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Time to switch gears in Iraq

Dashing the hopes of 'the insurgents' and many in the mainstream media, the elections went well in Iraq today. There was violence, but it was nowhere near the levels threatened by the terrorists or predicted by many of the sour pundits. The turnout was high and there have been no major organizational problems. Hey, maybe this democracy thing could catch on in the Middle East!

But don't think that all this is any kind of victory for George Bush. The press has already worked out how to spin this considerable achievement into a another chapter of his legacy of failure. Just as they amplified the actions of the violent minority of Iraqis and ignored the peaceful majority in the run-up to the election, now they will focus on the anti-American politicians and pretty much ignore all the others. They will create heroes out of those pandering to xenophobic instincts and attribute to them the 'true' voice of Iraqis. The 'growing insurgency' will be replaced by the 'growing backlash' against the United States.

But the failure to acknowledge the victory doesn't change the fact that some real progress has been made. And the fact that 'the insurgents' will have no more legitimacy even to the most anti-American end of the media is the best demonstration of this fact.

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