mess in Iraq. In fact, Sen. John Kerry made it a focal point of the election. News over the weekend painted a different picture. The people seemed to be thankful and jubilant. Where were the American-hating Iraqis we had grown to know?
Perhaps it was all politics, the liberation and those against it, but I like to think there was something being done there for a good reason. Freedom and liberty were central themes to the inaugural speech, and it looks like Iraq was a good place to start.
Steve Funaro is a senior history major and a member of the College Republicans at NKU. You can contact Steve at SFunaro@gmail.com.