Is the Iraq Election a success? The early reporting is that there is good turnout among the Shia and Kurds. Does this qualify as success?
Iraqis voted in their first democratic election in nearly half a century Sunday with many observers saying the day appeared to have yielded higher turnout than expected and less violence than feared. Insurgents killed about two dozen people, including a U.S. Marine. But the level of mayhem by forces striving to disrupt the process was less than predicted, especially in Baghdad where turnout surged during the day amid signs of enthusiasm for voting even in some Sunni areas.
As expected, turnout appeared to be very uneven around the country, with the majority Shiite community and Kurdish areas participating in the election to a much greater degree than the minority Sunnis. Voting continued in early evening in some places even after polls officially were to have closed. Carlos Valenzuela, the United Nations' chief election adviser in Iraq, told CNN that he believed that overall turnout was considerably "better than expected." That assessment was echoed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who said, "Every indication is that the election in Iraq is going better than expected." Rice conceded, however, speaking on ABC's "This Week, that "it's not a perfect election" and added, "there are going to be many, many difficult days ahead."
The days ahead. Precisely. This Election is simply, in my estimation, an exercise in pretty pictures. Why? Because Elections are to choose governments, not to celebrate the day. Are the people elected capable of governing Iraq at this time? Without 150,000 U.S. soldiers? Or even with them? I have been accused of gloating by people right HERE because of my focus on the continuing violence. But my focus has been on the realities of governing a land in chaos, in the midst of civil war, with 150,000 U.S. soldiers the only force with the ability to provide security. And this is 2 years after the invasion.
I hope I'm wrong on this. I think I am not.
Update [2005-1-30 12:18:49 by Armando]: Watching Rice on CNN makes me realize this Administration still has no clue. I don't think I'm wrong on this.