Tuesday, June 01, 2004

In the end the Iraqis have to do it their way. Seems they've begun.

But the naysayers were astounded, along with the U.N.'s Lakhdar Brahimi and the White House's Robert Blackwill, when Iraqi leaders started acting last week like Iraqi leaders. No thanks, they said to the U.N.-U.S. notion of an interim government of toothless technocrats, and rejected Brahimi's choice for the top slot.

Like real politicians, they cut a few deals and chose one of their own — a secular Shiite, not an Islamist or a Sunni or a Kurd — to be prime minister...

The purpose of all this jockeying is to form an organization capable of holding an election in a country beset by Saddam loyalists and terrorists determined to block that election. This will take Iraqi politicians courageous enough to risk their lives, sensible enough to work closely with coalition generals to protect the voters from the killers, and persuasive enough to enlist many more Iraqis to join the fight for freedom.

Present Iraqi leaders like Alawi are clearly asserting themselves. We will not like all they insist upon. But they are lurching toward a democratic decision, and despite the hand-wringing of Gloomy Gus & Company, that's real progress.

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