In a thousand days, Iraq has gone from a tyranny to electing its own parliament. As liberals, we would be hypocritical to have wished that the election (polls closed just a few hours ago) would have gone badly. Preliminary reports have polls staying open later to allow long lines of would-be voters to cast a ballot and observed a dramatic drop-off in the daily violence that has rocked the nation.
Bush lied to the American people about why we needed to go to war in Iraq. He had no plan for success once we did. And he has done everything politically, legally, and legislatively to deny his complicity and destroy his critics. Even democratic elections don't excuse his terrible leadership and his hypocrisy.
In criticizing Bush and his chicken hawks, however, progressives should be thrilled that millions of Iraqis now have a nascent democracy. Despite the accountability we demand from the White House, we should all be happy for the Iraqi people. And we should not allow conservatives to own the message that they have spread democracy and that Democrats would rather see Iraq's rebuilding process fail.
Perhaps, above all, America can find a way to help more nations to democracy through legitimate and peaceful means. How about it, conservatives?