More Good News...from Iraq

From The Week (link):

Since the liberal media long ago lost interest in Iraq, said Charles Krauthammer in The Washington Post, we didn’t hear much about the “near miracle” of the country’s provincial elections earlier this month. So allow me to recap: There was virtually no violence, and 14,400 candidates from 400 parties competed. Parties defined by religious sectarianism were the big losers, including a pro-Iranian party that was “devastated” at the polls by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s more secular State of Law Party. The big winners? Iraqis, who, despite the “condescension” of those who thought democracy a “fool’s errand” in the Middle East, proved they’re on the way to functioning, largely secular self-government. The other winner, of course, was the U.S., which now has a nascent democratic ally in the Arab world.

but Thomas Ricks is not as optimistic:

Having spent a lot of time in Iraq recently researching a book, it’s my sad duty to report that nearly every American military leader there is very pessimistic about the country’s future. Deep sectarian rifts remain in Iraqi society, they say, and only the presence of armed troops has prevented the eruption of violent conflict. Shiite radicals such as Muqtada al-Sadr and Sunni extremists haven’t given up; they’re just biding their time until the Americans leave. The Iraqi military, meanwhile, remains a “deeply flawed” institution, with no qualms about killing Iraqis, and U.S. officials privately are warning that power-hungry generals very well might mount a takeover attempt if the U.S. does, in fact, go home. So let’s not get overly excited about a round of regional elections. “I don’t think the Iraq war is over, and I worry that there is more to come than any of us suspect.”