The Iraqi Democratic Elections happened yesterday and I think I'll join the rest of the world in declaring them an unqualified success. The bad guys mission was to disrupt the election process and it was an utter and complete failure. Only 44 people were killed yesterday across the ENTIRE country of Iraq. That is so many less than anyone projected, it's amazing. It's hard to contain my optimism at this point for Iraq and its people.
We did have some missions to do yesterday and mine enabled me to drive around a little of Baghdad seeing for myself what was going on. Amazingly, even though the sounds of explosions echoed across the area, people were out voting. Voting in droves. Voting with wives, friends, strangers. But VOTING. What really made me happy was when I went out in the afternoon and saw kids in the street playing soccer. Couples walking down the street. Older Iraqis sitting on front porches (well, not porches, but sitting in front of their houses). There was no fear. No scared looks. To me, it was almost a glimpse into the future of Iraq, where that kind of thing is normal, commonplace, expected. I do not know if anyone on that street felt as I did, but I sure hope so. Throughout the day, multiple reports flooded in about IRAQI security forces stopping car bombs, walking suicide bombers, bad guys trying to mess the elections up. I know how I felt when my very first mission was a success and the confidence it gave me to do the harder things. I hope that the ISF feel the same way. I think they performed over everyone's expectations. And if they are able to follow this success with others, they'll be on their way to securing their own country without our help.
I just have a great and optimistic feeling about Iraq today with how well things went yesterday. I just do.