"To say that mere voting or an election or two makes Iraq a success story would obviously be mistaken. An election does not a democracy make — and Iraq’s politicians still have yet to prove that they are up to governing, nation-building and both establishing and abiding by the rule of law. But this election is a big deal because Iraqis — with the help of the U.N., the U.S. military and the Obama team, particularly Vice President Joe Biden — overcame two huge obstacles.
They overcame an array of sectarian disputes that repeatedly threatened to derail this election. And they came out to vote — Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds — despite the bombs set off by Al Qaeda and the dead-end Baathists who desperately want to keep the democracy project in Iraq from succeeding. This latter point is particularly crucial. The only way Al Qaeda, Baathism and violent Islamism will truly be defeated is when Arabs and Muslims themselves — not us — show they are willing to fight and die for a more democratic, tolerant and progressive future. Al Qaeda desperately wanted the U.S. project in Iraq to fail, but the Iraqi people just keep on keeping it alive." --Thomas Friedman