Monday, September 19, 2005


Captain's Quarters has a great post and link to news on Afghanistan's recent elections. Who really believes our invasions into the Middle East were failed attempts to spur democracy? The seeds have been planted. Very cool.

Captain Ed's words are precise, insightful, and resounding at the end of his post.

The Afghanis have conducted yet another successful election, with millions of its citizens casting votes despite the threats of violence from former Taliban remnants. In fact, security held up well for the voting, with only a few isolated incidents of violence:

"Afghans embraced democracy by the millions yesterday, with voters undaunted by weeks of violence and threats of terrorist attacks to cast ballots for the first elected parliament in decades.

The vote went smoothly, with only a handful of incidents involving gunfire or militant attacks at the 6,200 polling stations. "We are going to vote for the people who will do something for the country, not just for us," said Yosof Khan, dressed in the traditional loose-fitting garb and turban donned by members of his nomadic Kuchi tribe for centuries. Mr. Khan gestured to a throng of bearded men who nodded in agreement outside tents pitched amid desolate mountain peaks east of Kabul.

With more than 12 million voters registered, election officials said 80 percent to 85 percent cast ballots -- an unheard-of turnout in Western democracies."
Can anyone doubt that democracy has taken root in Afghanistan, and that its appeal truly crosses all cultural and economic lines? People willingly face death for the right to control their own nation and the leaders who have power over them. Only hope accounts for the massive march to polling stations in the face of fear, and only an honest democracy brings that hope. Contrast this with the wan response to the rigged Egyptian election, which only attracted less than 20% of eligible voters despite a lack of any threats of violence. People know the difference.

Perhaps, as Vladimir Putin told Chris Wallace yesterday and a number of pundits have claimed since 9/11, democracy cannot be imposed at gunpoint. However, freedom can be established under force of arms, and tyrants toppled by determined armies of liberty. Democracy arises when the liberated hope for a better future and use that hope to jealously guard their right to self-determination. George Bush gave the Afghanis that opportunity, and they took it for themselves.
(full post)

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