War Critics Paris,
Berlin, Moscow Hail Iraq Vote
By Mark John, Brussels (Reuters)
Kerry's about to lose the wind in his sails... again. He's getting less and less to whine about, and the 2nd term of the Cowboy Prez is still in it's infancy.
For all his blustering about the absence of aid in Iraq from those he calls "the international community" - or more specifically, France, Germany and Russia - it appears that the success of the election itself was enough for them to pledge the heretofore non-existant support that Kerry has been demanding.
But it was done on the terms of Bush, the coalition and Iraqis, and not the acquiescence and cajoling as put forth by the Congressional loser.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Iraq war opponents France, Germany and Russia Monday hailed elections in the country as a success and, in a sign of warming transatlantic ties, pledged to back U.S. efforts to restore stability.
In a bigger than expected turnout, up to 8 million Iraqis cast ballots Sunday, braving suicide bombs and mortar attacks by insurgents that killed 35 people.
EU leaders, despite concern over the low turnout among minority Sunnis, joined Washington in declaring the poll a success, three weeks before a Feb. 22 summit with President Bush that is meant to relaunch Europe-U.S. ties.
President Jacques Chirac, who faced U.S. wrath for leading a diplomatic campaign against the war, told President Bush by telephone the vote was "an important step in the political reconstruction of Iraq" and declared the turnout and organization a success.
German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said Berlin still believed it was right to have opposed the war but wanted to look to the future and what it could do to help in Iraq.
"The challenge of putting Iraq on a stable democratic footing is one we must all take on together -- within the political limits we have set," he told reporters in Brussels, reaffirming Germany's refusal to send troops to Iraq.
In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin praised the election as "a step in the right direction" and told ministers at a government session to work for Iraq's future stability.
The Iraqis, and the US Coalition of countries did it... against all odds, without the help of the so-called "human rights minded" int'l community who chose to ignore Saddam's tyranny, and despite everyone's predictions of failure. The plans as laid out by Bush, the US military and Iraqis, despite flaws, has paved its way to a successful election, laying the groundwork for a free Iraq to emerge. And now the desires of a nation craving peace, economic and social reform are clear. The majority Shi'a intent to reach out to the minority Sunnis appears to be genuine.
And with the Iraqi success, everyone wants in on the action.
All I can say is "better late than never". Oh yes... perhaps a bit of a "naaa naaaa na naaaaaa naaaaaaaa!"