Massachusetts Senator John Kerry (news - web sites), who lost the November presidential election against Republican President George W. Bush, described the Iraqi elections as "significant" and "important" but said they should not be "overhyped."
"It is significant that there is a vote in Iraq," Kerry said in an interview with NBC television's Meet the Press. "But ... no one in the United States should try to overhype this election.
"This election is a sort of demarcation point, and what really counts now is the effort to have a legitimate political reconciliation," Kerry said. "And it's going to take a massive diplomatic effort and a much more significant outreach to the international community than this administration has been willing to engage in.
"Absent that, we will not be successful in Iraq," he said.
Another influential Democrat, Delaware Senator Joseph Biden, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also rejected Kennedy's call for an immediate withdrawal of some American forces.
[Evan Bayh] he disagreed with Kennedy's call for the start of a US troop withdrawal from Iraq. "We've planted our flag," Bayh said. "I think that we need to be successful now, and unfortunately that's going to require our presence for some time.
"I think to cut and run at this juncture would be a terrible mistake."
Michigan Senator Carl Levin, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (news - web sites), said, challenges remain.
"I'm afraid there were some areas where the turnout is extremely low, and that's the Sunni Triangle areas or parts thereof," he said. "And that's the challenge that we now face.
"But Iraqis that did turn out in large numbers, at least in some areas and in some places, took their lives in their hands in doing so, and we're very delighted with that," he said.
For an excellent COUNTERPOINT to the above, might I suggest your persual of Jed Babbin's excellent column today.