A Washington Post columnist using Easter imagery (and using it without irony) to describe Iraq’s apparent emergence from that nation’s troubles is something to behold.

Columnist David Ignatius has spent a couple of Easter Sundays in Baghdad, and he has seen the anguish and violence of Iraq firsthand. This Easter Ignatius he saw the apparent resurrection of a nation that has suffered terribly under Saddam Hussein.

“This year Iraq began to look like an Easter story again. The January 30 elections were a kind of resurrection after several months of despair. The election’s success seems inevitable now, but it was an audacious experiment. The Bush administration believed that Iraqis would prize freedom and democracy, as Americans do, yet until that morning, nobody could be sure that this assumption was right….”

Ignatius is willing to give the Bush administration credit. But it’s amazing that for many commentators the sheer difficulty of the undertaking in Iraq meant that it was not worth it — until, of course, it began to succeed. Well, nothing succeeds like success. Ignatius does get in the necessary dig at the Bush administration — he wonders if some of the violence could have been avoided by “better planning” by the United States. It’s important to ask these questions, but it’s just as important to remember that war is always messy and violent.

But you can’t beat Ignatius’s assessment of the current state of Iraq:

“This uncertainty is what makes Iraq truly an Easter story this year. You can’t be sure with scientific certainty how the story will turn out. It’s a matter of hope, of prayer and of continuing bloody struggle. What you can plainly see is that the stone has been rolled away from the tomb of the old Iraq. Has the country been reborn? Is this a story of redemption and triumph? Nobody can tell you the answer yet. For now, it’s a question of keeping faith with the people who dreamed, two Easters ago, that they had gained a new life.”