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THURSDAY, MARCH 9, 2006
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EDITORIAL

U.S. should support democracy despite result

Democracy is a complex business. If the United States wants to serve as a beacon of democratic freedom, it needs to deal honestly with democracy's consequences.

Democracy often hands out mind-boggling results. Those results may suggest that wisdom cannot always be found in the masses, but ours is not a nation that can responsibly claim that the masses are in error. If we are to glorify the benefits of democracy, we must at least acknowledge its results.

Acknowledgement is not easy after two recent elections. Iranians elected a president with remarkable anti-American zeal, and an expressed desire to wipe Israel off the map. Palestinians gave their approval to Hamas, a group that has long been on U.S. and Israeli lists of terrorist organizations.

We have good reason to worry about Iran and Palestine, but we need to stay attuned to the salient fact. Their leaders came to power through the workings of the democratic process we espouse. By rejecting the leaders, we reject the process.

No question, the United States needs to do all it can to prevent Palestine and Iran from becoming an increased threat to the United States and its allies. While doing so, however, we must reaffirm the process that elevated Palestinian and Iranian leaders. It would be wonderful if democracy was a short-term path to world peace. The reality, as we must now accept, is that its impact is in the long term.

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