Friday, December 16, 2005

Another Middle Eastern election

Hamas Wins Key Elections in West Bank:
The Islamic militant group Hamas won local elections in some of the West Bank's largest cities, according to early results.
Not so much crowing about democracy from the people who bitched about coverage of the Iraqi election.

I'm just saying.

Hamas is not good people, but it manages to encompass a few people who are good. There are the terrorists, who are bad people. There are also people who have been providing public services in Palestinian camps for years. They waged a battle for the hearts and minds of Palestinians, and won. That's roughly how George Washington became the first president of the US. And, for balance, how Jeff Davis became the first and last president of the Confederacy, so it doesn't always work out.

The danger in Iraq is that poor planning and inadequate personnel levels will give our enemies, whether the Iranian backed SCIRI or Zarqawi, or just former hit-men for Saddam like Allawi, or Iranian agents like Chalabi, an opportunity to win those hearts and minds, leaving us worse off than we were before.

Indeed, if Israel or the West had been working on Palestinian hearts and minds, perhaps groups like Hamas which want to drive Israel into the sea would be fringe groups, rather than ascendant political powers in the Territories, and the Iranian president couldn't score cheap domestic points by calling the Holocaust a Western plot (and if you don't think that's why he did it, you aren't paying attention to events on the ground in Iran).

When we cheat the U.N. out of money we promised it, people know. We're either on the side of angels or we aren't. If we don't care for the angels, someone else will step in, whether it's the Taliban, the Ayatollah, Hamas, or the dozens of other groups that want to score cheap points by showing up the superpower.

"War is a continuation of politics by other means." Good politics before a war can prevent it from ever happening.