This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
Veterans of Iraq – at Fort Lewis and elsewhere – can stand even taller after Sunday’s elections in that once-bloody country.
By any standard, the vote was a success. The turnout, 62 percent, far exceeded the turnout in U.S. congressional elections and equaled that of the 2008 presidential election. Iraqi candidates and political parties had campaigned fiercely – with rhetoric, not bullets and bombs. The voting by and large looked clean and honest.
Roughly 40 Iraqis were killed in election-related violence, as many as half the fatalities occurring in a single rocket attack that brought down an entire apartment building in Baghdad. But that’s a calm sunny day compared to the sectarian massacres Iraq was enduring several years ago.
The rocket attack and other explosions in Baghdad didn’t intimidate voters; they reportedly spurred more people to vote. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi security forces – not American troops – controlled the streets and appeared to thoroughly cow what remains of the once-powerful insurgent forces. Except for a few brief closures, polls remained open all day throughout the country.
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