Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Election déjà vu

Molly Ivins
Creators Syndicate
Election déjà vu
Iraq election heartwarming, but haven't we been here before?
AUSTIN, Texas -- Here's hoping.
The trouble with being a congenital optimist is that gloom-mongering feels so uncomfortable. The election in Iraq Sunday, like the one in Afghanistan last year, was moving, inspiring and hopeful. When there's a ray of light breaking through in a dark sky, I'd much rather concentrate on the ray than the black clouds.
But mitigating my optimism is the fact that I've been around for a long time. Not that longevity is any guarantee of wisdom, but it does provide perspective. I can remember when they had elections in Vietnam that looked hopeful in 1967. I can remember the elections in El Salvador in 1984. And I remember last year's election in Afghanistan, with the almost unbearably moving sight of Afghani women coming out to vote. Still, it didn't kill off a single raping warlord, did it?
In Iraq alone, we've been through "mission accomplished," then the violence would end once we captured Saddam Hussein, then the all-important handover of sovereignty that would make all the difference and next the destruction of Fallujah that was going to break the insurgency. (Well, it did destroy Fallujah.) Someday, we will actually capture al-Zarqawi, and I bet we find that doesn't make much difference, either....