Sunday, September 26, 2004

Elections amid Violence

Conventional Wisdom seems to say that the thought of holding elections in Iraq in January is highly doubtful. The UN has expressed doubts about the upcoming elections.

Can elections be held in times of war?

It worked in 1864.

UPDATE: BeldarBlog makes a similar case with a quote from old honest Abe himself.

We can not have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forego, or postpone a national election it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us. The strife of the election is but human-nature practically applied to the facts of the case. What has occurred in this case, must ever recur in similar cases. Human-nature will not change. In any future great national trial, compared with the men of this, we shall have as weak, and as strong; as silly and as wise; as bad and good. Let us, therefore, study the incidents of this, as philosophy to learn wisdom from, and none of them as wrongs to be revenged.

But the election, along with its incidental, and undesirable strife, has done good too. It has demonstrated that a people's government can sustain a national election, in the midst of a great civil war. Until now it has not been known to the world that this was a possibility....


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