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FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2005
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EDITORIAL

Iraqi elections more than ‘beating a dead horse’

"Sometimes it feels like we are beating a dead horse, but maybe this here today will be the culmination of it all," said Staff Sgt. Jason Scapanski, 33, of St. Cloud, Minn., as he assessed Thursday's voting in Iraq.

The successful balloting is a milestone in bringing stability to the war-torn country. But a more hopeful sign is that the minority Sunnis turned out in great numbers as an indication they realize they must participate in the new government or align themselves with the terrorists.

The votes won't be counted for days and there is sure to be controversy in counting the votes on the massive ballot. When it's over, a record number of voters will have gleaned 275 members of the first full-term parliament from some 7,655 candidates running on 996 tickets.

Sunni leaders realized they lost when they failed to vote for the interim government. The Sunni goal is to topple or moderate the Shiite clerical parties that took control.

After the new government takes office, its challenge will be to reconcile the views represented by the 996 lists of special interests. For some, it's simply a matter of security. Others want honest government. Some want the country in the hands of the religious leaders. And some simply want power.

However the elections turn out, having Sunnis align their fate with the outcome of democratic elections means progress, and could hasten the day when American troops will leave Iraq.

President Bush acknowledged this week that he went to war based on faulty intelligence. Let us hope that this week's elections and the new government successfully establish the beachhead of democracy the president seeks, and history says we did a good thing.

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