In addition to this terrific article by David Brooks in the New York Times comparing the coming elections in Iraq to the elections in El Salvador in 1982, OxBlog takes things a bit further and really sums up how important these elections are, and how important it will be for the entire population of Iraq to accept the elected government as legitimate. OxBlog quote:
Yet because the United States was truly committed to a democratic outcome, it ultimately persuaded the Salvadoran electorate to side with its elected government. On a related note, another fact that Brooks might have pointed out if he had more space was that the democratization of El Salvador facilitated the end of its horrific civil war.
If this Shi'ite-Kurdish state demonstrates respect for its citizens' rights, both personal and political, the residents of Sunni Iraq will begin to ask themselves whether they truly prefer to be ruled by violent Islamic fundamentalists. For the moment, the alternative to fundamentalist dictatorship is American occupation. But if the alternative were an elected Iraqi government, the results might be very different.The elections must take place on schedule. Bush understands that. Kerry seems to also, indicated in recent speeches.