The elections in Iraq have left me flush with unwarranted optimism. I've been anti-this-war from the very start. I woulda voted for Howard Dean. If this is what it was all about, an election in which a moderate percentage of Kurds and Shia vote for candidates whose names were kept secret until last week - well, the price was terribly high, but it is what we have.
I got the impression that many Iraqis are ready for a democratic, pluralistic country, and mostly, a home where the unending violence stops. They were happy to wait in line to stain their finger for this. A hopeful act. Only the Sunnis, surly and fearful of a future in which they are not the ruling culture, stayed home.
Partly, Iraqis may imagine that this clears the way for the US to leave.
And that is certainly the final piece in the puzzle. If the US were this instant committed to withdrawal from all cities in six months, to coincide with a new constitution, this whole crazy democracy idea might gain some momentum. Withdrawal from the cities would be followed by two years of infrastructure and border security, followed by total withdrawal. In President Monkeygrinder's world.
The reality is likely to be more of the same from the US. Interference and permanent military bases. Dollar denominated oil, even as the value of the dollar plummets. We gotta have our puppets. We gotta feel like we are in control. Even as control is slipping away.
I don't know what I am going to do with today's optimism in a few years.
Maybe I should ask my parents...