From Rosemary Righter at the Times in London:

Since the euphoria of their first chance at the vote last January, thousands of Iraqis have lost limbs and lives at the hands of terrorists and insurgents bent on inciting civil war. They have chafed under a weak, bickering Government that most Iraqis would say has done precious little to improve their lives. Yet even more people voted this time than in January.

The robustness of the Iraqi commitment to the political process is beyond remarkable. So listen, you defeatists and cynics who said that this couldn’t be done, shouldn’t even be attempted: however confused the outcome may be, the democracy that you patronisingly declared that Iraqis could never handle is taking shape. By all means sneer when Bush and Blair talk about progress, but lay off the Iraqi people. They are not the benighted fools you took them for; and their courage puts us all to shame.

God Bless them.