Naysayers tight-lipped since success of Iraq vote - The Washington Times:
Skeptics of President Bush's attempt to bring democracy to Iraq have been largely silent since Iraqis enthusiastically turned out for Sunday's elections.
Billionaire Bush-basher George Soros and left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore were among critics of the administration's Iraq policy who had no comment after millions of Iraqis went to the polls in their nation's first free elections in decades.
The Carter Center determined that the security situation in Iraq was going to be too dangerous to send election monitors, so the Atlanta-based human rights organization founded by former President Jimmy Carter posted its personnel in neighboring Jordan.
Mr. Carter told NBC's "Today" show in September that he was confident the elections would not take place. "I personally do not believe they're going to be ready for the election in January ... because there's no security there," he said.
There has been no comment since the Iraq elections from Mr. Moore, the Academy Award-winning filmmaker who characterized the Iraqi insurgents as "Minutemen," and predicted "they will win."
The last posting from Mr. Moore on his Web site (www.michaelmoore.com) is dated Jan. 10 and concerns "Fahrenheit 9/11" being named best dramatic movie in the People's Choice Awards. An e-mail to Mr. Moore requesting comment was not returned.
On the day before the elections, Mr. Moore featured a link to a column in the New York Times with the headline, "A Sinking Sensation of Parallels between Iraq and Vietnam." On the day after the elections, Mr. Moore linked to a story in the left-wing Nation magazine titled "Occupation Thwarts Democracy."
Moorewatch.com, a site dedicated to countering the filmmaker's political statements, knocked Mr. Moore for "failing to acknowledge [the Iraqi people's] achievement."
"I find it telling that the man who has lamented such great concern for the kite-flying, tea-sipping Iraqi people featured in 'Fahrenheit 9/11' can't be bothered to string together a few words of admiration for those same people who braved the threat of death to cast their votes this past weekend," the anti-Moore Web site said. "It seems Moore only admires the Iraqi people when they validate his agenda of hating George Bush."
Some administration critics, however, saw the Iraqi elections as reason to revise their opinion of Mr. Bush.
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown, who has consistently opposed Mr. Bush and the war in Iraq, wrote for yesterday's edition that "it's hard to swallow," but "what if it turns out Bush was right, and we were wrong?"
The Chicago columnist wrote that he was struck by "television coverage from Iraq that showed long lines of people risking their lives by turning out to vote, honest looks of joy on so many of their faces."
"If it turns out Bush was right all along, this is going to require some serious penance," Mr. Brown wrote.