January 26, 2005 -- IN just four days, Iraqis will go to the polls to vote in an election that could prove to be a hinge moment in history. All indications are that some 80 percent of Iraq's electorate will go to the polls, a level of turnout that would put most of the world's established democracies in the shade.
For the sake of contrast, consider that turnout in this year's presidential election was 60 percent of all those eligible to vote — and that was the most substantial rate of participation in 36 years.
Even in Israel, where everybody talks politics the way we talk about the weather and turnout is routinely the highest in the world, only 62 percent of the population voted in the last major election.
Yet a deep pessimism pervades the discussion of the coming election in the English-language press.
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Now, it will certainly be tragic if Sunnis who wish to vote are forcibly prevented from doing so by the terrorists in their midst. But those Sunnis' best chance to secure their freedom to vote at a later date will emerge from a viable result in Sunday's elections.
Why? Because once a legitimately elected Iraqi assembly is seated, the insurgents will have no argument left with which to advance their cause — except for the open hatred of liberty.
The latest tape from Iraq's terrorist master, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, made that point crystal clear.
"We have declared a fierce war on this evil principle of democracy and those whoZarkawi says.
follow this wrong ideology,"
"Anyone who tries to help set up this system is part of it."