Sunday, January 30, 2005

Iraqi Election Link Round-Up

Today is a great day not just for the Iraqi people, but for all of the United States and the coalition whom has sacrificed to bring this day to fruition. Before I get to the link round-up, I'd like to quote what a USAF surgeon, Major Chris in Balad, Iraq, spent his time doing on election day. From an e-mail:
Today are the Iraqi elections. We have been alternating time glued to the CNN broadcast and taking care of the casualties coming in. Last night a few American soldiers were admitted and will be quickly airlifted out to Germany. Polls opened at 0800 and since then we have seen a trickling of Iraqi civilian casualties from the many mortars, suicide bombings and improvised explosive devices (IED) directed at the polling stations.

We are about to operate on a 7 year old boy who accompanied his father to vote. They were 100 feet from the entrance when there was an explosion and a fragment hit the boy in the head, fracturing his skull. Luckily, his brain seems ok and hopefully he will recover with his faculties intact. We are also taking care of a 17 year old girl shot in the neck and an elderly woman with multiple fragment injuries to her legs. Certainly not anyone who deserves to be a victim of war. There is no justice in these events.

Without giving away anything specific, I want to tell you about some of the preparations we have made for the elections. We have minimized activities with mass gatherings and put a hold on recreational activities. Many of the creature comforts of the base are closed today. We are wearing armor at all times and traveling in pairs. Here are Brian and I in our “battle rattle” as we call the Kevlar helmet and the Kevlar vest with ceramic plates in front and back. Together, these items weigh 35 pounds.(/snip)

I know that I am witnessing history as I watch the bravery and spirit of the Iraqis coming out in droves to vote. Beyond the hollow threats of weapons of mass destruction and links to Al Quaeda, seeing this great thing happen makes even a cynical critic of the war like me hopeful. Even if this war was started for the wrong reasons and we have suffered for it, I will be the first to embrace a positive result. Even as I watch the reports of suicide bombers and attacks on voters in Bagdad and Mosul, I am praying and wishing for their safety. We stand ready to help anyone hurt in the process. The danger the Iraqis are facing as they exercise a right that we take for granted points out how blessed we are to live free. Our country may need to learn how to get along with international institutions better, but we sure do know how to live.

Well enough of my yakkin’ ! You all take care and have a great day wherever you are in the world. But first, pause and give propps to the brave Iraqi people as they step out and make a stand.

May all of our soldiers stay safe today and everyday. I am a proud American today and am very proud of the Iraqi people. It took a lot of bravery to go out and vote today. Something that we very much take for granted.

Instapundit has several great link round-ups here and
here. Powerline has been busy as well, click here for photos from the day, and here, scroll down and check out the little girl in the post.

INDC Journal has one of the best linkage/excerpt posts around. You definitely don't want to miss that one.