Buried in the CNN article Bush: Iraqi democracy making progress; estimates 30,000 Iraqis killed
U.S. officials are hoping for a high voter turnout in Iraq, especially among Sunni Arabs, a minority that enjoyed great power during Hussein's reign. Sunnis largely boycotted the January election for a transitional National Assembly.
U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad told CNN that "Sunnis seem to be developing confidence in the political process. They believe that their grievances can be dealt with politically."
Different people will concentrate on different aspects of this article and on Bush's speech today and the later Q&A session. However, of everything said in this article, the above quote is the most important part.
Dictatorships thrive--and push people down into poverty and take away their rights--when the people believe the only answer to addressing their political concerns is to throw in their lot with a strong-man who may then throw his base of support a bone once he ascends to power through overthrowing the previous government. But generally dictatorships have a very small base: a favored group of people whom supply his leutenants and generals. And dictatorships have no need for freedom; otherwise, the people may wander away and support someone else.
As soon as people realize that a democracy will also give them an avenue to address their grievances (just as the Sunnis are realizing that a democracy in Iraq is not another name for a Kurdish dictatorship), and as soon as people appreciate that democracies must have the support of the majority, and not just a select and elite minority, then they will support that democracy with all the furver they previously used to support their selected strongman.
That is the tipping point in Iraq. This is the point from where everything else flows: with a strong belief in Democracy, Iraqi citizens will support their military, rather than join the military because it's the only job in town--then cut and run when things get hot. People cut and run when they are fighting for something they are not invested in--but if people in Iraq are invested in Democracy, they will stand and fight.
Once people start believing their Democracy is worth supporting--no matter the flavor it assumes--they will find strong-arm men who wish to overthrow that Democracy in order to accumulate power distasteful. Accumulation of power in and of itself is not the problem--we look up to men like Bill Gates and Ted Turner all the time--it's that the accumulation of power often destroy the ability of the people to get their grievances dealt with, when that accumulation takes place outside of the political process.
Once people start believing in Democracy in Iraq, they will take nation building of their own country into their own hands.
We've now reached the end-game. It's just a matter of time, so long as we stay the course--though that course will probably take a few more years.