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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.

Success?

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.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:23 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's a triumph (4.00)
    of the fine art of defining down success. But I'm glad that hundreds of Iraqis didn't get killed today, as I really thought they might.

    As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it? - William Marcy Tweed

    by sidnora on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:25:53 AM PST

    •  True (4.00)
      "But I'm glad that hundreds of Iraqis didn't get killed today...

      This is a good thing.  The problem is, the election doesn't do one iota to ensure that they are not killed tomorrow.  Or the day after.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that.  Or the day after that. etc. etc.

      "... the Republicans have fucked reality so hard they need a physics professor to straighten them out." -- hamletta

      by manyoso on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:29:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly (none)
        I feel for the Iraqis, but this is simply unfair to our soldiers.  If nothing else, we should just give the Iraqi's three seperate states.  It might not be pretty, but it lets the troops come home.

        To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

        by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:38:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Absolutely correct (4.00)
          I've been a proponent of a multi-state plan ever since the US began its occupation and pretense toward moving Iraq to "democracy."  It seems sheer lunacy not to give regional powers to each of the populations who are asking for them -- and fighting for them.

          "The insurgency" isn't one big coalition trying to get the US out of Iraq; it comprises myriad groups fighting for regional authority as well as some foreigners coming in to fight the Great Satan.  So much strife could have been avoided if the White House understood the sociopolitical dynamics in place in Iraq.

          But on the other hand, I think the US chose a "one Iraqi state" system deliberately to maintain a state of chaos in the country.  I know, it's cynical, but my cynicism has had a pretty good workout in the past four years.

          •  I agree (none)
            The multistate solution was definitely doable.  The only reason it didn't happan was because it didn't fit into the neoconservative grand strategy for transforming the Middle East.

            To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

            by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:58:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Uh (3.66)
              What about Turkey? They never seemed very comfortable with a new Kurdistan right next to the portion of Turkey with a large Kurdish population/problem. I am no fan of the Bushists, but to claim that the three state solution didn't fit into the Neo-con thought process as the ONLY reason for the lack of action is, in my opinion, not correct or fair.

              Don't blame me....I voted for Kodos! Neo-Cons don't die....they just go to the private sector to regroup

              by coheninjapan on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:16:24 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Disagree (none)
                The turkey thing has always been way overblown.  If they'd wanted to make it happen they could have.  I could think of plenty of scenarios where it could work.  In view of the current situation, do you really think it wouldn't be better.

                To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

                by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:19:46 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  In the first place (4.00)
                  Who are we to decide what the country should look like. In the second place Turkey will not allow an independent kurdistan because they fear an uprising among the Kurds in Turkey. In the third place the largest oil fields are in Kurdistan. Allowing Kurdistan to become an independent entity would deprive the rest of Iraq of a major source of income, which they desperately need at this time.    

                  You know you're in trouble, when you've got to ask Dick Cheney to "cheer up" the voters.

                  by amsterdam on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:26:09 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  We are going to decide the future of Iraq (none)
                    one way or another.  Period.  We could leave a small force in Kurdistan to guarantee the peace--"peacekeepers"?  Then, for the most part, everyone else goes home.  In a few years, after Turkey accepts how things are, we take them home too.  The multistate solution is doable with a little thought and definitely preferrable to the current situation.  Just have to think instead of swallowing everything you read in the IR columns.

                    To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

                    by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:30:17 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Turkey is a nato partner (none)
                      And I don't believe the current adminstration has the diplomatic skills to pull it off.

                      The Turks have been prety good at fighting of US bulying. This is a very sensitive isue with Turkey.      

                      And what will happen to shi's? they probably will realign themselves with Iran. I don't think that is the solution this adminstration is looking for.    

                      You know you're in trouble, when you've got to ask Dick Cheney to "cheer up" the voters.

                      by amsterdam on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:09:19 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                •  It (4.00)
                  is not overblown, and it is a HUGE issue in that region.

                  Turkey does not want a Kurdish state, and no, it wouldn't be better.

                  The Kurds are the largest minority in the world that does NOT have their own country, and they have populations in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and other neighboring areas.  

                  None of the existing countries in that area want to see a Kurdish state created, and creating one will cause futher political turmoil in what is increasingly becoming an unstable region.

                  Read up on the history of the Kurds and Turkey, this issue is not way overblown.

                  "September 11, 2001, already a day of immeasurable tragedy, cannot be the day liberty perished in this country." Judge Gerald Tjoflat

                  by SanJoseLady on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:57:23 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  We have to do something different (none)
                    This is the best choice available.  We could make it work.  If we established a relatively small US presence in Kurdistan and guaranteed the stability of the situation, we would still be involved, yes, but not to the extent we are now.  We could pull out most of our forces--which is the most important thing to me, personally.  I think it could be done--and it would be a lot better than the situation we're in now.

                    To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

                    by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:23:08 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  That (none)
                      is exactly how we got into this Iraq mess, determining that "we" know what is best for everyone involved.

                      Do I personally think the Kurds should have their own country? Yes.  Do I think it will ever happen?  No.

                      What would be "best" is for Iraq to become a nation that is truely ONE nation (though I don't see that happening either), instead of the three it really is right now.

                      We would end up being far more "involved" than you realize, as it is not just about the Kurds and Turkey, it would involve the whole region.  You think things are bad now?  Create an independent Kurdish nation and all hell breaks loose.  

                      It wouldn't be better than now, it would be worse.  As has been stated:  the northern part of Iraq has oil, as does the south and NOT the middle.  If the kurds are allowed to create their own nation, the shiites will want to do so as well, in the south, which leaves the Sunnis in the middle with no natural resources to speak of, as well as being squeezed from both sides.  

                      Please read the history of the region and you will see that your "solution" just isn't what it appears.

                      "September 11, 2001, already a day of immeasurable tragedy, cannot be the day liberty perished in this country." Judge Gerald Tjoflat

                      by SanJoseLady on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 01:44:36 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I'm well enough aware of the history of the region (none)
                        Are an expert on Turkish history?  Unless you have detailed knowledge of the situation, I just don't see your point unilateerally ruling out such an option.  From where I stand, it's common sense.  Either we act to get our boys out of there or we leave them there to die for the next 5-10 years.  Sorry, I'm not playing that game.  I was Marine squadleader. I know what these guys are feeling.  

                        To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

                        by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 04:03:18 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  No (none)
                          I am not an "expert" but have recently taken a class in Middle Eastern politics, as well as having read a number of books on the subject.

                          While your intent is to get our tropps out of the area, doing what you suggest would have the exact opposite effect.

                          Again, I ask you to read up on the area before you make assertions of "common sense."  

                          I may not have been a Marine sqaudleader, but I do know that doing what you propose is sure to leave our guys there to die for eternity.

                          Just, please, use some "common sense" and read about the history and current political situation of the Kurds.

                          No one is unilaterally ruling out the Kurds oneday having their own state, what is being ruled out is the United States creating that nation (Iraq was created by the British, and look what a great job they did.)

                          "September 11, 2001, already a day of immeasurable tragedy, cannot be the day liberty perished in this country." Judge Gerald Tjoflat

                          by SanJoseLady on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 04:38:20 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  If no civil war leading to (none)
                    separate states, then you have the option/likely realy of bringing a Saddam style strongman back to power.  Maybe that is why the more knowledgable Bush I stayed away from toppling Saddam.

                    Hey, it is one or the other unless true divine intervention comes about, IMO

                    Political censorship is the root of all evil! It is the antithesis to a functional democracy!!

                    by truthbetold on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:27:14 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Not that simple... (none)
              The "multistate solution" was just as bad as a unified Iraq. The Sunni part of Iraq happens to be the one without oil, for instance, and Turkey is HUGELY against an independent Kurdish state.

              Splitting Iraq would have required forcing the Shia and Kurdish states to give money to the Sunnis in return for their lack of oil, and some method of appeasing Turkey.

              The first might have been doable, but Turkey would have invaded the moment we left.

            •  So this situatin is better? (none)
              Are you kidding?  We could easily guarantee the Kurds safety by leaving a small force in Kurdistan.  Everyone else gets to come home.  As I've said above--its definitely doable and far preferrable to the current situation.  It just requires a little thought--something too many people don't do in international relations--especially the Bush adminstration.

              To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

              by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:26:37 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  No. (none)
                  We could. But what would Turkey do? They wouldn't let us resupply our troops through Turkey, so are you up for constantly driving convoys through Shia and Sunni Iraq? Because I doubt they'd love us enough to secure the routes.

                  So that solution involves isolating American troops with no way to easily supply or extricate them. Lovely.

                •  I'm sure we could find a way to resupply the troop (none)
                  The point is which way is better.  IMHO, this is a better option.  Turkey will go along with it if we underwrite the security of the situation.  Something like--oh I don't know--Germany after World War II.  ITs better than having our troops in a war zone for the next 8 years, don't you think?

                  To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

                  by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:40:06 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No.. (none)
                      No they won't. They're not worried about invasion from a Kurdish state. They're worried about their own Kurds revolting and joining with the new Kurdish state, effectively removing a big chunk of Turkey.

                      Turkey views a Kurdish state as -- in effect -- taking a significant chunk of Turkey with it.

                      And underwrite their security? How? Send our troops into the nastiness of a Turkey/Kurdish war? Fight Kurdish insurgents?

                      It's the same damn thing as staying.

                  •  Yuo dont understand the situation (none)
                    AT ALL.

                    A kurdish state would be THE most destabilizing thing in the region. WORSE than Israel.

                    Be CLEAR, turkey has a HUGE Kurd population, which would seek to immediately annex a huge part of turkey to join to become part of a new Kurdistan.

                    Since Turkey is close to being allowed into the EU, this kind of destabilizing event would prevent that, ensuring that Turkey would move mountains to prevent it.

                    furthermore, Iraq doesnt divide nicely into 3 seperate geographic areas AT ALL.

                    Kirkut, would he HIGHLY constests for its oils fields (and is going ot be) The baghdad area is a absolute mix of all three groups, and could not be divided.

                    A Sunni region would be left with no access to oil, little access to the coast, next to Iran (who are Shiite).

                    Even Liberal experts on the region, such as Jaun Cole thing the whole idea of annexation would be a disaster.

                    Anyone who suggests such an idea is either playing down the complexity and problems with it significantly, or is ignorant of the geopolitical situation.

                    I suggest before getting into a back and forth here, those who propose such a plan should go do some greater in depth reading.

                    I am a Reform Democrat

                    by Pounder on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:10:11 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  This is assuming a lot of naunce on the part of (none)
                      the Bush administration, but here's the solution.  Work in concert with NATO and the EU and leave a force in Kurdistan to guarantee Turkey doesn't do that.  I have a very hard time imagining Turky attacking US forces.  

                      To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

                      by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:28:36 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Turkey (none)
                        Turkey can stop it, because over a 1/3 of Turkey is Kurdish. That's the problem.

                        Its the annexation of TURKEY that's the problem, not Kurdistan. The US wouldnt be IN turkey, it would be civil war, potentially, political insecurity for sure, and terrorism ala basque sepratists.

                        It isnt Kurdistan that needs protecting, its turkey from itself.

                        Kurdistan would surely (i think) support the annexation (unless they could be persuaded not to somehow) that is how war between Turkey and the Kurds in Kurdistan would come about. Thats only the secondary consideration.

                        The US would then be right between 2 allies. Pick a side or leave em go at it ?

                        I am a Reform Democrat

                        by Pounder on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:37:52 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  We have to make a choice here (none)
                          We can do what we can--and there are a few things we can do--maintain as much stability as possible in the region.  But I don't think we should continue in the situation we're in.  I think we should take most of our troops home as soon as possible.  This is the best way to do it.  Iraq is virtually governmentless.  Turkey has a long established government and is far likelier to survive any any instability that should occur.  At a certain point we have to take care of our people.   I understand that point of cleaning up the mess we made, but these soldiers didn't make this choice.  They've been screwed and deserve to be sent home.  If we work with our allies and Turkey and the Kurd, I can imagine some solutions to the problems your talking about.  But this isn't working.  We need to do something new.  Its not a perfect option, but if we work hard enough, I think it can work.  It won't be perfect, but what is?

                          To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

                          by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:46:50 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  what allies? (none)
                            You are talking about Europes back yard. At this point Europeans aren't realy that concernd about the safety of US soldiers. You chose to get into this mess. I doubt the european union will be
                            willing to help the US instead of supporting Turkey.    

                            You know you're in trouble, when you've got to ask Dick Cheney to "cheer up" the voters.

                            by amsterdam on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:58:06 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm not denying it would be tough with these (none)
                            guys in office.  A lot of this is wishful thinking of course, virually requiring a change of leadership.  But if it comes down leaving our guys in Iraq for another 4 years to die, I'd have to say let's try it for their sake.  If the Kurds pull out as the shia'hs and sunnis descend into choas, we'll be in the same boat anyway--only worse.

                            To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

                            by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:33:00 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I understand that you want these soldiers out (none)
                            I just believe that any solution which can be interpreted by the Bush adminstration as a succes will only lead to more agression, and in the long run cause more deaths, including US military. I think Europe should start showing some backbone and stop assisting this administration in what it is doing to the Iraq's, Americans and the rest of the world.      

                            You know you're in trouble, when you've got to ask Dick Cheney to "cheer up" the voters.

                            by amsterdam on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:54:16 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  My solution (none)
                            Have the newly elected Iraqi government negotiate wit hthe insurgent political leadership, to descale the violence in exchange ofr a greater seat at the national political table.

                            ie have the shiites give up some of that 60% majority to the sunnis, and also cede more autonomy to the Kurds.

                            that's the play I expect to be called in the coming weeks and months. it MIGHT work.

                            I am a Reform Democrat

                            by Pounder on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:03:43 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yeah, and while your at it (none)
                            how about talking Israel into negotiating with the Palestinians to descale the violence in exchange for a greater seat at the national political table? It is a lot easier for us to say such things here when we aren't involved in the situation.
                    •  Kurdistan (none)
                      There are other reasons why an independent Kurdish state would be problematic, namely Iran and Syria.  Bashir al-Asad has been busy repressing his own Kurds since the US invasion.  He has killed over 600 and imprisoned many hundreds more in the last two years. The Syrian Kurds would get help from an independent Kurdistan.  The situation is very similar in Iran but on a smaller scale.  We must also remember that Turkey and its Kurds have had a very fragile ceasefire since the mid ninties.  Before this the Kurdish language was completely banned in Turkey. Many young Kurds can't even speak it.  The very word "Kurd" was also banned.  The Kurds were officially referred to as people of the mountains. Most of their political leaders were imprisoned or killed by the state.(And remember the Turkish Army still has enormous influence and can threaten any turkish government.  These countries also fear the influence that Israel would have in Kurdistan  There are already  significant numbers of Israeli clandestine forces there.  They helped train the peshmerga and the security services. Syria and Iran would not tolerate a "fifth column" in their backyard. Meanwhile we must remember that the Kurds are no saints.  The two main political groups are similar to the corrupt warlords of Afghanistan.  Also it was the Kurdish troops of the Ottoman Empire (on orders from the Sultan and later the Young Turks) that carried out the two Armenian Genocides of the 1890s and 1915-17. Kurda were some of the most effective and ruthless troops during the Ottoman era. Many Arabs have good reason to fear the Kurdish fighters.
                •  That's why Syria is next... (none)
                  then we can drive our convots across it from the Mediterranean!  Or even Israel!

                  ...Ash nazg thrakatulûk, agh burzum-ishi krimpatul

                  by las casas on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 12:14:57 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  One Qualification (none)
              The traditionally Sunni portion doesn't have oil.  But with Saddam's forced relocation of peoples, Mosul--right on the dividing line of the traditional Sunni areas, and quite rich in oil--is now full of Sunni, Kurds and Turkomen.  That's a volitile stew for major violence should there be a forced or hasty attempt to split Iraq into three.  

              Mosul will be the Srebrinica or Vukovar or Mostar of civil war Iraq, but unlike those areas, it sits atop massive amounts of oil.  

              •  *snort* (none)
                   Mosul? Where the Iraqi civil war is in full swing? Where the Kurds are busy kicking the Shia and the Sunni out?

                  I suppose we could give them to the Sunni, but that'd just start the Civil War a bit quicker.

                  Easy solutions generally aren't easy or solutions.

                  And Iraq seems to be a place with no solutions.

                •  Huh? (none)
                  What's the snort for?  What in my comment did you disagree with?  And where did I profer any solution, much less an easy one?

                  Was that intended as a response to somebody else?

                  •  No.. (none)
                      Not aimed at you. Just at the situation. Giving Mosul to the Sunnis wouldn't work, because the Kurds are busy -- as the only ethnic group in Iraq we trust enough not to shoot if they're armed -- kicking the Sunni and the Shia out.

                      Fact of the matter is, our incompetence has pretty much precluded any options whatsover.

                      The Kurds won't allow -- and we can't force them, unless we want to face a Kurdish insurgency -- us to give the Sunni parts of their traditional territory. They fought Saddam tooth and nail over it, and he had a MUCH bigger army than we do.

                      The Sunni won't accept being turned into virtual beggars, and it's obvious we don't have the forces to deal with them either.

                      Turkey, of course, will not support ANY solution that results in an independent -- or even pseudo-independent -- Kurdish state, and we'd need them to supply any troops in that area of Iraq anyways.

                •  No one's saying its an easy solution (none)
                  just a better one. You prefer having 150,000 of our soldiers tied down in the middle of a mounting civil war.  Think outside the box.

                  To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

                  by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:42:14 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yeah (none)
                      It's not a better one. It's just as bad, except for different reasons.

                      It'll just start the Civil War quicker, and ensure Turkey is involved too.

                      Thinking outside the box is all well and good, but you seem to think a "different solution" is obviously going to be "better".

                      This one won't be. It'd be worse, I think, because in addition to an unstable and violent Iraq, we'd drag Turkey into it as well. Better to withdraw entirely and let the Iraqis fight it out then force Turkey into civil war as well.

            •  The oil fields of Iraq (4.00)

              Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

              by Barbara Morrill on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:31:34 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  I think that there is ONE problem... (none)
            ...with the multi state soulution.  How do you divide up the oil fields? Aren't they in the extreme North and South?  What happens to the Sunnis in the middle of Iraq?  That issue is enough to start civil war!

            Don't get me wrong.  I think Iraq is most naturally three nations, but one should be aware of the real cluster ---- fixing this mess will be.

        •  Except for one thing (4.00)
          No oil in the center of the country.  Would the Sunnis/Baathists, who've held sway for so long, who after all are the population opposing a peaceful state, accept that much smaller pie?

          That was the one huge, gaping hole in the calculations all along:  It was not just bad person Saddam and couple henchmen against the good people of Iraq.  That's a pretty large clique of people who fed at the trough, and used to resorting to violence to hold power.  That's why, two years later, it still ain't no cakewalk.

        •  Two words...Refugee Crisis... (4.00)
          There are Shia Arabs in predominantly Sunni Arab areas, many Sunni Arabs in predominantly Kurdish areas, and many other minorities in Kurdish areas.  Divide up the country, and you will have the worst refugee crisis since the India-Pakistan divide (Hindus in Muslim areas and vice versa).  Imagine you live in a Sunni village south of the border.  You and your family, no, your clan, your entire village, are going to have to pack up and move unless you want to be in a state dominated by those who do not have your best interests at heart.

          Two more words: economic resources.  There is little oil in the Sunni Arab-dominated Central Iraq.  We would be creating a new Syria, except weaker, smaller, and with even less purpose.  

          Although I must say I feel the Turkey-Kurd thing is overblown in this case.  Even the independent-minded Kurds are making it a point to say that they don't want any of Turkey's land or population.  And the Turks are trying to be on their best behavior until 2009 (when they start being "considered" for EU Membership, a process that will take even more time), and unless the Kurds start encouraging sepratist behavior, the Turks will probably leave an independent Kurdish state alone.

          (Insert Democrat Here) for President in 2008!

          by teenagedallasdeaniac on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:40:14 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  But what if the only alternative... (none)
            is giving the state to one party that doesn't have the interests of the minority at heart?  Then, the minority doesn't have the option of moving to a more sympathetic region - they simply have to cope as best they can with the situation.  And given the political ideologies of many arabs, there is always a possibility of ethnic cleansing.  If the state were broken down along historic lines, there would be some disruption, but then the countries could settle down to hating each other without wiping out any ethnic groups.  
        •  Would never work (none)
          Under international law the US has no legal right to unilaterally divide Iraq into three states. The rest of the world would simply not accept it. It would not work. This idea is so DOA that it's astonishing that it has gotten as much ink as it has in the US.
        •  Very bad idea indeed (none)
          Juan Cole wrote a very convincing yet short piece on why partitioning Iraq is an extremely bad idea. I can't think of it going well at all.

          Downsides of Partitioning Iraq

          Some readers asked me why I was so against partitioning Iraq.

          It is because it would cause a great deal of trouble to us all, not least Iraqis. Iraq is not divided neatly into three ethnic enclaves. It is all mixed up. There are a million Kurds in Baghdad, a million Sunnis in the Shiite deep south, and lots of mixed provinces (Ta'mim, Ninevah, Diyalah, Babil, Baghdad, etc.). There is a lot of intermarriage among various Iraqi groups. Look at President Ghazi Yawir. He is from the Sunni Arab branch of the Shamar tribe. But some Shamar are Shiites. One of his wives is Nasrin Barwari, a Kurdish cabinet minister. What would partition do to the Yawirs?

          Then, how do you split up the resources? If the Sunni Arabs don't get Kirkuk, then they will be poorer than Jordan. Don't you think they will fight for it? The Kurds would fight to the last man for the oil-rich city of Kirkuk if it was a matter of determining in which country it ended up.

          If the Kurds got Kirkuk and the Sunni Arabs became a poor cousin to Jordan, the Sunni Arabs would almost certainly turn to al-Qaeda in large numbers. Some Iraqi guerrillas are already talking about hitting back at the US mainland. And, Fallujah is not that far from Saudi Arabia, which Bin Laden wants to hit, as well, especially at the oil. Fallujah Salafis would hook up with those in Jordan and Gaza to establish a radical Sunni arc that would destabilize the entire region.

          Divorced from the Sunnis, the Shiites of the south would no longer have any counterweight to religious currents like al-Dawa, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, and the Sadrists. The rump Shiite state would be rich, with the Rumayla and other fields, and might well declare a Shiite Islamic republic. It is being coupled with the Sunnis that mainly keeps them from going down that road. A Shiite South Iraq might make a claim on Shiite Eastern Arabia in Saudi Arabia, or stir up trouble there. The Eastern Province can pump as much as 11% of the world's petroleum.

          So Americans would like this scenario why?

        •  First question (none)
          Where do you draw the borders ?

          Look at these two maps :

          First Iraq is not divided in three neatly delimited areas:

          http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/iraq_ethnoreligious_1992.jpg

          And the Kurdish issue does not involve only Turkey:

          http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/iraq_dissident_areas_1992.jpg

          Second question: Who decides ?

      •  I couldn't be more aware of that. <n/t> (none)

        As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it? - William Marcy Tweed

        by sidnora on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:51:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  EXCEED EXPECTATION!!! (none)
      WOW,

      Condi Rice does NOT dissappoint. SHe does her cheerleading supremo and lying to public on first week of her job!

      CONGRATULATION OBAMA and everybody who is voting for Condi. Here is your first LIE!!!

      and ..She is going to keep lying and misleading the public with more and more brazen made up facts...

      ---------------
      Rice Says Iraq Elections Exceeds Expectation

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A48759-2005Jan30.html

      •  Right (none)
        The only way this would have exceed expectations is if the Sunnis turned out.  The fact that they didn't is a very bad sign.  Its a virtual guarantee that the insurgency is that future of Sunni participation.   Once again, I really think its time to start planning a multi-state solution.

        To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

        by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:17:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Almost nobody in Iraq wants a multistate solution (none)

          The Kurds don't want to be cut off from the customers of their oil, most of which is pumped through Shi'a or Sunni areas.  The Sunnis don't want to be isolated in a desert.  The Shi'a aren't that keen to expel the Sunnis, who dominate the professions.  
      •  Condi Ought To Read This (4.00)
        Condi ought to read this OpEd from the Int'l Herald Tribune to find out what a successful election requires, by a person who might know a thing or two about it:

        Iraq: This election is a sham
        by Salim Lone - an adviser to Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN envoy to post-invasion Iraq who was killed in 2003 in a bomb attack on the UN compound in Baghdad.

        GENEVA--Very early in the occupation of Iraq, the Bush administration recognized that a democratic Iraq, even a stridently anti-Saddam one, would not countenance the strategic U.S. goals the war was fought for: controlling the second-largest oil reserves in an energy-thirsty world, and establishing military bases required for undertaking the political transformation of the Middle East to serve American interests. A long-term occupation to secure these ambitious goals was no less tenable.

        So even as the Americans proclaimed their mission as one designed to introduce democracy and human rights in Iraq, they fought against demands for early elections even from putative allies like the Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. They also maneuvered to put into place a self-governance and electoral plan that, through carefully circumscribed United Nations involvement, they thought would ensure that the hand-picked Iraqi leadership would enjoy some legitimacy, with the elections scheduled for Sunday providing an added boost of Shiite support.

        But as this blood-stained election shows, the complete breakdown of this plan has been one of the most colossal U.S. policy failures of the last half-century. Indeed, this is not an election that any democratic nation, or indeed any independent international electoral organization, would recognize as legitimate. Continue

        Know all your enemies. We know who are enemies are. Stop Eminent Domain Abuse. End Corporate Welfare

        by BrooklynBoy on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:19:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Credit, where due (4.00)
      UN Election Expert Avoids Limelight of Iraq Poll
      Fri Jan 28, 7:13 AM ET

      http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=worldNews&storyID=urn:newsml:reuters.com:200 50128:MTFH51929_2005-01-28_12-13-27_BAK440706:1

      BAGHDAD (Reuters) - If Iraq's election comes off on Sunday -- a big if -- it will be thanks in no small part to a savvy, softly spoken Colombian from Bogota.  Carlos Valenzuela, 47, has spent 13 years organizing elections in hotspots around the world for the United Nations ( news -web sites ). He has been helping to plan an election in a divided country, where up to 14 million people could vote in a day -- one of the biggest logistical challenges for Iraqi authorities since Saddam Hussein was overthrown in April 2003.

      And doing so before, during, and after many of his UN colleagues, including the beloved Secretary-General's Special Representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mellom were killed in the Baghdad bombing, in August, 2003. He is a hero.

  •  On Balance (3.80)
    Of course this a success.  Even if it were merely pretty pictures, this would be a success.  Yes there is a long road ahead.  But you can't take away from the Iraqis what they've done today.  In fact I think, instead of nitpicking on this, we should be applauding, loudly.  The more of this we do, the more likely it is our soldiers will return home sooner, and safer.  They outperformed in Iraq, so why shouldn't they outperform on security?  The better they do, the harder it is for the neocon crowd to justify why they are still sounding our sons and daughters to their graves over there.  So yes, it was a success... no can we start withdrawing?
    •  Sorry I don't agree (4.00)
      I think this is the thinking that's killing our soldiers.  This has been an exercise in insanity from the very beginning.  This election is just the latest hail mary pass.  Any rand corperation analyst will tell you that insurgencies usually take as much as 10 years to clear up.  We need to get our soldiers out of there.  They shouldn't have been responsible for this situation from the beginning , and I'm just not willing to leave them there to die in perpetuity.

      To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

      by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:35:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Timetable for Leaving (4.00)
        Resolution 1546, Section 12:

        "12. Decides further that the mandate for the multinational force shall be reviewed at the request of the Government of Iraq or twelve months from the date of this resolution, and that this mandate shall expire upon the completion of the political process set out in paragraph four above, and declares that it will terminate this mandate earlier if requested by the Government of Iraq;

        Paragraph 4 is the election.  Twelve months is Jun '05.  I will be sending this to my elected representatives often in the next few months.  Fish or cut bait.

      •  Not sure (none)
        How this is an argument against what I'm saying.  I'm saying that the election is a great thing, and should be used as an argument FOR withdrawing troops ASAP.
    •  Nitpicking? (3.83)
      You think this is nitpicking?

      Hardly.  It's looking past the platutudes being tossed around this morning on the cable news shows and asking what it means for the future.  Armando is correct that the real issue is what kind of job the new government does.  But let's step back a bit from even that statement?  

      What's the new government going to look like?  Will anyone even be able to form a coherent government, or will it make Italy in the 1970's look like Japanese parliamentary inertia?  And even more important, and quite separate from the fact that a new parliament will have been elected and a government will possibly have been formed, the most important question is this: Will the goverment have any legitimacy with enough sectors of the Iraqi people for it to keep the country from further chaos and possibly civil war?

      Elections are only one step, especially in a national parliamentary system with little federalism.  And if turnout was very low in Sunni areas, or significant portions of the population who may have wanted to were unable to vote, how much legitimacy will the government have?  If they don't have sufficient legitimacy, all our troop training will be for naught, becuase the civil authorities will not be able to exercise any control over the military and police.

      The election is a step, and its nature will give indications as to the likely successes or failure that lie ahead.  High turnout in Shia and Kurd areas tell us little.  Low turnout and violence associated with the elections in Sunni areas, if that proves to have been the case, will tell us lots.  And what it will indicate will not be good.  

      •  the question is (none)
        could this election, as it has played out, lead to a stable secure country? I agree with your doubts, but I don't think we can say one way or the other with certainty. In my humble predictive powers, I'd say that this election is a possible step for improvements to take place. In other words, this election as it happened could be one of the milestones of success. Given that the alternative was a final nail in the coffin, this election is a lot more successful than it might have been.

        Of course the questions you ask are paramount. Who exactly is winning, will they govern, will they be respected. But the elections weren't going to sort those questions out anyway.

        All extremists are irrational and should be exposed

        by SeanF on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:52:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed That We Can't Say With Certainty (4.00)
          In the first couple hours after the 2000 election, it would have been difficult to know what a flawed election we had just had (and would continue to have for about another fifty days).  The polls have been closed for only a couple hours, so yes, it's tough to say.  I agree with that, but then you went on to say something about a nail in a coffin and that in fact the election was a success.  I think you should have stuck with your first point, especially for today.  If there was very low turnout in the Sunni areas and lots of folks couldn't even vote, I don't think the election itself was a success, even if everything else turns out OK.  

          As to whether the elections were going to sort out the issue of legitimacy, you're correct.  But legitimacy will be harder to secure if the elections themselves aren't seen as legitimate by the Sunni.  I'm afraid they won't see the elections as legitimate, and they're probably correct in that view.  So, while it won't sort out the other problems, it could exacerbate already existant tensions, and impede efforts at solutions.

          •  the nail in the coffin line (none)
            meant only: if the election had gone so badly that we knew already, hours after it was over, that it was a disastor, that would be the definition of failure. THe fact that we don't know means it could have been much worse.

            ...talk about dumbing down success! And yes, the credibility issue is the big one, although I feel this issue is also not yet resolved.

            All extremists are irrational and should be exposed

            by SeanF on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:20:40 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Legitimacy (none)

            I wonder how legitimate an election would be here in the United States if McCain won the Republican primary and our Religious Right decided that no Christian could vote for him, much less anybody else on the ballot.  

            (Also note that the Iraqi election took place on paper ballots...)  

      •  Yes this is a step. (none)
        And yes it is a success for Bush's propaganda war.

        To thine own self be true - W.S.

        by Agathena on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:08:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Also important to remember (4.00)
        that the main task of the new government that is to be "elected" will be to draft a constitution.  For that task it is imperative that minority representation exist.  

        Minority representation, minority representation, minority representation.

         

        In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

        by a gilas girl on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:40:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I am bewildered (none)
        Is this a reply to my comment?  Not sure... if so, of course there are practical concerns at play.  But rather than the US figuring all those out, why don't we let the people who live there figure it all out?  And why don't we also leave so there are no more excuses for the insurgency to appear popularly inspired?
    •  Democrats Should Applaud Elections (4.00)
      I'm with you.  Intimidating voters and bombing polling places is Ku Klux Klan tactics.  Democrats should offer them no comfort.
    •  Agree (none)
      It is a day of success amid a sea of failures, and we should be glad for it. To say "pretty pictures" seems to imply that the hope displayed will not be genuine. I think the hope will be real, however irrational it may be in the face of the security problem. My hope is that their hope will eventually be rewarded.

      Truth doesn't take sides

      by KingJames on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:04:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  well said (none)
        I think we're missing the greater success here.  Which is that the Iraqis are clearly doing things for themselves.  They are displaying independence.  Our continued presence there only serves to disparage that display.  We should start bringing troops home now.
  •  The key question to ask yourselves (2.31)
    It's good to be skeptical about this but I continue to get the sense on the Left that people really want things to go badly. All commentary ends with "I hope not" or "I hope all goes well" when many people need to simply admit that they would love for this to fail so that they could point the finger at Bush and finally show him up. Even I fall prey to this since I so dislike Bush but I'm trying really hard to look at the cup being half full and I ask myself this simple question, which all members of the Left should ask themselves: would you be willing to trade great success in Iraq for the fact that Bush would be lauded as a visionary for the rest of your lives? Try it. You know what the right answer is but it hurts.

    J.S.

    http://voicesofreason.info

    •  Hmmm (4.00)
      I think your sense is wrong.

      What most people here are expressing is 1) well-justified skepticism and cynicism about this administration's ability and intent to actually do something good for the Iraqi people, 2) well-justified skepticism and cynicism about any claims made by this administration, and 3) a strong suspicion that what's actually going on is a PR stunt.

      I must also note that I think your assertion smacks heavily of typical right-wing talking points.  If you're here to incite and troll, you won't get very far.  If you're honestly confused, I suspect you re-evaluate.  Kossacks have much good reason to be pessimists about this deal.

      •  Err (none)
        should be "suggest" you re-evaluate.

        I think you're likely on the up-and-up, but please.  There are so many reasons to think that, even if this election turned out to be a smashing success and liberal democracy flourished henceforth in Iraq, the war and occupation have been spectacularly bungled, that I don't think there's much need for people "on the Left" to hope for disaster in this instance.

        Bush is a gift that keeps on giving to liberals everywhere.  There's no reason to think he'll be lauded as a hero for all time, regardless of how things turn out.

      •  confused? troll? (none)
        J.S. speaks of feelings that any thoughtful person opposed to the war must struggle with.  To even suggest a troll rating is reactionary.  I for one do not want to see America ever do again what it's done in Iraq.  The most certain insurance that we will not would be the total failure of what we've done in Iraq.  But to hope for that is to hope for misery, death, suffering, etc. for the Iraqi peopole. The Bush administration has been a profound spiritual challenge for me, perhaps the most difficult I've faced (not that my spiritual difficulties are as mportant as the death or suffering of a single person), for this reason.  I want to pray for what's best for the Iraqi people and I want to pray for what's best for the world.  A neocon would say "No problem, pray for success in Iraq," but for those of us who think that an American attack on a sovereign country that has not attacked us or our allies is a very bad thing, it's not that simple.  Just what do we pray for?
        •  I disagree (none)
          I've spent many years arguing politics online, in many forums, so I don't cry "troll" lightly

          I didn't mention the possibility of J.S. being a troll because he/she "spoke of feelings of a thoughtful person".  I did so because 1) he/she expressed an opinion of many "on the Left" that could have been quoted verbatim from those on the right, including freepers, and 2) his/her tone implied that people here just couldn't face the fact of Bush's greatness.  That's a pretty unusual combination coming from a legitimate poster.  In fact, I thought the original post was fairly inciting.

          Perhaps this was a false alarm, and based upon J.S.'s other postings in other forums, I think that's a good bet.  Nonetheless, I do think his/her original post misinterpreted the sentiments of posters here today.

          •  thought control (none)
            If a freeper might think it, then you can't think it.  Got it.  I was confused at first about who's calling the shots here.  For a minute I thought it was us.
            •  You can think anything you want (none)
              ...and I didn't claim otherwise.  

              But you don't have the right to expect everyone to agree with you, or accept your position.

              Or, for that matter, to refrain from calling you a troll, if that's really what you are.

              Please don't be overdramatic.

              •  Heh n/t (none)

                "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

                by Armando on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:54:31 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  over dramatic (none)
                I suggested that calling someone a troll for writing something you disapprove of is an over-reaction, and you call that over dramatic?  Or was it my reaction to your suggeting that troll calling is an appropriate reaction to anyone who says something that might sound like something said by a freeper?
                •  First of all... (none)
                  ...I did not call anyone a "troll".  Second, I did not and would not do that simply for "writing something I disapprove of".  I noted that the original poster might be trolling because the content of the original post looked like something a troll might write.  Namely, it looked to be something a wingnut might post merely to get a reaction.

                  As I've also stated, I think I was probably wrong on that score, judging by other things the poster has written elsewhere.  But I don't apologize for suspecting that he or she was trolling here, based on the original post alone.  It was, in fact, rather inflammatory, and IMHO badly mischaracterized the sentiments and the motives at dKos regarding the Iraqi elections.

                  Honest-to-goodness trolling does happen at dKos, you know, and it wastes everyone's time.  That's why there's a rating system that includes "troll" and "super-troll" as options...

                  •  responding to trolls (none)
                    I've been on sites pestered with trolls baiting readers on abortion, etc.  I've suggested pledging as a response--that is that each person responding to an abortion obsessed troll pledge to donate $5 to their local Planned Parnthood clinic each time they respond.  That way, something good actually comes of feeding the troll and the troll himself/herself gets twisted in knots about baiting others to respond.  As  for the comment you originally responded to, I've seen a lot of kossacks on yeterday's open threads struggling with similar uncertainties, though maybe not in such provocative language.  But I've seen a lot more provocative language passing for civil discourse on this site, not intended to challenge the prevailing wisdom, but rather to silence uncertainty and wavering.  I'm not thinking of your post in that category, which was pretty civil even if it did play the "troll" card.  My criticism of that was really an afterthought; the substance of my feelings was what I'd hoped would matter.  In that I miscalculated and so will shut up.
                    •  I hope you don't (none)
                      shut up, that is.

                      I may disagree with you regarding this one thing, but you don't give up easily and it seems to me you want to advocate the free exchange of ideas.  It's pretty tough to argue against that :)

                      •  Thanks (none)
                        I was reading David Brock's Republican Noise Machine last night, and he compared the rationale for right-wing talk radio to the rationale for all jazz or all country stations.  People who tune in for jazz don't want to have country intrude, etc.  Even as he was deploringthis rationale pushing its way into the shpere of plitical speech, I was thinking to myseld that my own favorite stations are those that play good jazz ("Fables for Faubus"), good country ("There's a dark and a toubled side of life . . ."), good rock (But PowerCo couldn't cut Sun down/She was welded to the eagle's beak"), good reggae (Funky Kingston!), good hip-hop (The Miseducation of . . .), etc.  None of this means I want to see freepers on dKos--check the word "good" above--but that I want to see the full exchange of thoughtful ideas.  I'm glad we're on the same page about that.  Differences in rhetorical sensibility shouldn't obscure common interests.  (My own rhetorical sensibility derives in part from having lived long enough to have said a lot of things I wish I hadn't.  The word, once uttered, can never be recalled.  I've learned that the hard way too many times.  Maybe even this time!)
    •  You are demented then... (3.75)
      "Would you be willing to trade great success in Iraq for the fact that Bush would be lauded as a visionary for the rest of your lives? Try it."

      Ok.  Let's see.  The premise of your question is simple.  First we must assume that these elections will somehow make Iraq a 'great success'.  After 100,000+ dead.  After the torture chambers at Abu Ghraib.  After American soldiers dying in the thousands and crippled in the tens of thousands.  After the good name of our country dragged through the sewers around the world.  After Bush lied his way into an unnecessary war of aggression.  After the chaos and violence and a whole new generation of terrorists visited upon this land where civilization began.

      After all this, you wish us to assume for the sake of argument that these elections could somehow undue all of this and thus render George. W. Bush a 'visionary' for the rest of our lives.

      Well, I'm sorry, but I'm not going to play your demented game.  The conclusion does not follow from the premise.  Non-sequitur.

      "... the Republicans have fucked reality so hard they need a physics professor to straighten them out." -- hamletta

      by manyoso on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:40:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree that its hard not to (none)
      give in cynicism, but let's not self-flagelate ourselves to the point where we start giving these guys free passes.  This election, as tool for ending the insurency, is a joke and we would be failing to do our jobs if we didn't point that out.

      To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

      by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:42:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Opportunity Costs (4.00)
      The question isn't whether their is some good outcomes in Iraq - the question is at what cost?

      1400+ US troops + 100,000 Iraqi deaths + $200 Billion dollars = Shia state not allied with U.S.

      Is that worth it? What could have been accomplished with that money and loss of life (besides reelecting Bush)?

      •  Exactly exactly exactly exactly (none)
        This is exactly the point to be making to the right.  If we had a magic wand to take out all the bad people in the world, hey go for it.  We don't.  Sure I'm glad for improvement in the lives of an oppressed people, sure I'm proud when my country can do good.  But not at any cost.  

        Where better could we have used that money?  Start with a real, longterm solution to the world's energy needs.

    •  Oh this is your difficult question? (none)
      Geez, and I thought you were sincere above.  This is not a comment seeking an honest reaction - you look to provoke.

      "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

      by Armando on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:54:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  not much of a reply (none)
        This could be boilerplate for a reply to any question, from any point of view, for anyone on any side of any question.  If you've got ninety-nine people saying "exactly" to what you've said, spend a little more time on the one that's hesitant.  If growth is going to come from anywhere (if growth is needed of course), it'll come from there.
        •  Are you kidding me? (none)
          Well what's your answer to the question Mr. Reasonable? See I don't think it is a reasonable question.

          "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

          by Armando on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 04:37:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  See? (none)
            I've given my response to J.S.'s question above on this thread, which you've assured me elsewhere you've read, so I won't repeat it here.  But I will say that if you're going to be a prominent voice on a site that's taken as representative of the left, you've got to lift your rhetoric up a notch or two. For instance, what does the word "see" contribute to your respsonse to me?  "See I don't think it is a reasonable question" doesn't differ from "I don't think it is a reasonable question" except in tone.  And what is the tonal difference?  You can say you don't know, or that you didn't intend any tonal difference, or that adding "see" is more forceful, but none of these would really get at the actual difference.  I think you'd agree that the left cannot out stupid the right and it cannot out lie the right.  Neither can it out bully the right, because bullying has at its heart violence and suppression and dominance, the core values of the right.  At the core of the left is love.  If that doesn't shine through on this site, then this site is just a holding tank for those who will eventually wind  up with the right.
            •  Well (none)
              I think the question on its face is unreasonable.  I don't think it requires an explanation.  Read the question and it would tell you - you know what I object to - why are you acting so cute?

              As for what a front pager should be - well, I am one, and unless kos changes his mind will be one.  I am being who I have always been. You object to me being a front pager - I understand that - many do.  But that decision has been made.  Take it up with kos.  You're wasting your time with me.

              "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

              by Armando on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:52:29 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  wasting my time? (none)
                I have no issue with Kos about you. You are a front pager.  I assume you became one through your abilities to speak for the left and will continue to be one.  Your abilities, though, admirable as they are, may not yet be fully formed.  "Cute," for instance?  Is that the best word you could come up with for what you don't like about my comments?  (Mark Twain once observed that the difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.)
    •  The elections are good but... (4.00)
      that doesn't really mean a whole lot.  I don't think that it is a question of whether the glass is half-full or half-empty any more.  The glass is nearly empty, and although the election may bring it up higher, it doesn't fill the glass up any substantial way.  At best, we're talking 1/4 or 1/3 full IMHO.

      And, to be honest, while I don't think you're trolling, I find your insinuation that people secretely want the Iraq war offensive and dangerous.  I'm a soldier, so I of course want for us to be succesful and be able to pull out.  I just don't think it can happen for a very long time.  

    •  If the Iraqis (none)
      actually achieve self-determination, so much the better.  I agree with Kerry that the best way for the U.S. to demonstrate a good faith interest in a self-determining Iraq would be to immediately start drawing down the troops [regardless of the security situation, because we have to start somewhere and sometime].

      However, I don't believe that self-determination was ever part of the equation for bushco [even if they put on some "elections".] Bushco is not finished stealing the Iraqi oil, and is apparently ready to move onto other nearby countries to get their oil.

      I don't believe for 1 minute that bushco will be relinquishing its stranglehold on Iraqi assets.  As long as Iraq is being exploited, either as a military base for further U.S. aggression or as a playground for the Halliburton-war-profiteering types, there will be an insurgency, regardless of any elections.

      As to your comment about about a "visionary" bush, bush potentially could have been hailed as a visionary had he supported or promoted efforts for U.S. energy independence, demonstrating some willingness to put the country's interests ahead of his business cronies' interests.  Instead, he sided with his cronies and chose to steal oil from its owners.  

      •  Well done (none)
        That really is the $64,000 question:  What happens when and if we are asked to dismantle our new bases or the new government kicks out all the multi-nationals we invited in to feed at the Iraqi trough, oil and otherwise?

        I too have a hard time picturing Cheney giving up the hard-won booty.

    •  You go there and be a 'visionary' too... (none)
      ...they need 'economists' to build this miracle. So why aren't YOU there Poindexter? Why aren't ANY of our wealthy elite there?

      Instead the send the sons of our under-class to donate lives and limbs so Bush can be 'lauded' as a visionary.

      People like jscorse are jackass cowards.

    •  Goodfuckinggrief ... (4.00)
      ...when many people need to simply admit that they would love for this to fail so that they could point the finger at Bush and finally show him up.

      Unless you can prove this #@@%!!^&*@$%# assertion, I suggest you stick to praising the election and leave the psychoanalyzing to somebody with better credentials.

    •  You know what? (3.83)
         I heard this same damn accusation when Baghdad was captured.

         I heard this same damn accusation when "discovery" after "discovery" of WMD's was announced.

         I heard this same damn accusation when Bush was prancing around in a flight suit, declaring "Mission Accomplished".

         I heard this same damn accusation when Saddam was captured.

         I heard this same damn accusation when his sons were killed.

         I heard this same damn accusation when power was transfered.

         You know what? My skepticism has been right every time. My accusers haven't been right once. They've been wrong again and again.

        I'm the one with the track record of being right on Iraq, and people like you are the ones who have been wrong time and time again.

        Why not play the good odds and be skeptical? Because it's worked in the past, every time.

      •  You make good points (none)
        and I think it is wise to be cautious. However, just to point out the difference between your valid tipping points not making a difference and this potential tipping point. This is the first one that has involved the Iraqi people directly.

        They now do have a STAKE in their own country. they may choose ot go back to doing nothing about it, but they may also choose to start acting.

        since we dont know who these new elected people are, there is always hope that some of them are true leaders and maybe an MLK, or Jefferson, or the like might emerge.

        Up until today, the only 2 players in the game were the US and the insurgents, now the Iraqi people and their elected officials have been put center stage. Let's see if they can sing.

        I think the most likely thing ot expect from the insurgents in the coming weeks and months is targetted assasinations of these newly elected officials. We'll see.

        This is a bigger tipping point, have to wait and see if its big enough, and IF the US administration can finally manage not to fuck it up by interfering

        I am a Reform Democrat

        by Pounder on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:17:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  *laugh* (none)
            "Involved the Iraqi people directly".

            That's funny. You think those crazy towel-heads buy that spin?

            Seriously, what is it with our arrogant assumption that the Iraqis are fucking retards?

            They know what puppet elections are like. Saddam had them all the time. They're more used to this bullshit than we are, and seem to be better able to play "Spot the liar" than the American people.

            "Involved the Iraqi people directly". Except for the Sunnis, of course. One of the three major ethnic groups in Iraq didn't participate, but that's okay. Everyone -- Sunnis' included -- will overlook that in their joy to acclaim legitimacy.

            What color is the sky in your rosy little world?

    •  What succes are you talking about? (none)
      As far as I know we have been fed so many lies from this administration and the press, I don't believe anything anymore . Last night first the Iraq interim government told the press they expected a very low turnout. Less then an hour later the same people reported that they expected an extremely high turnout.

      I wonder what made them change their minds.  

      You know you're in trouble, when you've got to ask Dick Cheney to "cheer up" the voters.

      by amsterdam on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:33:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The key question you have to answer (3.00)
      is do you believe in "Intelligent Design", because I am convinced that only through unnatural forces is Iraq going to end up a functioning Democracy.  My answers come from using  simple logic and learning from history.  What else can you do in the world of realism!

      Are you in the world of realism?

      Political censorship is the root of all evil! It is the antithesis to a functional democracy!!

      by truthbetold on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:34:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If Iraq becomes a glowing city on a hill (none)
      does that mean that the end justifies the means?  Bush and company are liars, his reasons are unjust and corrupt, and his methods despicable.  Does that mean I want Iraqi citizens to die to make my point?  NO!
    •  I'm gonna back you up on this (4.00)
      But phrase it differently.  It reminds me of a question O'Reilly posed to a liberal guest once, obviously thinking he had a 'gotcha':  "Can it ever be patriotic to hope your country loses a war?"

      The answer is, damn straight it is.  It's patriotic to root against your own guys if (i) you think the war is immoral or (ii) you think that winning the war will lead to greater harm to your country in the long run.  I subscribe to (ii) personally.  

      Does anyone doubt that Bush will be in Iran, Syria etc. in a nano-second if he can get away with it?  If Iraq had in fact been a cakewalk, no senator would dare oppose further great imperialist adventures.  Bush's ratings were in the 90s when Baghdad fell.  And since I believe that war in the Middle East is a one-way ticket to WWIII, yeah, I fear 'success' in Iraq.

      •  this is the correct answer (none)

        All extremists are irrational and should be exposed

        by SeanF on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:01:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Patriotism (none)
        It was patriotic for a German to hope his country would lose WWII. It was even more patriotic to act against his country's government (some did so).

        It was patriotic for Russians to hope their country would lose the war in Afghanistan.

        It was patriotic for my parents to hope France would lose the war in Algeria. It was even more patriotic for them to act against the French government as they did. And I am happy they did so.

    •  j'accuse (4.00)
      If this election brings peace to Iraq it will be a success. So far no candidate has been able to campaign so voters do not know who they are voting for, for the most part. The most violent minority is boycotting the election. But cast aside all those facts and let's assume that this 'election' does bring peace and prosperity to Iraq.

      Bush will never be a visionary, he will always be the incompetent dangerous man he is.

      To thine own self be true - W.S.

      by Agathena on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:04:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bush (none)
      The only way I will ever consider Bush to be a "visionary" is by these definitions of the word:

      Not practicable or realizable; utopian: visionary schemes for getting rich.

      Tending to envision things in perfect but unrealistic form; idealistic.
       

    •  go to hell (none)
      success?  destroy the cradle of civilization.
      why does empire escape criticism? bush will be held accountable for crimes against humanity.

      maybe you are arguing that these people still have human dignity in spite of the outrage dumped on them in the name of wmd-s, the march of fascist human freedom.

      no i do not have to accept this debacle as anything bettering the conquered peoples who will surprise everyone especially the neocons and you cheerleading brownshirts.

      i find  americans in general seeing everything  so self-referential.  and that is why the culture is so degenerate. they cannot see the actions of their nation state for what it is. outright genocide and aggression.

      no matter what happens, we started this chain reaction in the name of a crusade, the crusade for world freedom?  there is an article about little boots as the heir of the monroe doctrine. onward christian soldiers onward to the moon and beyond.
       

    •  I share your sentiments and not (none)
      I have found myself feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance about all this.  I must be happy for any kind of improvement of the life of Iraqis, but not at the expense of the world and of my own country.  That's why I oppose globalization as well.

      In the long run, Bush being seen as a visionary leader would be the worst thing that could happen to this nation and to this world, leading to untold death, violence, and evisceration of international law.  So no, success in Iraq is not worth the suffering of my country or the world.

      I am still left, however, wishing the best for the Iraqis and the worst for this President.  It's a very strange tightrope.

      •  I agree (none)
        Cognitive dissonance is a good description.  If anything, it doesn't go far enough.  I wish the worst for this president and all those that egged him on.  What would be the worst?  The total failure of their policy in Iraq.  I wish the best for the Iraqi people we have unjustly bombed, tortured, etc.  What would be the best?  A functioning society in which all people have the full dignity of free human beings.  It seems impossible that Bush's policies will lead to anything like this--they never have yet--but I cannot add "and I hope they don't."
  •  i don't care about the elections... (none)
    ...because they really don't matter. the interesting elections will come alon next year after the constitution, which is probably already drafted, will be in place.

    And I am looking forward to see the coalition to adopt additional sunnites to the new legislative body - also a very democratic move. One I actually agree with.

    "I'm not much of a Zen person, but I've learned that the best way to gain power is to give it away." Howard Dean

    by jandsm on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:31:25 AM PST

    •  I'm really curious (none)
      as to how the turnout went from 72% all morning to 60% after people started doing some basic math -- the populations of Fallujah, Mosul, Sammara, etc. where polling stations weren't even open.

      Seriously, how can overall voter turnout drop as the day goes on? It can't.

      But yes, these elections are just the beginning... and we'll have to see what happens as the politicians try to start governing the country with escalating security concerns and then try to agree on a constitution without at least 20% of the country participating.

      Jaded Reality... I've had enough spin for today thanks...

      by spiderleaf on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:07:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  more than 100.000 potential voters are dead... (none)
        ...because of a mismanaged occupation. that's the number that counts for me

        "I'm not much of a Zen person, but I've learned that the best way to gain power is to give it away." Howard Dean

        by jandsm on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:10:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Consider this... (4.00)
        50% turnout = 7 million votes

        5500 polling stations/6.75 million votes*=1227 vote per precints

        (Generous assumption of 100% turnout expatriate vote)

        Now considering your point of no voting in major cities, the failure of polling places to operate elsewhere, and that there is only one report of a polling place (in Basra) where turnout might hit 1 vote per minute (a sufficient number of votes in the precinct to make this needed average in 20.5 hours of voting) it's pretty clear all claims of high turnout can be dismissed.

        Ye that dare oppose not only tyranny but the tyrant stand forth! - Thomas Paine

        by Lcohen on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:41:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Are you sure? (none)
          BBC Reporters' log: Iraqi elections

          Seems turnout in the Shiite South and in the Kurdish regions was high. And very low in the Sunni regions.

          And by the way, the expatriate vote was around 25%.

          Expatriate Iraqis head to polls

          •  Even assuming 85% (none)
            in the North and South, more than 50% of the population lives in the center including Baghdad and Sunni triangle. 85% seems improbable given that Mosul the third largest was described as deserted by the WaPo and that even Irbil in the Kurdish territory did not start seeing turnout according to the BBC until more than three hours into the nine hour voting window.

            Ye that dare oppose not only tyranny but the tyrant stand forth! - Thomas Paine

            by Lcohen on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:38:00 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Great point. To apply your calculation further (none)
          to a 72% turnout (10.08 million voters, 5500 poll stations), works out to an average of 3.4 voters per minute (each casting two [1 local,1 national] ballots, per poll station over the 9 hr (8 am-5 pm)voting period).

          If then figure in that probably 10% of the above 5500 polling stations were not even operational because of safty threats to voters or poll workers,  that would mean that the average voting rate at the remaining ~4900 stations was nearly 4 voters (3.77) per minute per poll location over the entire 9 hr period.

          Remember. This election is being conducted in a backward country largely without electricity in most areas, and with all voters proceding through a double security check (outside of and then inside the poll station) before being allowed to fill out and cast two ballots per voter.

          Now imagine going that fast through an airport security checkline before being allowed to proceed to the boarding gate, and you can appreciate how totally implausible are the "GoodNews" numbers the bushco cable corporate media are pushing about the Iraq election.

          •  30% of the registered electorate voted (none)
            This is the third time I've posted this figure.
            Just came from Jane Aguba, CNN.

            I think it's important to get rid of the over inflated White House figure of 72%

            To thine own self be true - W.S.

            by Agathena on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:28:29 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  30%? (none)
              that's quite the drop... do you have a link or was it just on air?

              Jaded Reality... I've had enough spin for today thanks...

              by spiderleaf on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:57:41 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Just on the air on CNN (none)
                Greater than any expectations. Guess those expectations were low.

                To thine own self be true - W.S.

                by Agathena on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 12:07:31 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  CNN is where I heard the 72% figure this morning!? (none)
                  Please pass along link to the 30 % number if you have it handy. I will search for it too.
                  •  I heard it on CNN from Jan Aguba (none)
                    reporting from Iraq, now I know someone else heard it too.

                    She emphasized that it was still a great turnout under these conditions.

                    Don't forget the 72% figure was from the US (probably the White House) not from Iraq.

                    If you want confirmation, try BBC or other foreign news.

                    To thine own self be true - W.S.

                    by Agathena on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 12:38:56 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Jane Aquba, ph spelling (none)

                      To thine own self be true - W.S.

                      by Agathena on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 12:39:56 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  I guess we should give both 30% and 72% (none)
                      figures much doubt since they both came out of CNN/Bushco pipeline.

                      Lets keep looking for real numbers (dreaming here).

                      •  No, the lower number was from Iraq (none)
                        the higher number was from the Bush propaganda machine.

                        To thine own self be true - W.S.

                        by Agathena on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 12:54:03 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •   Aren't they are one and the same? (none)
                          Besides that, both the 30% and 72% (and the 61%) values are likely to be fictions, all were widely reported, by  Iraqi sources (probably bushco controlled) as well as Bushco controlled domestic sources.

                          BAGHDAD, Jan. 30 (Xinhuanet) -- Polling officially closed acrossIraq at 5:00 p.m. (1400 GMT) Sunday with a better than expected voter turnout in the landmark elections, the Independent ElectoralCommission said.

                              Three hours before the closure of the vote, Adel al-Lami, amember of the commission, put the turnout rate at 72 percent.

                              However, electoral officials scaled down the figure at a newsbriefing shortly after the poll, saying 72 percent was compiled based on "estimates" and there were about 8 million Iraqis who might have voted [emphasis mine], about 61 percent of eligible voters.

                              The turnout rate was subject to change since there were still voters waiting in line who would be allowed to cast ballots, election authorities said.

                              Vote count has begun at some 5,300 polling centers across then country and a final result of the elections was expected in at least 10 days.

                          •  Lou Dobbs says 90% (none)
                            in some areas. I had to turn him off, I was afraid that his gushing would short out my tv. :-)

                            The number quoted by Jane Aquba was from election officials on the ground in Iraq. Whatever, if will be days before any truth filters out.

                            To thine own self be true - W.S.

                            by Agathena on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 02:06:47 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

      •  In NYT story (none)
        Mosul was open, and people were voting.
  •  I guess I'll wait (none)
    Given this administration's well-known history and its affinity for using propaganda to spin false pictures, I'll wait a few days before I decide how the day went.

    I think it's a good thing that a vote happened.  If only a very few Iraqis turn out to have voted, or if the election simply brings to power those the U.S. wanted (e.g. was rigged, etc.), or if it results in civil war then I'll have to say that, on balance, not much was achieved except a relative one-day vacation from violence in Iraq.

    •  I honestly don't think this is about propaganda (4.00)
      I think this is desparation.  There seriously is no getting out of this for the Bushies until the security situation is solved--if 150,000 US troops can't do it, 200,000 Iraqi's will never.  They're hoping against hope this turns the tide before support for the War drops out completely--and it won't turn the tide.  Period.  They need to for once be honest with themselves and recognoze how long this is actually going to be and then be honest with America.  At least then we can democratically decide what to do.

      To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

      by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:48:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  ...of course (none)

        A lot of the insurgents, probably most, are fighting the presence of foreigners on Iraqi soil.  Remove the main grievance, and the insurgency shrinks to proportions manageable by the Iraqis themselves.  
    •  Propaganda (none)
      Of course it's the typical propaganda.  And the MSM will swallow it whole, as they almost always do.  Sunni turnout will be light.  And the stage will be set for a second Shite Islamic Republic and a possible full fledged civil war.  So, tens, if not hundreds of thousands, of people died, include U.S. servicemen, to transform Iraq from a one-man dictatorship into Iran.

      Democrats must confront the cultural populism of the wedge issues with genuine economic populism. Thomas Frank.

      by Paleo on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:12:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Kill me, I voted! (none)
    I don't know that we're clear of election-day violence for at least a few days to come. Voters are marked with bright purple ink that doesn't come off for some time, making them targets still after the polls have closed. Still, I'm glad wasn't bloodier than it was.
    •  that's bad enough (none)
      but even worse is that the voters had to mark their ballots with their fingerprints and if anytime of retaliation happens (even a year from now), it will be easy to tell who voted and for which candidate.

      Jaded Reality... I've had enough spin for today thanks...

      by spiderleaf on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:10:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not to mention that... (none)
      now that there have been "elections", the nameless candidates will have to be made public (unless we believe that "elections" for slates of unnamed people who then serve anonymously, wearing balaclavas describes anything like an accountable democratic government).

      Given the recent history of attacks on government officials, I suspect that the mortality rate among those "elected" will probably be disturbingly high.

      O it is excellent to have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous To use it like a giant--Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, Act II

      by ogre on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:12:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  My thought exactly (none)
      I don't know that we're clear of election-day violence for at least a few days to come. Voters are marked with bright purple ink that doesn't come off for some time, making them targets still after the polls have closed

      Makes it almost too easy for targets to be determined.  I wonder who came up with this idea?

  •  a good day (none)
    We should all be thankful that there weren't more casualties. But IMO, the hard part of the political process hasn't started yet.  It will be interesting to see what happens when the Sunnis and Shia sit down at the bargaining table.
       While I am glad for anything that will reduce the violence, I do worry that the administration's declaration of "success" will ultimately serve to portray Iraq as a template for the violent transformation of Iran.
  •  Lots of Iraqis do want to vote (none)
    And those who blow them up while doing so are bad guys.

    Whether it does any good is going to be a much trickier question.

    Can the US avoid turning everything it touches to rap?  For the first time this administration?

    Does the admin even want to avoid doing this?

    And will the people who are able to claim electoral victory going to play their cards right?

    That last question is the  real tough  one and no  one can even guess the answer.

  •  Early results (4.00)
    As dubious as this election is--mystery candidates representing a myriad of factions running without platforms, etc.--the early evidence is that the population has come out in good numbers. I am impressed by the quiet bravery of the voters and their response to the election process. Hopefully, it will be a small payback on the lives lost in this.
    Whether it is substantive or not, the event may be a more powerful moment for the Iraqis than expected.    
  •  Ill say this (none)
    yes it was a successful elections. , give credit where credit is due......now the question is who was voted into power and how will they govern?
    •  And of course, the American Question... (none)
      needs to be asked.

      Who counted which votes?

      O it is excellent to have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous To use it like a giant--Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, Act II

      by ogre on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:13:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  the product, not just the process (none)
      that the process of voting was fraught with angst and real danger is a measure of how difficult the security situation in Iraq remains.

      but IMHO it will be the PRODUCT of this election that will be the real measure of "success"...

      ...most AngloAmericans, i daresay, seek EXIT; ie., some forseeable end to our expenditure of blood & treasure.

      ...most Iraqs, we presume, seek security; an end to occupation; and restoration of their dignity.

      The worst part for most of us (here) is that Bush and his pundit poodles will be running around claiming that what the Iraqis are doing now has something to do with what he has done; ie., as if this election process in and of itself somehow validates the Anglo-American invasion & occupation (which, of course it does not, but it sure as hell will be framed and spun that way)

      The greatest achievement of the Iraqis is not that they voted in the absence of Law & Order, but that they voted in the presence of Military Occupation.

      most of us old salts (here on KOS) wince and await the inevitable BAIT and SWITCH :-/
       

      •  You hit the nail on the head (none)
        The PRODUCT of the election will be what defines it's success.

        since the candidates and their platforms were secret, we have no way of knowing that right now.

        We also have no means to guess the insirgent plan going forward either.

        We have no way of knowing the minds of the Iraqis right now as to whetherthey will stand more fully behind this new government.

        too many unknowns ot make any rational comments today, except to say that the actual process seems to have gone off better than one could have expected.

        I think all the negative aspects associated with today, were well known before the voting began. that the sunnis would be under represetned, there would be places where votnig was not possible or very difficult.

        how the new government handles this dienfranchisement is going ot be a big test, along with how they handle the Kurdish demands for greater autonomy. And how the insurgents handle the results and what they do going forward.

        they may well, as has happened elsewhere, use the promise of lower violence ot get a seat at the political table, that they couldnt get via the ballot box.

        I am a Reform Democrat

        by Pounder on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:24:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Well the MEDIA... (none)
    ...has been doing Bush's biding by showing how happy the Iraqi people are to flock to the polls over the past couple of day. Of course, all those people are voting in London and will enjoy their elected officials from their flats complete with fish, chips and cnn, Fox returns...
  •  Bushco controls the success agenda (4.00)
    Bushco announces that holding an election (any kind of election) will be a success. They hold the election and announce a success. Next they will define another event in Iraq as a measure of success. One success follows another.

    Meanwhile, in the reality-based world, more and more of Iraq is slipping into anarchy and large stretches of Baghdad are effectively out of the control of occupation forces. Bushco can manufacture success after success, but the fate of Iraq will be decided by what people there are willing to live and die for.

  •  Somewhat off topic (none)
    But the weather is bad in Iraq again, this time in the southren part of the country.  a Brittish C-130 went down.... Funny how all this bad weather happened around the time that Russia is talking about selling SA-18s (most advanced shoulder fired anti-aircraft missles) to Syria.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/4220649.stm

    Regards,
    Jamie

    --jamie "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism" - Thomas Jefferson

    by jamie ahmad on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:39:27 AM PST

    •  oh, by bad (none)
      The weather was fine in the south of the country, apparently this happened northwest of Bagdad.  I presumed it was in the south because it was brittish.

      Regards,
      Jamie

      --jamie "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism" - Thomas Jefferson

      by jamie ahmad on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:40:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Iraqi weather must be ferocious (none)
        --I don't recall weather taking down military aircraft like this as a common event.

        Of course... maybe the Iraqis have something like the famous Russian General Winter.  General Sandstorm?  General Heatwave?  General Uprising?

        Saddam really did have secret weapons!  There's a malificent evil weather generator...

        O it is excellent to have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous To use it like a giant--Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, Act II

        by ogre on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:16:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No Way! (none)
           I played Red Alert 2; Weather Machines require an Allied Battle Lab!

           (Unless, of course, the insurgents have a Halliburton contract.)

          It's been a time, therefore, of illusion and false hopes, and the longer it continues, the more dangerous it becomes.- John Anderson

          by Anderson Republican on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:26:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No way indeed! (none)
            I mean, Halliburton wouldn't EVER do business with anyone under sactions.

            O it is excellent to have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous To use it like a giant--Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, Act II

            by ogre on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:36:07 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Dude, Iraq is no longer under scanctions (none)
              Halliburton can sell whatever they want to the insergents.  Let capitalism rule!

              Regards,
              Jamie

              --jamie "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism" - Thomas Jefferson

              by jamie ahmad on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:25:00 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  It wasn't Halliburton (none)
                It was the 4,000 SAM-7 which disappeared from the Iraqi weapons depots, along with 250,000 TONS of munitions, after the occuppation started.  The men in charge knew the value of those missiles, and they probably buried them all over the country, to sell them later to the highest bidders.

                Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam

                by Peter VE on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 02:22:45 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  Could the crashed plane have held ballots? (none)
      The C-130 is huge and used for transport.

      An RAF C-130 Hercules crashed at around 1725 local time on 30 January some 30 kilometres north-west of Baghdad.

      Polls closed at 17:00 and the 1725 crash time was previously reported as 1640, so there is some inconsistency there, so it plausibly could have been later.

      Imagine the bitter irony, if after all this, the Kurdish ballots are burning uncounted in the desert.

      Hal C.
      http://www.operations.mod.uk/telic/index.htm

      •  It may have been that the plane was intended (none)
        to cary ballots, in fact I hope so.  Since it was going away from Bagdad, it may have intended to bring the ballots back on its return.  Therefore, it hopefully was empty (except the unavoidable 5 or 6 crew members that are almost certianly lost).  Otherwise we may be looking at around 50 dead in addition to the 5 or 6 crew members.

        Regards,
        Jamie

        --jamie "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism" - Thomas Jefferson

        by jamie ahmad on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:22:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There could be up to 150 dead (none)
          It was probably carrying American soldiers back to the huge airbase at Balad after they provided security for Allawi's areas in Baghdad.  
          •  Well, I fear (none)
            that today there was a priority to moving troops around,not moving supplies.  I doubt that they would have pulled in assests from the British sector in order to move supplies, would not be urgent enough.

            Blair just said that he has no idea how many people were on board.  It is three hours after the incident.  He knows how many people were on board, if it was five, then he would have said so.

            with regrets,

            Jamie

            --jamie "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism" - Thomas Jefferson

            by jamie ahmad on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:25:53 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Ok, we have sky news in the UK (none)
      saying that 15 British troops were killed.  That is 10 more than the crew.  I don't know, but would that be the size of a SAS platoon?

      Regards,
      Jamie

      --jamie "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism" - Thomas Jefferson

      by jamie ahmad on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 02:09:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My guess (4.00)
    My guess is that we will see a short-term, modest, boost here in the US for the War. But all too quickly it will be back to business as usual. What would be interesting is if the Shi'a turn around and tell us to leave at the end of the year, or something like that.
  •  What really interests me....... (4.00)
    : Fobbing the disaster that Iraq* has become off onto a crippled, ineffectual Iraqi government, "democratic" or not ( whatever that could possibly mean under the circumstances ,) would serve Bush Administration purposes, and - in the event that things spiral out of hand, the NeoCons can as a last resort implement the "Cheney Plan" - to partition Iraq. ( as reported by STRATFOR, 2002 )  

    What concerns me is how the Bush Administration may be planning a partial disengagement from Iraq in order to bring forces to bear in Iran to topple the Mullahs. Cheney's lidless eye has already turned to Tehran, and to wider regioal conflict : in other words, all is going according to plan.

    *except for the oilfields and refineries, of course.

  •  Iraqi Elections (3.66)
    Instead of reacting to initial news reports, which are bound to be positive if the Boosh people have anything to do with it, we ought to wait a few days for a better picture of who voted, and who didn't.  And, after the tumult and the shouting have dissipated, they may even release the names of the candidates.

    Only then can an intelligent assessment be made.  of course it may be too late, if the MSM focuses on the crying and cheering Iraqi people whose 'primordial, eons-long yearning for democracy' has been granted by Boosh.

    "The face of evil is the face of total need." - Wm. Burroughs

    by oblomov on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:40:38 AM PST

    •  i agree (none)
      i think, also, that those individuals who were on the ballot are potentially going to be top targets in the coming weeks.  the security situation is not going to drastically improve because people voted; a well trained iraqi guard, army and police force is the long term route toward that goal.
    •  Iraq/Social Security (none)
      How much you wanna bet, if he gets a spike in the polls this week, he suddenly submits his Social Security plan in full, hoping to take advantage of popularity to get it passed before his approval rating inevitably falls back to around 50% by March.  I wouldn't put it past these guys.
    •  Doesn't matter to my analysis (none)
      The Election does not mean you can govern. That's my point.

      "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

      by Armando on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:50:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "best can do" (3.50)
    yes it's a shame we couldn't put in a massive lockdown (closing borders, etc) after the initial invasion as we have for the election. it's disgusting that Bremer was more focused on introducing capitalism than providing security.

    that being said, I am glad that the election went off better than expected. I was worried that I would wake up this morning to more bloodshed than has occurred. I hope that the insurgents didn't just decide to lay low for the election only to come out in force in days to come. I hope the fact that, however lopsided in representation, that many people did vote will have some resounding psychological impact on all the Iraqis.

    •  Hope is on the way (none)
      Suppose that's true, how does that effect the insurgents?

      "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

      by Armando on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:47:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am sure (none)
        the insurgents would have preferred to have intimidated more people to stay away.

        and for those people who proudly voted in spite of the insurgents, I would think they feel a little more invested now.

        symbolism can be powerful, even if there is not a one-to-one correspondence with reality.

        •  I should add (none)
          if this admin chooses to revel in the qualified success,and chooses to settle for symbolism alone, these voters will experience an unfathomable disillusion.
          •  Hmm (none)
            What do you mean? What do you think this Administration can and should do?

            "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

            by Armando on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:07:25 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  less crow, more show (3.50)
              believe me, if they take these elections as a sign they can start liberating Iran or Syria next, it will be an apalling mistake.

              if they can accelerate the training for Iraqi security forces, maybe having to eat humble pie and finally accept other countries offers of help to do that.

              if they can focus more on reconstruction of Iraq, and the employment of Iraqis, rather than their construction of army bases in Iraq, and their salivating over Iraqi oil.

              big ifs, I know.

              as for the Sunnis, there has been talk of somehow including them in the writing of the constitution, despite the election boycott. I can't say how the exact mechanics of that would work, but it might provide some face-saving for the Sunnis if it's done that way.

        •  But (3.66)
          Sunnis did not vote. Do you mean the Shia and Kurds will be more committed to fighting against the Sunni insurgents? Do you see the act of voting as being more motivational than say - revenge?

          Perhaps I'm too cynical.  But the act of voting for Shia and Kurd seems easy to understand - the acquisition of power.  Sunni insurgents will seek their power by other means.

          "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

          by Armando on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:06:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Exactly (none)
            It isn't a victory that the Shia and the Kruds turned out today.  That was expected.  The sunnis are who are running the insurgency.  Shia have never really been part of it--it would be an odd civil war if they were.  The fact the Sunnis didn't turn out is if anything a sign that the insurgency is becoming even more entrenched.

            To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind. moralquestionsblog.com

            by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:15:14 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah... (none)
              <sigh>

              Sunni not voting ends up being either a vote FOR insurgency or a vote of fear that the insurgency is so powerful and hostile to elections (some combination of both, in reality) that those who like to contionue living don't vote.

              I'll just remind folks that the historical estimates on the US revolution suggest that only about 1/3 of the population actually supported the revolution.  Another 1/3 was loyalist, and the last 1/3 was confused, apolitical, or didn't care.

              O it is excellent to have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous To use it like a giant--Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, Act II

              by ogre on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:21:05 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  No, there's some of both (none)
              Some people who are Sunni are running the insurgency. Not all of them, mind you. Many of the Sunnis aren't voting because of suport for such an insurgency, but because America just ruined Fallujah despite all the massive outcry over it (many Iraqis resigned their positions in government in protest, some previously pro-American). Many are insisting that they will not vote until the US leaves. The Association of Muslim Scholars says there's nothing wrong with democracy per se, but that it's being held under US occupation, US control, and it's just too dangerous to go out and vote. Until a few days ago, the entire slate was anonymous. Some Shiites have also been behind the insurgency, do you remember the Mahdi army?

              According to Zogby's Poll of 805 Iraqis between January from January 19 to 23, 2005 in the cities of Baghdad, Hilla, Karbala and Kirkuk, as well as Diyala and Anbar provinces:

              Sunni Arabs who say they will vote on Sunday: 9%
              Sunni Arabs who say they definitely will not vote on Sunday: 76%
              Shiites who say they likely or definitely will vote: 80%
              Kurds who say they likely or definitely will vote: 56%

              Sunni Arabs who want the US out of Iraq now or very soon: 82%
              Shiites who want the US out of Iraq now or very soon: 69%

              Sunni Arabs who believe US will hurt Iraq over next 5 years: 62%
              Shiites who believe US will hurt Iraq over next five years: 49%

              Shiites who want to hold elections on Jan. 30: 84%
              Kurds who want to hold elections on Jan. 30: 64%

              Sunni Arabs who want to postpone elections: 62%

              Sunni Arabs who consider guerrilla resistance against the Americans legitimate: 53%

              Iraqis who would support a religious government: 33%

          •  In other words, la plus que ca change (none)

            To thine own self be true - W.S.

            by Agathena on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:44:26 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Another question (none)
    Why is it that if someone asks a difficult question on this site he is automaticall labeled a "troll" and a "right-wing" apologist? That's what the right does and we're supposed to be better than that- but sadly we're not. Check yourselves people!
    •  What difficult question? (none)

      "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

      by Armando on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:46:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  see your reply (none)
        and near-troll rating of jscorse upthread.

        A lot of people provoke here, including you.  It's a necessary precurser to dialogue.  You don't downrate everyone who provokes.  

        Something tells me you downrated simply because you disagreed, which is against the rules here, as I understand.

        •  Nope. (none)
           I downrated because this 'person' has a track record of asking this exact same question in new form, even after it's been answered.

           Provoking by itself isn't bad. Provoking, getting your response, and then provoking again with essentially the same line is trolling. And so it will be rated.

          It's been a time, therefore, of illusion and false hopes, and the longer it continues, the more dangerous it becomes.- John Anderson

          by Anderson Republican on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:29:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Hardly (none)
          i rate provacateurs with little substanceand much snark marginal - especially when they distrot as that poster did. You don't like that, that's you perogative. I think my rating fair.

          "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

          by Armando on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:02:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  You''re right (none)
      and you may be called demented, stupid, nuts.

      I think you keep asking the questions anyway - I know I will.

      •  What question? (none)
        This seems very cryptic.

        "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

        by Armando on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:55:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry to be cryptic (none)
          I was called nuts for a post 2 days ago.  Maybe I am - the point is simple to me - we should show a bit more respect than reactive name calling.

          Maybe I am petty.  My feelings don't get hurt or anything but I don't see it as being productive or having meaningful debate.  

          I have seen - sorry for not posting sources - times when people do ask questions or state opinions and are attacked for being "right" or a "Neo con" - and I thought they were just trying to push another perspective.

          •  Sure (none)
            Watch my Castro thread tonight and tomorrow ight. I'm very anti-Castro - i'll get a lot of abuse. That's just life here.  Let it roll off is my advice.

            "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

            by Armando on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:00:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Secretly wishing others dead? (none)
      So I can be right?  Is that "the difficult question"?  Happily, you are so wrong about me.  If Bush can usher in a new Golden Age of Reason, then I'll be all for it. I wish him luck, if he decides to take it on as a project.  

      Why is it that right-wing bastards always stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity, while liberals fall out among themselves? Yevgeny Yevtushenko

      by peterborocanuck on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:59:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Uh (none)
      Looking over your posts, it's pretty clear you hold none of the values of liberals and Dems and leftists. In fact, you really don't like the values of the left at all.

      So either you're terribly mixed up or you're trolling for kicks and to get things stirred up.

      I'd wager the latter.

  •  The people who.... (4.00)
    are "gloating" over this "election" are overdoing it. The cost of this "event" regardless of the true outcome was too high and there is "no end in sight" to this dilemma. No one can convince me that: at least 1400 Americans killed, thousands more wounded, tens of thousands of Iraqis killed or wounded, an increase in al Qaeda recruitment, anti-American sentiment throughout the world, billions of dollars spent etc., was worth it. The cost is too high. BTW, all the people that are "crowing today" are very childish. This nightmare is not over by a longshot. IMHO if the Dork was as smart as he thinks he is, he would be downplaying today's outcome. Those Iraqis who "voted" are under the impression that this will lead to the end of the occupation. What happens now when all the different factions start "wanting their piece of the pie" when they start to attempt to build a constitution? How will the Kurds react? How will Sistani's faction react (they went to the polls for religious reasons) when the occupation doesn't end in the near future? Furthermore, the "insurgency" will not end. Even Rice is basically warning people not to make too much of things and that dark days are still ahead.

    "...always be capable of feeling deeply any injustice committed against anyone, anywhere in the world..." - Che Guevara

    by John Masotti on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:46:42 AM PST

  •  My prediction (none)
    In a year less than half of the 275 people elected today will be alive.I'm not happy about this but thats my prediction.

    This guy is no longer my state senator http://aniskovich.com/ Don't get mad ,get local

    by ctkeith on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:51:57 AM PST

    •  Dark optimism (none)
      I tend to agree.  I expect that once there are names and faces for the various factions to target... there will be a wave of murders.    Others will find that their families are threatened, and will resign.

      Ugh.

      O it is excellent to have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous To use it like a giant--Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, Act II

      by ogre on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:23:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  or (3.50)
      the delegates do write a constitution, and then the forces in the wind create an Islamic Republic of Iraq.  "Be careful what we wish for, we might get it?"

      A truly sad situation would be that these preliminary elections set up a scenario for the hijacking of a truly open governmental process, and that the fundamentalists (supported by Iran?) take over the actual operation of the government in Iraq?  The CPA's doctrinaire approach to government with its ideological bent toward corporate capitalism may play a role in securing the control of the elites who use the fundamentalists as their voting base? Sound familiar?

      In this script the Iranians assume the mantle of Protectors of Islam from the faulty hands of the octogenarian Saudi royal family.  If true, then what have we accomplished?

  •  The key... (none)
    is to deconstruct the numbers here.

    72% of eligible voters voted?

    Does 'eligible' mean 'registered'?

    If yes, what is that number?

    And what is the number of of-age voters, whether or not they registered?

    It might be the case that a tiny proportion of of-age voters voted.

    Or not.  Impossible to tell from the way it's being spun.

    Bush denies presidential timber.

    by Lumiere on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:52:40 AM PST

    •  In America, "eligible voters" means (none)
      those who are eligible to register to vote.  About 30% of elegible voters voted for Bush, 30% voted for Kerry and 40% stayed home.  

      I expect the high turnout is a percentage of registered voters.

    •   Total Eligible voters inside Iraq = 14 million (none)
      see calculations of this above based on this number.
    •  Same day registration (none)
      If I recall correctly, they have same day registration for voting.  So every one that registers will vote (assuming they don't get killed while moving from the registration line to the voting line).  That being said, at this point the 72% or 60% figures are complete fiction, because I don't think anyone knows at this point how many ballots there are.

      We'll probably never hear the true figure (except maybe as an article on page A-12 of the April 10th New York Times).  In the meantime the
      Administration will say over and over again 72%.

      Of course, some people say the Iraqis don't like freedom.

  •  There is no reason (4.00)
    to declare "success" today. I'm relieved that it seems as though, thus far, many Iraqis mangaged to live through the voting process. But when you have a media that has proven themselves to be  untrustworthy, and you have an adminstration that has proven itself to be untrustworthy, you don't fall into the same hole you just climbed out of the last time you were taken for a ride. You wait, you research, and you don't take the first glowing reports out of the box to be the indisputable "facts on the ground".
    •  I disagree (for a moment) (none)
      It's so easy to lose perspective here, but any day 100's of people DON'T die, then the day was a success. And when one group of people (Sunni's) were openly denouncing the elections, and suicide bombings were kept to only a few incidents, then this has been a resounding success compared to BushCo. normal operations.

      Remember, baby steps. We need our troops to come home, and it's only going to happen in baby steps.

      Now, the incredibly skeptical side of me (downright cynical) gets to respond. As mentioned above, this upped security does nothing to prtoect people tommorow. Violence will probably return tomorrow, and ratched up a notch or two in response to the dissipating security (compared to election times). I mean, voters had to go through two seperate check points, security was IN FORCE and palapable, yet suicide bombers and other forms of terrorist activities still got through.

      I want to say baby steps again, but in my mind, it seems just too appearant that we're in over our heads.

      •  if i were running the insurgency (3.50)
        I would have a big slate of bombings leading up to the insurgeny (which they did), threaten for "blood in the streets" (which they did) and essentially pull back on election day itself. The reason? Insurgencies never want to fight a symetrical battle. When we go out in force, the costs are too high for them. Look to tomorrow and the upcoming weeks. Then we can ask all the pundits and Condi's how much of a success it was.

        All extremists are irrational and should be exposed

        by SeanF on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:05:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Saddam Hussein (none)
    They claimed it was a success when Saddam Hussein was caught. Reality is that a year later the capture was irrelevant.

    Chances are that the same thing will happen with the election. As long as the Sunnis refused to vote, the election is meaningless. I bet my house that the insurgency will continue and that weeks from now, people won't talk about the election but again about the daily car bombings. Just like what happened after Saddam was caught.

  •  Yet another moved goal post (none)
    Election is just one of the many goal posts the Bushites keep raising and moving. Next it will be sitting the elected officials. That will now become the measure of success. For those idiots that follow this administration it will be it's next talking point. The rest of us are smarter than that. Of course a lot of us didn't buy the WMD goal post.
  •  Isn't it odd that the reporting on this Frabjous (4.00)
    Day is obsessively playing the "expectations game?" The turnout is "higher than expected." The number of Iraqis blown up for their trouble is "less than predicted." Turnout though is uneven "as expected."

    Somehow the story has been transformed from the "historic occasion" blather of the last week or more into one about whether or not the prognosticators in the government and its client media predicted accurately.

    Could it be because this "historic" vote is essentially meaningless -- let alone the fact that the balloting itself was impenetrable? Nameless candidates, 120 parties, no particular understanding of what any of them intend to do -- if they are ultimately allowed to do anything. Could it be that this sort of vote is exactly the kind of Democracy our government has in mind for the USA?

    So if this is a sham election for show -- which I think is a fair estimation -- maybe the "expectations game" is the only thing that can be reported without causing the Propaganda Ministry to send out orders to seize and hold some reporters at Gitmo.

    --felix

    •  I was just thinking (4.00)
      the same thing you wrote.

      We're all so relieved that there was little bloodshed during the elections, yet who kept building up the expectations that there would be bloodshed?  Why, bushco, of course!  Manipulating everyone as usual.

      When bushco kept warning about election bloodshed, I was asking myself why would the insurgents turn to wholesale killing of the population?  It makes no sense and would get them no sympathy from the population.  So far, it appears they target mostly people who are in cahoots with bushco [with the exception of the poor guys being trained as Iraqi police]; the isurgents don't seem to target the population in general.  

      So the lack of bloodshed so far doesn't really surprise me.  IMO, all of bushco's "fears for the election" were just for manipulating our expectations.

      •  When Bush starts talking down (none)
        something, as he did tody's so-called "election", you now the repugs are starting there usual lying, "lowering expectations" propaganda game which the lapdog US press always falls for hook, line, and sinker. Witness today's NY Times headline:

        Iraqi Voters Turn Out in High Numbers Despite Attacks Intended to Deter Them

        This so-called "election' is like a lot of other Bush propaganda stints: landing on carrier, capture of Saddam, et al, ad naseum, - the RWCM and Bush will lock each other in a sugar-rush embrace, which will wear off when the killing continues. The problem for the Bushists, who live in a fantasy world, is that the Iraq Sunni resistance is not like the US press corps, or like the large number of Americans who fall for Bush's lying. A quick phony "election" is not going to fool the Sunni insurgents, who will likely attack again and again, and will be unrelenting until the US pulls out.

        I don't give a f--- about your war... or your president. ~Snake Plissken

        by assyrian64 on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:50:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  And let's not forget, (none)
      "Saddam was further along in his WMD related program activities than anyone ever expected"
      --David Kay, Charles Dulfour(sp) and numerous Republicans reciting Bushco PR firm meaningless 'on-message' sound bite.
  •  Another real question (4.00)
    It is impressive that the Iraqis (the Shia and Kurds) were brave enough in most of the country to vote under hazardous conditions.

    The real question is, are the Shia brave enough to defend themselves against the Sunni/Baathist insurgency any time soon, or are we going to have to prop them up forever?  And if not, then why do we love their freedom more than they do?

    •  "Freedom" (none)
      The real question is, are the Shia brave enough to defend themselves against the Sunni/Baathist insurgency any time soon, or are we going to have to prop them up forever?  And if not, then why do we love their freedom more than they do?

      In the unlikely event that the US military prop is pulled away, the killing, which will continue after today's phony "election", will increase and likely devolve into civil war. Bush of course put the Iraqis and American troops in this awful position

      The reason why we love their "freedom" more than they do is simple: Bush's definition of Iraqi "freedom", by necessity means the "freedom" of the US to continue (1) controlling the economy and (2) installing military bases. If the Iraqis don't alllow those two things in the future, even if a utopia were to create itself in Iraq, Bush will not define it as "free", not by a long shot.  

      Look at how the Bushists deal with Venezuala, which has better elections than the US, doesn't allow torture, etc, yet according to the Bushists is a repressive regime. Ha! In Orwellian Bush talk "repressive" is code for a govt. which nationalizes its own resources, not allowing the US corporations, who give Bush's orders, to control its economy.

      •  well, Bush will be gone (none)
        pretty soon, especially if the US voter would turn out in as high numbers as the people in Baghdad may have today, and if their (US) votes would be counted with equal weight and proportionality.

        Hopefully, the US looks as much inwards to their own electoral system as they look outwards to other people's feable attempts to get up something running that resembles a democratic electoral system.

        Human life should be governed by truth, freedom, justice and love.

        by mimi on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:50:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with your read of Bushco intentions (none)
        but disagree with the highlighted portion of your statement:

        In the unlikely event that the US military prop is pulled away, the killing, which will continue after today's phony "election", will increase and likely devolve into civil war. Bush of course put the Iraqis and American troops in this awful position

        Sy Hersh has recently described most of central and northern (non kurdish) Iraq as essentially a US military "free-fire zone". It is doubtful whether Iraqis could or would be able to kill more of each other than are currently dying under American occupation.

        The 'civil war' meme is also questionable. It is frequently recited by the Bushco/media machine, and under the current situation might be the best thing that could happen for the occupying forces to keep Iraqi subdivisions and factions fighting each other, instead of US, to maintain its grip on the country.  

        But from what I have read, all the Iraq sectarian groups share a common strong sense of nationalistic identity, and  have many overlapping tribal and marriage ties that bind together Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds (who are Sunni non-arabs)and the smaller christian and turkman groups. Thus, left to their own devices and without outsider agitation, civil war among Iraqi factions may not be likely, based on historical precedents, and cultural factors.

         

      •  Interesting take. (none)
        So, our natural allies the Shi'a are letting us do the heavy lifting because they don't believe we're really going to let them have their country to themselves?  Maybe so.  Apparently, the Kurdish troops are fighting, tho.

        OTOH, it's mostly Shi'a Iraqis getting killed, having their lives ruined, by the insurgency.  You'd think they would care.  Best I can guess, they are cynically and shrewdly letting us take the brunt, because hell, why not let the stupid Americans do it?

        IMO, this is the most disturbing parallel to the Vietnam war:  We're taking sides in a civil war--why doesn't 'our side' care enough to fight their own war?  And what will happen when, if, we pull out?  Maybe Iran fills the vacuum, dunno.  This is the silver lining to Kerry's loss, there's no good solution to this disaster.

        But I completely agree with your main point:  Probably it's all moot, because Cheney will never take his fingers out of the honeypot long enough to see what the Iraqis do with their own country.

    •  It has been noted here before (none)
      That we are not pulling out of Iraq ever. We use the same tactics that led to the Soviet Unions fall, namley misleading economic propaganda from our government and massive military show (freedom is on the march....) While we close bases here in the U.S., crippling local economies, we set up several bases in Iraq - right in the middle of the world. But we don't reduce troop numbers, in fact we increase troops, where are they going to be stationed? We are the lone super power, meaning we can launch a global strike from anywhere in the world. Now take a look at a map of the world, of Iraq's geographical relation to the world, and see how the rest of the world's fears are compounded by such an image of a centralized U.S. army.
      •  See my answer (none)
        to the post above, making a similar point.

        The one respect in which Iraq does not parallel the Vietnam War:  we lose more than face and credibility by pulling out.  Cheney's after the big prize, and he isn't going to let Iraqis self-determine him out of it.

        •  I think it's more than Cheney (none)
          I've read here that these war-mongerings go back to Bush owing some oil company that bought out and merged with his bankrupt oil-drilling affair. This oil conlomerate "called in" a favor, and lo-and-behold, we start a war in Iraq. If I know what I'm talking about, this means Bush actually puts influence into this administration. Which, if you're like me, it's hard to fathom the coked-out chimp putting together two coherent syllables, much less exerting his will on the dark overlord and minions.
  •  Sigh of relief (none)
    I agree with Dean on this -- this was an important step for getting our troops out of there, and I'm glad it went relatively "well."

    Obviously, we want Iraq to stabalize, but not just because of the lives it will save. We need to get our nation focused on domestic issues again. The Iraq war has been a massive distraction from the issues that favor Democrats.

    The worst case scenario would be a steady level of turmoil that needs to be maintained by US troops indefinitely. Not only because of the cost in lives and money, but also because of the political opportunity for republicans to say, "Hey, look, we're the war party -- you need us."


    "It is a common delusion that you make things better by talking about them." - Dame Rose Macaulay

    by Zackpunk on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:57:45 AM PST

  •  I will not begrudge (none)
    the Iraqi people of the feeling of personal empowerment that comes with going to the ballot box.  

    This is exactly my feeling every time I cast a ballot.  No matter that I rarely vote for the winner or that my greatest hopes for the impact of my vote do not often materialize.  The power expressed by the Iraqi voter's personal statements brought tears to my eyes.

    I tossed and turned last nite after watching the news reports.  I hate this war and the means by which we have pursued the ends.  

    But what if this turns out well?  Do I excuse the wrongs that might have resulted in a right?  

    •  Are you conflicted? (none)
      It seems as if you're wondering if the ends justify the means.

      100,000+ dead Iraqi civilians
      1400+ dead American soldiers
      10,000+ wounded and maimed American soldiers
      A city of 300,000+ residents literally burned to the ground
      Unspeakable acts of torture as policy

      I'd say no, the ends do not justify the means by any stretch of the imagination.  

      All Spin Zone : Nailing the Lying Bastards Since 2004

      by Richard Cranium on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:13:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There is smart success and dumb success (4.00)
    I believe the "insurgencie(s)" to be well funded and manned, and maybe even coordinated in at least their desire to get the US out.  The US administration is beginning to realize that getting out using some face-saving measure (like in Vietnam) may be its best alternative now, no matter what its original intentions in/for Iraq were.  Therefore, I believe the elections will be a success in that they will EVENTUALLY provide that face-saving facade that the administration needs to get out.  However, read on as there are 2 ways this can come about, the smart way and the not so smart way!

    Both ways eventually both lead to the same inevitable civil war in Iraq with the eventual outcome either 3 separate countries from what now makes up Iraq, or another Saddam strongman rule in Iraq.  This end result is not in doubt, only the timetable for it to happen!  The main difference in these 2 scenarios revolves around whether the insurgencies see the benefit of holding back for a while so that the US administration can implement its withdrawal without losing face.  If the insurgencies do not hold back and continue the level of violence that they have shown that they can inflict, then the US will have to prolong the how do you ask a person to be the last man to die for a mistake scenario longer because the US will not run from its bastard mistake in Iraq without a face saving time interval being provided!

    Political censorship is the root of all evil! It is the antithesis to a functional democracy!!

    by truthbetold on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:59:41 AM PST

  •  Better than Expected (4.00)
    Doesn't mean much when expectations are at rock bottom...

    "I won't be your monkey."

    by ThatsNotFunny on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:02:50 AM PST

  •  Let's be clear... (3.66)
    The security lockdown was done with a dual purpose in mind - to keep the streets clear, and to bottle up information flow.

    The various outlets of Minitrue are falling all over themselves this morning proclaiming success.  RoveCo did a masterful job of diminishing expectations over the past month or so. Any result short of Zarqawi's clan lighting off a low yield nuclear device outside of the Green Zone was going to be portrayed as stunningly good.

    But let's step back for a moment.  Out of 5000+ polling places, pool reporters had access to 5 for filming purposes.  One of Allawi's stooges claims "72% of voters voted", with absolutely no facts to back it up, but the SCLM immediately siezes on this as gospel, and obiediently reports the figure.  Dozens of people are killed in dozens of polling place incidents, but it's spun as eggs and omlettes.  The freepers of the world are flipping out more than they did on Nov. 3rd.

    By the time the complete story slips out, this sham election will be old, old news and any corrections will run on page A-27 of New Pravda.

    All Spin Zone : Nailing the Lying Bastards Since 2004

    by Richard Cranium on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:05:00 AM PST

    •  I've seen more (none)
      I've seen photos from more than 5 polling places.  I've been reading blogs to find them, though.
    •  second rate lies (none)
      I for one put the statement in
      'we are 100% sure Iraq has WMD' category.

      (they could have at least lie like this:
      initial number is not out yet, but we have strong anecdotal evidence that in some are showing are strong)

      yawn

      I rate this rightwing lies 'D -'

    •  There is no critical reporting coming out of Iraq (none)
      and al Jazeera is up on the block for sale to the highest bidder. Can we expect any truth coming from that country today?

      Skeptical, after Florida 2000, how can we trust a Bush controlled election in Iraq?

      To thine own self be true - W.S.

      by Agathena on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:14:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What I fear is that Bush will get the credit (none)
    Bob Schieffer said today, "If Bush succeeds in putting Iraq on the road to democracy, he will be remembered as a great president."
    •  wait and see on that (none)
      remember, Woodrow Wilson was instrumental in bringing democracy to much of Europe, but it didn't last and neither did his 'legacy.'  
    •  That's Silly (none)
      No matter what happens, Bush is going to say that democracy succeeded in Iraq.  Down is up to him.

      Bob is expecting Bush to make an objective analysis of the situation over there?  HA!

      Quit telling me how I should feel, Bob.  Stick to your job of relaying factual information to my brain.

    •  Heh (none)
      Scheiffer - what a dork.

      "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

      by Armando on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:21:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  why? (none)
        he is not, what he says is realistic.

        The fact is, if the Iraqi will find ways to create a better, fairer, more free and more secure life for the citizens, those feelings will prevail and what remains is the notion that it couldn't have happened, if Saddam Hussein had not been toppled. That at least is directly related to the US invasion.

        The only thing is, it might be very unlikely that the Iraqi people will be able to create that life in the near future. They will have civil war more likely, and need to fight the "enemy within".

        I think, it might not be possible to "get Iraqi democracy" without the Iraqi themselves fighting against all those who oppose it. If the US military could withdraw relatively fast and quiet, it might end up that the US invasion into Iraq would be judged as a catalyst help for the Iraqis, who want to fight for a democratic constitution, to get into a situation where they at least could try to fight for it on their own.

        Bush is smiling while he is speaking now and I don't mind him doing so. There is nothing wrong with being "relieved" that the elections didn't turn out worse. And that's basically all there is to it right now.

         

        Human life should be governed by truth, freedom, justice and love.

        by mimi on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:11:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not realistic at all (none)
          Do you really think the Americanpeople give 2 shits about Iraqi freedom?  how about Afghani freedom? Shouldn't that secure is place in history?  It doesn't does it?  See my point?

          "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

          by Armando on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 01:53:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  wish there was more faith in reality (none)
      I don't worry that Bush will be remembered as a "great" or "visionary" president. History will more likely remember him as a gambler who almost broke the entire country and its military over Iraq. All gamblers are lucky sometimes.Let's just keep the chips out his hands until 2008.
    •  reality (none)
      "If Bush succeeds in putting Iraq on the road to democracy, he will be remembered as a great president."

      The operational word is "if" and he sure won't be remembered as a great president by those of use who opposed this illegal and immoral war in which tens of thousands of people have been wounded for life or have died.

      I can think of many words to describe Bush. "Great" isn't one of them. Greatness belongs to people with humility.

    •  Bobby's initials aren't BS for nothing n/t (none)

      Absolute executive power absolutely tortures.

      by caliberal on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:00:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  OK (none)
      I once stuck up for Schieffer on the Kerry blog when he was attacked in advance as a potential debate moderator.  The man was from the old school of ethical journalism, I said: a REAL journalist, impartial.  So what if he golfed with the Bushes once in a while?  He could be professionally objective.

      But this lube job sends me over the rainbow and not in a good way.  You know the greasy spot left on the sdiewalk after you scrape up your dogshit?  Cheney's lower than that.  And Bush reports to Cheney.  And Schieffer's reporting on Bush.

      "No. I'm pretty fuckin' far from OK."

      by moltar on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:51:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  To be fair (none)
        he followed that quote immediately with another implying that history would be highly critical of Bush if things don't work out.  I didn't catch the exact quote and the transcript isn't ready yet.
    •  It's not about credit, it's about courage (none)
      Don't worry, Bu*sh* will get due credit for this mess. History may have been written by the victors in the past, and there is this tendency today, but in the end, the facts are clear enough.

      What many on this board don't seem to realize is that this really is a great day for the Iraqis. It must take a tremendous amount of courage to vote, to show yourself at the polling station, to have your finger marked purple, to put you fingerprint down as having voted. This is the real story.  

      Also remember that Iraq had rigged elections from the 20's to the 50's. Given the US control of this it must seem like there is a very small chance
      these elections will be fair.  However, in spite of a history of bogus elections, in spite of a flawed process, in spite of personal risk, many Iraqis did vote.

      They voted for a small chance to have a better life. They are to be admired and supported. Please do not cast this as failure. It is progress. And in the end, this is how the Iraqis are going to get rid of us, and get their lives back.  

  •  Iraqi blogs at MSNBC (none)
    There are dozens of Iraqi weblogs up, and you can link through via MSNBC's webstie.  Some are very happy about voting, others are pessimistic.  I despise Bush's folly in Iraq but at least some people are feeling good over there, after so much hardship and fear.  It may not last, I suspect, but it's always good to see oppressed people happy.  I remember the joy of Filipinos in 1986 when they voted, then revolted, and got rid of their own dictator.  Maybe one day America will have that same joy again - in 2008.
  •  I disagree (none)
    While this certainly doesn't mean Iraq is now a full fledged democracy, it is refreshing to see the Iraqis celebrating their own participation in the electoral process.  It is an important first step in the right direction, quite an accomplishment considering how bad things have been going lately.

    of course, the real test is to see who actually happened to win the election and how much power they will really have.  IMO, I think the best thing that can happen is for the new gov't to ask us to leave, so that we can withdraw "with honor."  It will be interesting to see how the Bushies react to that...

    •  Important first step (none)
      Why do you say this?  What makes this such a step?

      Speaking of reactions, how will you react if the new government of Iraq asks the U.S. to stay, as I strongly suspect they will?

      "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

      by Armando on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:20:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not a success (2.00)
        Not much of a step at all.  This, of course, would be a farce anywhere else.  They are going to the polls to vote for candidate they don't know and may never know (it's not like they will stop being targets after the polls close).  They are voting along ethnic lines, just like the expatriates and offspring of expatriates are (you think they have a clue of what's going on with local politics in Iraq).  It's a practice vote, so to speak.  With the criteria they have to vote on they could have been served better with a census and just broken the intern government into factions based on religion and ethnicity.  

        I don't buy any of this, and it has nothing to do with wanting to see it fail.  It's because we are billing this farce as a success.  

        And as far as the immediate future, it's between a theocracy or a secular criminal (the CIA just confirmed that Allawi murdered those six prisoners), so why am I not optimistic?

        •  true (none)
          this is not an election in the typical sense, like we saw in Ukraine.  There was no discussion of issues, party platforms, etc.  What it was, however, was a vote by the Iraqis to say that they wanted a democratic-type system.  It is a rejection of Hussein and and expression of a desire to control their own destiny.

          where this takes us is impossible to say.  It is certainly not the end of the story.  but it is a beginning, and after so much has been bungled, it's nice to see something good happen for a change.  Democracy may or may not come to Iraq for good.  but at least we now have some sign that a large number of Iraqis are interested in it...

  •  Progressives and Iraq (4.00)
    Naiomi Klein has discussed in an excellent interview how progressives should approach Iraq.  I found her line of thinking useful.

    She notes that anti-war progressives are understandably reluctant to cheer the elections, for a number of reasons (good ones, and not so good ones).  It's a tough question: how can one applaud the consequence of the war without admiting that the war was a Good Thing?

    Klein argues cautions against simply dismissing these elections as inconsequential and shouting "US out now!"

    For her, the lefts need to pay more attention to how things are being run in Iraq--how the country's debt has been only partially erased, and how the place is being sold off piece-meal to corporations, and how the US is trying to privatize Iraq's food distrubution system, and etc.  

    In short, the Bush administration, in "freeing" Iraq, is trying it's hardest to make sure that Iraq ends up serving the interests of the United States.

    Progressives, on Naiomi's account, need to re-focus their efforts on publicizing and countering the Bush admin's undemocratic efforts to make Iraq a paradise for the free exercise of corporate power.

    The public discourse should not be: "Rebublicans support the arrival democracy, while Democratic bemoan it," but rather "Democrats push for real democracy, and oppose the exploitation of Iraq and its people."

    Cheers to most of the Iraqi people for voting today, and jeers and worse for the Bush administration's plan to make Iraq into an outpost of American corporate hegemony.

    •  I disagree with Wolf (none)
      What is her rationale?  Political effectiveness?  Well she's out there.  Good policy?  And this effects it how?  I'm not sure I follow the thinking.

      "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

      by Armando on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:11:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agree... (none)
      "Cheers to most of the Iraqi people for voting today, and jeers and worse for the Bush administration's plan to make Iraq into an outpost of American corporate hegemony. "

      Agreed - they want us out and this is the first step... it will be hilarious when the neo-cons reanize that their hard bought puppets turn on the puppet masters...

      Well I want our boys out too - as fast as possible so let's hope this happens before the puppet masters realize how independent their puppets are... else they'll fabricate a reason to keep us there.

    •  sounds like something kerry might say (none)
      The public discourse should not be: "Rebublicans support the arrival democracy, while Democratic bemoan it," but rather "Democrats push for real democracy, and oppose the exploitation of Iraq and its people."

      and, like kerry, i agree with it 110%...... and like with kerry, i know america is too fucking stupid to understand it.

    •  Thanks. (none)
      That is a very helpful perspective.
    •  "rudimentary" 4 (none)
      (for some reason at a certain point on this thread you can't rate anybody....)

      the vision of a predominantly capitalist success, rather than a democratic one is worrisome.

    •  A very important voice (none)
      Naomi Klein's "Baghdad: Year Zero" was a real eye-opener for me.  In all the talk of bringing democracy to Iraq, no one mentions how the Bushies snuck in the gift of rightwing laissez-faire capitalism, and brought their friends to bid on all the Iraqi assets put up for auction.

      The real test of the new government, and our imperialist adventure, will come when and if an Iraqi government stands up to the neocons and reclaims its economy (and oilfields) for itself

      •  Good Point. Naomi Klein was first to write about (none)
        Bremer's Order 39, which is essentially a codification/legalisation of Bushco-allied interests' actions to steal Iraq national industries and resources at fire-sale prices and take all profits out of country without paying any royalties.
        •  The best piece of the puzzle (none)
          that Baghdad: Year Zero filled in for me was explaining why Bush was so hell-bent on "transfering sovereignty."

          Well, it turns out a little thing called international law forbids an occupying power from selling the occupied country's assets.  Bremer was holding auctions, but the bidders were afraid to buy because, ya know, they weren't so sure we could deliver good title.

          So, we 'transferred sovereignty,' and voila! let the auction begin.

          •  Klein's "Baghdad: Year Zero" (none)
            I agree that Klein's "Baghdad: Year-Zero," from Harper's magazine a couple months ago will be of great interest to anyone who wants to see what Bush & co. are trying to accomplish in Iraq in the name of "Freedom."  Fortunately, the piece is available on-line, for anyone who's not yet seen it.
  •  Successful? (3.83)
    I don't know.

    I see this:

    and I think...success?  Blood flowing in the gutter...success?

    Oh, "only" about 50 or so Iraqis were killed.  Do we measure success by the number of ballots counted or by the number of lives lost?  

    If 50 Americans were brutally killed as they cast their votes, blown to bits because they wore an "I voted" sticker, would we call that election a success?  I doubt it.  

    Are Iraqi lives worth less than American lives?  Judging by today's news coverage, you'd sure think so.   "Only" 50 died while millions happily cast their ballots for anonymous candidates...what success!

    Suicide bombers were able to break through the security barriers in dozens of cities, despite the fact that those polling places were being gaurded by the best military in the world....success?

    This is not a successful election.  By any international standards, it is not a successful election.  

    Under the Declaration on criteria of the free and fair elections, the Iraqi elections are not free and fair.

    For example, Section (2)(5) of the Declaration gaurantees that in a free and fair election, "every voter has the right to equal and effective access to a polling station in order to exercise his or her right to vote."  In Iraq, whole cities were denied polling places because of the lack of security.  We decided to send our forces to protect Baghdad citizens, but not those in Samarra.

    Another section, Section (3)(5) for free and fair elections: "The right of candidates to security with respect to their lives and property shall be recognized and protected."  Well, we know that didn't happen.  The Iraqi candidates went through hell, so much hell they were afraid to even say their name was on the ballot.

    Success?  Not by a long shot.

    But once again, the Bush administration lowers the bar, and appeals to the lowest common denominator.  Hey, at least they got to mark a ballot, right?  That's the one-dimensional democracy of Bush's world.  

    But democracy is multi-faceted, three-dimensional, and encompasses far more than putting an "X" by a name you don't know.  

    If the people lead, the leaders will follow.

    by Georgia Logothetis on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:08:17 AM PST

    •  The bar was so low (none)
      that we are now relieved that there was not a massacre. How low is that?!

      But now Georgia10, you will be accused of hating freedom for telling the truth.

      To thine own self be true - W.S.

      by Agathena on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:16:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mass Shamming in Iraq (none)
    Streets lined with the occupation force's armor and we're supposed to feel like what happened in Iraq is monumental?  

    Please.

    If the Iraqi's only knew that the painted finger thing was probably discussed in some board room meeting about photo ops, then how would they feel?

    Iraq election. Sham.

    Do you want to see free Iraqis?  Then the US should leave and let the Iraqis be free to do what they want.

    I find it sickenly hilarious that Bush Co keeps saying we'll "stay there until the job is done" and then no one ever asks what the job is and what will make the job actually done...

  •  Vietnamization (none)
    The election in Iraq demonstrated the courage of the Iraqi people if nothing else.
    But it may come to nothing more than another "turning point" - just as there were so many "turning points" in Vietnam. Things will get better as soon as Ngo Dinh Diem and Ngo Dinh Nieu are deposed. Things will get better as soon as we stand up the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, bomb the Ho Chi Minh Trail, interdict Haiphong, seal the border with Cambodia, etc. etc., etc. Each new Administration notion was trumpeted as a turning point and as each passed the situation on the ground became steadily worse.
    As others have already observed, the Iraq election will not cause the insurgents to lay down their arms or give up their goals. I would add that it will not cause the U.S. to suddenly reverse its wrongheaded reconstruction policies and turn that effort over to the Iraqis. It will not stop people from getting killed. It may not even guarantee a representative government since we have little to no idea who was actually elected.
    I hope I'm wrong.

    He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. Nietzsche

    by dazedagain on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:21:34 AM PST

  •  triumph of the will (none)
    For the record, Christian Amanpour "reported" on Late Edition the election was a "triumph of the will."  The text running under the video repeated this claim.

    Some of their viewers may recall this phrase is the title of the most famous propaganda film ever produced, extalling the virtues of Adolph Hitler and the Third Reich.

    Are they folks at CNN cheerleaders, or sarcastic, or ignorant?

  •  wingnut: it exceed expectation (none)

    Wow, the rightwing is really mpumping it on the media.

    you can fee the talking point
    \
    -It exceed expectation.

    Nytimes is jibbing the melody line like the whore that they are

    Front page NYTImes headling. Take screen shot now!
    "Iraqi Voters Turn Out in High Numbers
    Despite Attacks Intended to Deter Them"

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/30/international/middleeast/30cnd-iraq.html?hp&ex=1107147600& en=562b2d104653f499&ei=5094&partner=homepage

    Actual title:
    Amid Attacks, a Party Atmosphere on Baghdad's Closed Streets

    {BS number nobody can confirms starts flying out}

    "Preliminary estimates of a 72 percent turnout by a member of the Independent Electorial Commission, Adel Lami, were later revised at a news conference to "about 60 percent" by another commission official. The initial estimate excluded the mainly Sunni Muslim provinces of Anbar and Nineveh. Polling stations closed at 5 p.m. Iraqi time, or 9 a.m Eastern time."

    Complete with propaganda picture how things are cheerfull

    Streets in Baghdad were closed to traffic but full of children playing soccer.
    http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2005/01/30/international/30cnd-iraq.1.184.jpg

    (dude, there is only ONE child, and the street is full of smoke! )

    •  Quick math... (none)
      72%... no, wait, about 60%!

      Ok, so what's that say?  Well, we expected that the Sunnis wouldn't vote in large numbers.  So... say maybe only 25%?  (It can't be too low since the spin is that Sunnis turned out "more than expected").

      25% of 20% (the Sunni Arab part of the population, roughly) is 5%. If the Kurds and Shiites turned out in equivalent numbers... their collective 80% of the population accounted for 55% of the national population voting.  That's a turnout of about 69%.

      Not bad (superb by American standards... </snark>) but hardly an overwhelming turnout.  

      But if there really was better than expected Sunni turnout, then it suggests that the boycotts by the Sadrists (etc) must have really hurt.

      O it is excellent to have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous To use it like a giant--Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, Act II

      by ogre on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:33:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fine, fine, fine. Great! (none)
    The election was a stunning success, George!

    The liberals are in stunned disarray.  Quick, it's time to declare victory and bring the troops home.

    (No, I don't think that this approach will work, but it's worth a try)

    O it is excellent to have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous To use it like a giant--Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, Act II

    by ogre on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:26:19 AM PST

  •  WashingtonPost. (none)
    Washingtonpost is less enthus about lying inside their article. But their headline is a cheerleading.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A48454-2005Jan30.html
    Turnout Appears High as Iraq Vote Ends

    "There was no firm count of the number of people who voted, as Iraqi election officials in the evening backed away from an earlier estimate that turnout was approximately 72 percent. Sarid Ayar, spokesman for the electoral commission, said in the evening that the earlier numbers were "anticipations," and Reuter quoted him as "guessing" that maybe 8 million Iraqis voted, which would be a little over 60 percent of registered voters."

    ----------
    Notce there is NO single newspaper printing picture backing up their 'people are lining up on the street to vote"

    well pal, where is the friggin picture? (They take just about any kind of picture of few people doing this or that voting. But no picture showing long line)

    •  Photos of elections lines (none)
      You can find them if you look, for example there's a yahoo news slideshow, but really, so what.  It's no surprise at all that turnout was high in the shiite and kurdish areas, and very low in areas controlled by the insurgents.  This was absolutely predictable and widely predicted, and the "better than expected" spin is, unfortunately, predictable too.  
    •  Those lines were troops (none)

      To thine own self be true - W.S.

      by Agathena on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 01:40:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Change (none)
    I hope you're wrong too.  I've written before, and will repeat here:  the change is not illusory, it is real.  Regardless of the composition of the new government, it will be an Iraqi government - not a US "puppet regime".   For the Iraqis, that is a profound distinction.

    We are there to ensure the new government is seated, that all authority is transferred as per UN Resolution 1546. [Yeah, again with the UN....  :-) ].  Six months, earlier upon request, the multinational forces mandate will be lifted.  Further, once the security forces are in place, it will be an internal fight, not by proxy.  A little different fighting your own instead of the Americans.

    And let's not forget who now controls the money.  Billions.  No more "big daddy" holding the purse strings. Good for their economy, probably bad for BushCo/Halliburton, et. al.    

    You're right about the next few weeks - too many variables to predict an outcome. But I'm still cautiously optimistic.  It won't be pretty, or easy, but the Country is not ungovernable - even in it's current state of chaos.  You can't erase the idea of democracy.

    •  Speed (none)
      Sheesh, in the time it took to type the above, 124 people chimed in.  I GOTTA get faster......
    •  cool (none)
      i knew those appropriations for halliburton contracts weren't necessary.

      we're the american gov't, we can break those contracts right now.

    •  really? (none)
      Regardless of the composition of the new government, it will be an Iraqi government - not a US "puppet regime".

      Do you know that to be an indisputable fact?

      For the Iraqis, that is a profound distinction.

      It sure is.

      You can't erase the idea of democracy.

      But, you can expect a real and fair democractic process and government. This election can't be held up as an example of either.

  •  Backwards (none)
    Usually it's the right who wish for blood. . . .with each Iraqi killed by an insurgent's bomb or blade during the election period, smiles and gloating "I told you sos" erupt from the left.  The blood actually seems to make some in the supposedly progressive camp  HAPPY.  
    I might even use the word 'bloodthirsty.'

    Just so you know, you CAN be against the war, you CAN be against Bush, and still hope that, still report that, the election goes well.  Mark Riley was telling Marc Maron just last week, if you missed it. . . .

    Sure, the media is going to spin to make them look more successful than they are.  But dailykos, it seems, is going to spin them to make them look LESS successful.  Truth is hard to know as always, but let's aspire, anyway.

    Listen, even Bush has gotta see his numbers dipping under 50%.  Anything that might persuade the administration to bring the troops home any sooner than otherwise is to be preferred.  And smooth elections, however that may be defined, would do that.  

    George Bush has got enough egg on his face.  He really doesn't need any more.  History will take care of his ass, you can be assured.  
    Don't cut off an Iraqi's head to spite George freakin' Bush.  . . .

    •  math problem (none)
      The problem with this election is that the group that didn't participate, the Sunni, have the most incentive to continue to use the "absentee ballot" consisting of all of the munitions that we failed to secure, which they control for the most part, and, being the technical and military class, have the best abiliity to use effectively. All the elections will probably accomplish is to put Sistani's mark on the new constitution.

      Either way, I would suggest that the U.S. doesn't care, as long as the oil, finance and banking remain privatized, and we can maintain the 14 long term military bases that we are constructing in Iraq.

      Still credit where credit is due. The low expectations game always pays off for Bush.

    •  I agree (none)
      However, even that good an outcome doesn't look too plausible.

      I have been thinking for over a year that the US would leave Iraq in a clear-cut defeat, and have been  terrified by that possibility.  The consequences for constitutional government in the US would be bad.

      There are an  amazing number of bad possibilities in Iraq, but the fact that large numbers voted is one of  the few  hopeful signs we've had that everything is not going into the toilet.

      Not that it couldn't still happen...

      OTOH maybe Bushco will start  looking for cheaper, less violent solutions.

  •  Bush Wins! (none)
    Bush wins! Media fawns. Glowing video at eleven!

    http://www.theaggressiveprogressive.com/CNN.html

  •  Wait until the curfew ends tomorrow.. (none)
    My guess is that things are going to turn ugly once again....very ugly...

    I did not receive $ from Ketchum, U.S. Department of Ed or HHS to write this---though I wish I had.

    by Volvo Liberal on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:41:59 AM PST

  •  That there were so few casualties (none)
    today is a real success. I feared it would be much, much worse. Kudos to the security people and kudos to the Iraqis that came to vote despite a very scarey situation.

    "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Theodore Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:42:57 AM PST

    •  Only 50 dead Iraq's (none)
      that is what we call a good and hopeful day in Iraq.

      You know you're in trouble, when you've got to ask Dick Cheney to "cheer up" the voters.

      by amsterdam on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:48:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah... (none)
        sad isn't it. But you have to figure one guy with a car bomb at a polling place could kill that many and maim a hundred more.

        Their "bath the streets in blood" was much like Bush's "shock and awe."

        In the long run this whole thing has been a disaster from start to finish but I hope the Iraqi people can pull themselves up despite the incompetence, negligence, and carelessness of this administration.

        "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Theodore Roosevelt

        by Andrew C White on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:57:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Because the White House bars are so low (none)
        They warned of a massacre, so when 'only' 50 innocent lives are lost in spite of massive security, why
        the 'low' casualty rate for the election just 'exceeds all expectations.'

        To thine own self be true - W.S.

        by Agathena on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 01:45:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Tactical decision by anti-occupation forces? (none)
      How do we know the reduced intensity of attacks wasn't a tactical decision by the anti-occupation forces?

      Perhaps they decided that they had done what they could to undermine the legitimacy of the U.S.-controlled elections and that attacks on polling places today would not serve their political strategy.

      Admitted, there is no way of determining whether this is or isn't true--but it seems a better explanation for the lack of election-day violence than the increased security, which has never proven very effective in the past.

  •  I think the answer to your question... (none)
    "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."

    ... Armando... is Afghanistan and the Mayor of Kabul, Hamid Karzai.

    "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Theodore Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:45:33 AM PST

  •  British plane crash (none)
    Has anyone heard anything else about the British cargo plane crash outside of Baghdad?  They're being very tight lipped about it, but sources say that the wreckage is spread over a wide area.  It sounds horrible, especially with the potential number of passengers this thing might have.  

    This from news.com.au:

    The sources said the aircraft was primarily used to ferry troops from the British sector headquarters in Basra, the main southern city, to the Iraqi capital.

    The coalition military press office in Baghdad said the aircraft crashed northwest of Baghdad at 4.40pm Iraq time (12.40am AEDT).

    According to the Royal Air Force website, the Hercules is used primarily to carry troops, passengers and freight.

    The site said the aircraft carried a crew of five or six and up to 92 or 128 troops, 64 paratroops, or 74 stretchers.

    •  spread over wide area = shot down (none)
      If the wreckage is spread over a wide area, that means that the plane broke up while in flight. The most likely reason for an airplane to break into pieces while in flight over a war zone is that somebody shot it down.

      Combine this with the US losing several helicopters due to "weather" on clear sunny days, and I'd say that the insurgents have managed to get a stock of newer anti-aircraft missiles than they previously had.

      •  I was wondering how long this woul take (none)
        Remember, when the Soviets were in Afghanistan, we gave the Mujihadeen Stinger anti-aircraft missles. I've wondered if the Soviets would start getting them their latest MANPADS (Man Portable Air Defense System, i.e. shoulder launched Surface to Air Missles). As noted, Syria recently received a batch, which gretaly upset the neocons. I can only assume Iran has been receiving them as well..

        I am only assuming they are being shot down by Soviet MANPADS as opposed to our Stingers that we know they have, because we would know how to deploy counter measures with those. The question then becomes, what countermeasures was the RAF C-130 equipped with?

        Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it. -Tom Paine

        by Alumbrados on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 12:17:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Sadly, no news or rather slow news ... (none)
      could not be good news for the crew and passengers aboard the downed British C-130.  I grieve.
      •  Update: US and British deaths (none)
        This from Reuters.  You're right;  The fact that both governments acknowledge this and offer their condolences but don't release the number of passengers does not bode well:

        The C-130 Hercules transport plane involved in the crash can carry up to 92 troops, 64 paratroopers or military equipment.

        Blair, in a statement on British television, did not say how many had died but President Bush said both U.S. and British military personnel had lost their lives in the crash.

        There had been no previous reports of U.S. deaths.

        No information has been released about the cause of the crash, but U.S. officials said helicopters had spotted the wreckage, which was strewn over a wide area.

        "Yet again today we see the sacrifice they (British military personnel) make," Blair said in his statement.

        "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives earlier today. They can be so proud of what their loved ones accomplished. This country and the wider world will never forget them."

        Bush paid tribute to the U.S. and British troops who died. "Their sacrifices were made in a vital cause of freedom, peace in a troubled region, and a more secure future for us all," he said in televised comments from the White House.

        •  I have a bad feeling about this (none)
          It is as if the number of dead involved is being suppressed to avoid spoiling the spin of what a wonderful day this has been in Iraq.

          I hope that I am very, very wrong.

          And please, anyone who suggests that we on here like to forecast gloom and don't like being proved wrong, it is because we have been proved right too many times. It is a sad statement of these times that we open the web news resources with a hollow, empty and joyless fear of what we might learn.

          Nor can anyone say that we are not hoping for the biggest and most glorious joy of all: Peace. As long as we are striving for that, there is nothing negative in what we do, say or fear.  

        •  US military borrowing the plane? (none)
          Someone posted that the US might have been borrowing the British plane to ferry troops between security areas. That's why the plane wasn't in the usual British zone of control.

          So British crew and and probably a full flight of American passengers. No wonder they're not saying anything.

          --- My opinions are my own and not my employer's.

          by Aexia on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 02:28:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Today's Successful Election (4.00)
    "I have been accused of gloating by people right HERE because of my focus on the continuing violence." -Armando

    Oh "waaaah" Armando, whining is much worse that gloating. However, I can't believe you even bring those "accusations" up considering the doom and gloom (car bombs! Sadr shuns the vote! "Most of the Iraqi People Will Not Participate") of your preceding posts was debunked by a relatively peaceful and successful election. Oops! Your "hope" to be "wrong" was fulfilled! Be happy!

    [Note: things could still go horribly wrong in the next few days because of the "marked" voters, so don't be too happy.]

    Instead the only way you can react, now that the vote wasn't as ignored or violent as you supposed, is to call it a meaningless election? Well, that's lucky! Yeah it's a convoluted system, and God only knows what will happen next, but talk about moving the goal lines! Yes, in terms of how much Bush and his administration have fucked things up, wasted money and resources, and how hard and courageous the Iraqis had to be to hold and vote in this thing despite all that, it's a success. But that shouldn't be a problem for us, please don't try to make it one.

    I mean, I can't believe I actually agree with Rice that it "wasn't a perfect election" but it "went better than expected!" I'm sure she said idiotic things as well, but that you chose THOSE news stories as your excerpted proof that she's a moronic stooge. What?!

    You're writing like you're on the defensive when things have gone well for people, people who aren't Republicans! What happened?!  

    Anyway, I think there will be certainly be plenty of "continuing violence" in the days and weeks ahead for you to focus on, so don't worry. Iraq is still a "mess," as you described it. It may have been safe enough to hold the elections, disproving months of steady theorizing by people here, but it's still too dangerous for US troops (or anyone, I guess) to stay over there for the gains we're getting, and so perhaps this election (whether a success or mere "pretty pictures") means we get to withdraw soon. It's still a quagmire, we still need to actually make things right or get out and stop causing the problems.

    We'll see what happens.

    •  Addison (none)
      When will you understand that you can make your point here without denigrating those you disagree with?

      Frankly, that's getting old real fast. Stick to facts. Your personal jabs make reading your posts a waste of time. And don't bother responding to me if you're just going to justify this behaviour. There is no justifcation.

      •  Almost A Justification (none)
        I had a justification typed out, then I realized it was a justification. So I deleted it. It was a really good one too, and I feel you would have been persuaded. Oh well. Anyway, there's a post just below this one (in response to Armando's "react to my opinion so react" post, that's almost entirely free of denigration. It's really long though.
    •  My opinion is expressed above (none)
      React to it and I can respond.  

      "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

      by Armando on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 05:54:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Reaction (none)
        "This Election is simply, in my estimation, an exercise in pretty pictures."

        Except that people are, presumably, now elected. I mean, if the ballots had all been burned afterward, then the election would have been all "pretty pictures." But they just had a fairly well attended election with real consequences, not a photo-op "transfer of power" as was the case when Bremer left, and belittling that isn't so much an opinion as an ad hominem attack against a successful election. As is no doubt clear, I know my ad hominem attacks.

        "Because Elections are to choose governments, not to celebrate the day."

        And, interestingly enough, that's exactly what this election accomplished in it's convoluted "this group elects this group which in turn elects this group" sort of way. The fact that this day was celebrated as a landmark achievement does not mean they didn't choose a government, or accomplish a constructive goal apart from the patriotic fete, you know.

        "Are the people elected capable of governing Iraq at this time? Without 150,000 U.S. soldiers? Or even with them?"

        You know, probably not. I don't know the makeup of the newly-elected body (well, the projected makeup since they've just started counting ballots), or how many low-level Baathists it includes. Those guys know how to run a country, at least. So, who knows. Probably only a handful in this country outside of a few experts in Mideast policy.

        The right was so concerned with their positive propaganda, and the left so concerned with their negative naysaying, that in large measure no one on either side actually knows more than either "freedom is on the march" or "it's a mess." Perhaps that's what I feel so strongly about, that thanks to both dogmatic and polarized propaganda from both sides and a research-based job that doesn't leave me much energy for extra research indulgences, my ignorance as to what's going on in Iraq besides "freedom" and/or "death" is astounding. I feel that Dkos should inform people about more than the latest slogan or evidence whittled or filtered to fit that slogan. That said, fuck if I pay the bills around here so what I want is meaningless and I understand that. If I had more time to research I'd do diaries (short-lived, no doubt) about the more arcane, less tear-stained, "our prayers are with them," blood and guts stuff, but I don't have said time. So.

        "Success?"

        I'll tackle your "first" opinion last. This election was an almost unmitigated success. The dozen or so car bombings and such, and the depressed Sunni turnout, obviously "mitigate" things somewhat. But overall even I, who was optimistic about how things would turn out, was pleasantly surprised. I think I already have said that, and I don't understand why people are so quick to qualify that success to the degree they're attempting to except as a defensive mechanism against being proven wrong or Bush being proven right.

        But this wasn't Bush's success. No matter how many times he talks about the "success" or how great it is that Iraq has held elections, this isn't HIS. he doesn't own it. Iraqi elections, and the nascent Iraqi democracy will not succeed because of Bush (obviously it will or won't in spite of him), and I think tons on the left think that he does own it, or that this is the perception. While it may be the perception, I don't care. Bush can't take away the glory from the millions of Iraqi's who voted today by mentioning it ad nauseum in his SOTU address, and John Kerry can't persuade me to rescind a portion my happiness by saying we shouldn't "overhype" the success. Screw John Kerry for saying that, btw. Left or right in America we shouldn't get credit or glory for either success, the unhyped partial success, or prescient predictions of doom in Iraq. They aren't America's. Ironically Bush's complete mangling of the Iraq situation means that Iraqi's own Iraq and it's successed and failures to an extent they wouldn't have if Bush had been competent. If Bush wants to take credit for success in Iraq, fine. But our response cannot be to poo-poo, qualify, or belittle that success, instead it must be to place the glory and credit clearly with the Iraqi's where it belongs. That's the rhetorical "judo" we need, and it's the right thing to do as well. Otherwise we're just bitter assholes saying "I told you so" until we've lost in '06.

        So with that being my mindset and my reaction to your opinions, I hope it's a little more clear why I can't comprehend the need to qualify or question the Iraqi's success today.

        Sorry this was so long.

        •  Pretty pictures (none)
          until a functioning government occurs.  This ain't forwarding that IMO - only the U.S. can provide security. Who's the government?  We are.

          "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

          by Armando on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:48:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Why asking that question anyway? (none)
    The "success" of this elections is determined by whom they voted for and what those, who have been voted into power, make out of it.

    I have nothing but respect for those who had the guts to vote despite the danger to get killed and may be it's up to us to respect the freedom of choice for those, who called for a "boycott" of the elections. People should have the freedom to not vote as well, if it is out of political reasons, and not out by fear.

    There is no way to have ANY respect for those who want to prevent the elections from taking place by firing upon the voters and killing those who want to protect them.  

    So whatever "unsuccessful" and "flawed" and "violently opposed" the elections might have been, it's time that will tell, if it was a success for the Iraqi population to gain more freedom, fairness, justice and democracy in their lives.

    Human life should be governed by truth, freedom, justice and love.

    by mimi on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:48:28 AM PST

    •  There is an answer to your question! (none)
      It is based in the logic that a democracy only works when all or most of the potential governed agree to peacefully compromise their real goals in favor of a peaceful society.  You cannot bring about, hold, or otherwise make happen a meaningful democratic process when there is no history and no realistic signs that large groups of the potentially governable will abide by this premise.

      Why the heck are so few Amereicans able to see this??? Geez!  Has anyone living in reality seen any sign that large groups of the potnetially governable in Irawq have made this compromise????????????????

      Political censorship is the root of all evil! It is the antithesis to a functional democracy!!

      by truthbetold on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:59:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I guess you didn't get what I meant to say (none)
        "It is based in the logic that a democracy only works when all or most of the potential governed agree to peacefully compromise their real goals in favor of a peaceful society."

        Where did I say that I doubt that statement? But it's a natural thing that the Iraqis themselves will have to fight among themselves as long as the decide all by themselves to peacefully compromise on their own.

        No army in the world can "protect" the Iraqi population from themselves and their own struggles.  

        I don't understand what you read into my comment. It's way too early to ask the question if the election have been a "success". How do you define "success" in this context?

        Human life should be governed by truth, freedom, justice and love.

        by mimi on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:22:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There can be no excuse for our actions (none)
          I don't understand what you read into my comment.

          I feel certain that without the necessary compromises being made BEFOREHAND by the power parties in a country to peacefully abide by election results, that forcing a sham election on people is the same as talking to them in a foreign langauge.  Nothing logical can come as result of it.  The deaths we caused by being there both to Iraqis and to our troops cannot be justified by this sham ending, so there is no definition of success.  History and logic guarantee this election won't provide anything close to democracy!! We blew it going down this sham route.  

          Now to answer you specific question.  When the author of this thread asked his question, I assume he is being facetious to begin with because there can be no success in Iraq for America due to the faulty path we have followed.

          Political censorship is the root of all evil! It is the antithesis to a functional democracy!!

          by truthbetold on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:44:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  well, I understand now what you mean (none)
            "History and logic guarantee this election won't provide anything close to democracy!!"

            Why are you so sure? Make examples, why you believe it with such a certainty. Of course the elections can't provide "Democracy" by itself and alone, but without elections you can't even start to try to build and implement a democratic system.

            So, actually I think it might be the opposite. May be the people that got voted into power today are actually the most legitimate representatives that Iraq ever had so far.  

            And I don't excuse anything about the way Bush "talked in and tricked out the US population" to agree with his war plans, nor do I excuse the extreme recklessness of how they went about it. More so, I will never excuse all the Congressmen, who never voiced critical opposition to the new Bush war doctrines, nor opposed his dangerously reckless expressions of his foreign policies ideas. Nor do I excuse the TV broadcasters for functioning as enablers for Bush's war against terror propaganda as excuse for anything Bush wanted to shove down the US population's throat.

            I am happy because apparently Iraqi women turned out to vote in high numbers. Common sense needs of "making a living" made those women to defy violence by insurgents despite their fears.

            I am just happy: this is the reason.

            Human life should be governed by truth, freedom, justice and love.

            by mimi on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 12:29:40 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Consequences matter (none)
              Why are you so sure? Make examples, why you believe it with such a certainty.

              There are great historical reasons why only "strongmen" (like Saddam) have been able to  keep this artificial country created by the British together.  We have done nothing to deal with those historical issues, and our head in the sand approach, a sham election, cannot work as if there was no history to this situation.  It does not work like that on planet earth.  Look at the histories of India/Pakistan, and Yugoslavia as soon as the yoke of strongmen fell.

              I always told my kids when they were growing up that to make mistakes is human, but you have to not make the fatal ones!  If Bush was only sending musicians to Iraq to try and teach them to enjoy western music, and if the only negative consequences would be that the musicains would come home with bad feelings if they failed, that is an okay mistake in judgement to make.  However sending in US troops for reasons that turned out to be falsified, and having at least 1400 of them killed along with many more thousands of Iraqis cannot be ever thought of as a success whether a sham election allows us to leave now or we are forced out in several more years, which is inevitable as I believe history shows!.  

              Finally, talking about Iraqi women! Think of all those Iraqi woman mothers of the thousands we have killed that must hate us now with such a passion I shudder to think of it!  Can Democracy really take root in a country that has faced such atrocities just because one of the perpetrators of some of these atrocies says to have an election?  What about the real underlying basic problems between the religious groups in this country.  Just what have we done to realistically try and deal with these root causes.  Name me one thing?

              Political censorship is the root of all evil! It is the antithesis to a functional democracy!!

              by truthbetold on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 12:58:48 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oh, of course I agree with almost all points you (none)
                made, but on the following note I am not that pessimistic.

                "Can Democracy really take root in a country that has faced such atrocities just because one of the perpetrators of some of these atrocies says to have an election?  What about the real underlying basic problems between the religious groups in this country.  Just what have we done to realistically try and deal with these root causes.  Name me one thing?"

                No, I can't name and don't want to name one thing. There is not one thing I could name.

                But I don't think it is "our" problems to try and deal with the root problems of Iraq, as long as they are related to ethnic or religious conflicts among Iraqi population groups or caused through imperial policies decades ago. We can't change anything about that today.

                I am very sure that the Iraqi want to solve their root problems by themselves first, before they want them to get resolved by others. If their root problems were caused by (imperialist) economic reasons related to global trade and global "corporate fascism" (uuh, I can't believe I took over this expression), it would be different. But hey, I don't know everything about their "root problems" and what they perceive their "root problems" is not clear to me at all.

                But the reaction of the Iraqi wanting to build their democratic system by themselves is a basic human reaction of people everywhere in the world. Have you ever seen any country, which didn't want "the Ami" to leave? Because they felt "ashamed" for "needing help" from the Americans and because they felt ripped off their "dignity" and appalled that the US "intervened in their national affairs"? I think it would be nice, if the Americans could not only understand those reactions, but also would respect them more.

                And what you say about the Iraqi mothers, who have lost kids and family members due to the US war invasion, think about all the German mothers after WWII. Don't you think they could have "hated the Americans, because they killed their sons, who were soldiers in WWII"?

                Well, it didn't happen. I haven't heard much about "hating the Americans" after WWII, because they have killed thousands of German mother's sons during the war. I have heard much more about "hating Americans" because of their "cultural and economical imperialism" (hmm, I don't know if this is the right term) in our times than I heard about hating American for being defeated and killed during the atrocities of combat warfare.

                There is a conscience about who has the true moral justification to fight in a war among the population. Even if that is never expressed openly, people know, who has good intentions and who has not. It was absolutely clear for Germans to accept that the deaths caused by Americans killing their sons in combat, were unavoidable, considering that the Germans were the first aggressors, oppressors and mass murderers.  

                And I am pretty sure, an Iraqi mother makes similar comparisons, and my hope is that in the end they find the American troops less "murderous" than the "insurgent troops" or "Saddam's Bathist henchmen". They know who had more humane and civil intentions. So, even if their sons might have been caught in the middle of the mess and got killed, you don't start hating the Americans automatically. Now, let's say, I hope that being the case, but I really don't know it.

                For example the Russians were not hated by the Germans for the deaths they caused in combat against the German soldiers, they were hated because they raped women after victory and destroyed senselessly property after having defeated the Germans.

                So, don't worry about Iraqi mothers hating Americans for a long time. I doubt it somehow.  The  more of a calm reconstruction of the country is going on and the earlier that happens the less they are hated.

                Actually I think the solution would be to really have international troops to help the Iraqi to fight their terrorists, if they needed and wanted it.

                It would be time for Europeans and the UN to show some teeth and get involved.

                Though Bush hasn't deserved to be helped. But that might not really be of any relevance.

                Human life should be governed by truth, freedom, justice and love.

                by mimi on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 03:39:23 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  I feel sorry... (none)
    for the Iraqi people. Bravely, they have voted, wanting to savor a little taste of freedom and democracy. But they've been played. The freedom and democracy they crave is not anywhere to be found. And won't be for a long, long time.

    They will remain an occupied country, a modern day version of Vichy France, with Allawi playing the role of Henri-Phillipe Petain with G.W. Bush as Adolph Hitler.

  •  Election is partial (none)
    The election had two stages: writing a constitution and choosing local governments. If there is good turnout in the local elections those governments might be successful. As far as writing a constitution, the Sunnis have to be brought in somehow. I have no idea what kind of Sunni turnout there was.
  •  To Gloat or Not to Gloat (4.00)
    I made the point yesterday that, no matter how profoundly putrid and un-American the Bush Administration is, you have to respect people who are willing to stand in a crossfire of bullets, just to vote.  It is appalling that so many of us in this country just cant get up off our asses, and get away from the latest news about Ben & Jennifer, or Brad & Jennifer, or who is wearing what gown, or away from the latte at the nearby Starbucks, to go vote, and to persuade others to do the same.

    I agree with Armando that this Administration has no fucking clue, or if they do, they are the most cynical and dishonest sons of bitches God ever put on this green earth.

  •  Wait and see (4.00)
    We were made aware in advance that this weekend would see a massive move on the media to spin the results of the Iraq election.

    This is happening and we appear to be responding to it as if what we are hearing is a reality.

    In order to show our humanity we are rushing to qualify any questioning of events in our posts by talking of the brave Iraqi people voting. I don't criticise that, nor diminish the strength of purpose of those going to the polling stations.  I do feel it needs moderating by inserting some reality into the media spin.

    Of course there will be a huge turnout by the Kurds in the North - this will fulfill their ambitions for a semi-independent state and the possible acquisition to it of valuable Kabul oilfields.

    Of course the minority religous Shia group in the centre of Iraq will turn out massively in the polls to vote for a government that will give them ruling power after the trade-offs with the Kurds.

    So the only real test is how many of the minority religous groups will vote - and indications from the news media on this are not good.

    The test of an election is exactly as Armando says: it is not that it takes place but that it produces a stable government. The predictions that this will be achieved only by huge military and police state enforcement, first by the US and only eventually by the Iraqi themselves, appears to be the prediction of most commentators on both the left and the right.

    Even then, then test of this whole adventure is at what cost has progress been obtained and was there a better way?

    If I have an impatience with this thread it is that it seems too concentrated on the question of "What is the matter with you liberals, do you want the electon to fail?". It is like the question "What is wrong with you liberals, don't you believe that Iraq is better off without Saddam Hussein?" Neither of these questions have any intellectual honesty in the way that they are presented or in the context of the profound disagreements which we have with the invasion of Iraq.
     

  •  WHAT NATIONS SHOULD WE INVADE NEXT? (none)
    READ THE STORY AT SUBURBANNOMAD.BLOGSPOT.COM
  •  Agreed. (4.00)
    This Election is simply, in my estimation, an exercise in pretty pictures.

    You are right.  This is not about gloating; this is not about being correct.  This is about not allowing the Bush administration to continue to lower standards, invent new war justifications, and somehow paint this chaotic and ill-conceived fiasco as legitimate.  By not allowing such, we are making sure that it doesn't happen again.  Iraq is only one portion of the fantastical neoconservative scheme to reshape the world to become more hospitable to American financial and cultural domination.  We need to ensure that it is the only portion of this plan that neocon-infused GOP administrations and legislatures ever try to put into effect.  Thank you for your bravery Armando; I'm with you in a refusal to drink the kool-aid and thus avoid the ugly reality of these times.

  •  How can Iraq elect officials who have not (none)
    campaigned?

    And Bush is coming out to gloat before the votes have even been counted.

    To thine own self be true - W.S.

    by Agathena on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:00:36 AM PST

    •  Given (none)
      what a circus of money and platitudes our campaigns are, I kind of like the idea of a no-campaign election.

      In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

      by a gilas girl on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:33:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There was a circus of money (none)
        One, who arrived here as sovereignty was being transferred in June, referred to the Americans who oversaw the 15 months of formal occupation as "the illusionists," and cites as an example the $750 million of American money that the occupation chief, L. Paul Bremer III, set aside to finance a democracy training program, as well as elections. In one case, the money has financed a Muslim cleric who runs a "democracy center" in Hilla, a city south of Baghdad where Americans cannot move without heavy armor."
        New York Times, today

        To thine own self be true - W.S.

        by Agathena on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:53:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The Economist, Jan 29th (none)
    Some quotes from "Special Report: Iraq's Election"

    American troops. . . now number 150,000 out of an allied total of 175,300,

    In the last four months of last year, around 1,300 Iraqi policemen were killed, compared with 750 in the first nine months of the year; some 1,500 recruits have been killed, nearly 800 of them in a four week period towards the end of last year.

    Moreover, the current relative calm among Shia Arabs could be illusory. The notion that all but four provinces are safe [note guarded acceptance of Repub lie] is false. Armed gangs and a vast criminal underworld hold sway in many parts of the country. . .

    The main plan is to beef up the home-grown Iraqi forces. . . This, within the next few years, is a false hope. The Iraqi forces are utterly feeble. At present, only some 5,000 of them are a match for the insurgents; perhaps as many as 12,000 are fairly self-sufficient. Most of the rest are unmotivated, ill-equipped, prone to desertion, and even ready to switch sides.

    Nothing is certain--except that much more blood will be shed, and even more if Iraq's Sunni Arabs continue to feel disenfranchised.

  •  Bush was forced to have these elections (none)
    Of course these elections are a good thing.  Sistani forced them on Bremer last winter with mass protests of over 100,000 people. The initial proposal was that apppointed local councils would elect a national assembly. Sistani said no, it has to be one-person-one-vote.

    Wisely, Bush Co. started embracing the one-person-one-vote elections after it became clear the Shia would explode if he didn't. (read Juan Cole's archives for background)

    However, if turnout is at 60%  , not counting two major provinces that boycotted, then it probably is less than 50%. The Sunni are now an entrenched resistance, and the country can't function without them.

  •  Will Iraqis accept election results? (none)
    My predictions and interpretation:

    The winners will accept the results, and the losers will call the election a sham.

    The effect will be to harden positions and drive Iraqis apart -- one more step toward civil war.

    Fomenting civil war serves U.S. interests, which are:

    • Prevent Iraqi factions from coming together to oppose the occupation.
    • Prolong the violence and the domestic "political capital" it brings to the GOP.
    • Justify the ongoing occupation and the long-term use of the military bases currently under construction.

    By these criteria, yes, the elections have been a "success."

    •  I doubt that - that might have passed already (none)
      actually I think that in their heart the Bush administration hopes that the Iraqi call the US officially to retreat from their territory and I bet they will comply. There have been so many little expressions, that slipped into Bush and Rice's comments. It sounds nicer, like "we are guests in Iraq" and "as long as they want us there", if "they ask us to leave, we will certainly consider their wishes" etc. There is definitely a change in tone for the last couple of weeks. And the only reason I can find for this to happen is that Bush wants the troops out of there as soon as possible, he just won't say so.

      Human life should be governed by truth, freedom, justice and love.

      by mimi on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 02:21:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Consider the stakes. (none)
        If the U.S. pulls out of Iraq, progressive and nationalist forces will inevitably gain power, either by election or force. What does that mean for the U.S.?

        • Giving up billions of dollars invested in building permanent military bases over the past year.
        • Giving up the entire neocon program to dominate the Middle East.
        • Giving up the control of mideast oil and the leverage that provides over Europe, Japan, and China.
        • Giving up the illusion of U.S. military supremacy and providing inspiration to rebel movements in U.S.-dominated countries around the globe.

        I'd like to think they'll quit, but I think we have a ways to go to achieve it.

        •  I understand but (none)
          I don't see enough political will to go through with it by the Bush administration. May be it's just wishful thinking or interpreting something in little changes of language I realized taking place by Rice and Bush. I just don't believe they have the stamina to stay through a second Vietnam-style conflict. Let's say I hope they are just too lazy to continue burden themselves with years of guerilla warfare.

          No, I think they must withdraw soon, especially if the violence continues. People will say the violence is a direct consequence of US troops presence and if the population thinks that, the Americans will be hated. In the end I believe the population wants the terror and destruction to stop and they don't care anymore how it is brought to a stop. They will accept any strongman, if it doesn't stop.

          I can't imagine the Americans staying for longer than a couple of months. Then they must go. They will never be able to prevent the terrorist from attacking at will one day and suicide bomber at a time.

          I am confused, because I really liked to see the vote going on and considered it "a good day", the first good day since the war started. And I can't believe the Iraqi would just give up on their first openings to build a democratic constitution, just because the US troops would leave "early".

          Human life should be governed by truth, freedom, justice and love.

          by mimi on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:54:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Freedom (none)
    ....the doubting Thomas`s have been left mumbling among themselves..one picture is worth a thousand words..http://hammorabi.blogspot.com/
    •  Savor it (none)
      I think it only fair that you get the chance to gloat for a few days. After all, the war apologists have had a pretty dismal two years in which nothing has gone right. Savor this brief victory for the Iraqi people and for the war hawks because the worst may be ahead for the US and for them.

      And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall -- Dylan

      by Rp on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:24:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Best propaganda pic since Saddam's statue (none)
      being pulled down. Or perhaps the one with the flight suit and the "mission accomplished" banner.

      Could you find those "pictures worth a thousand words" and post them as well?

      Thanks.

    •  It's propaganda, I'm afraid. (none)
      It might be nice if that blog represented anything like a common outlook in Iraq, but it does not. Time and again, polls show that an increasing majority opposes the Coalition's presence. Increasing support is seen for a strongman or a theocrat -- anyone who can restore security to the country. Even among those who realize that the occupation is the only current buffer against civil war, Bush is widely despised. And no amount of cheerleading conceals the fact that Coalition casualties have been on the rise, and that journalists can no longer leave the Green Zone to independently report on the state of the country -- reporting good news or bad.

      I'd draw your attention to one particular line...

      "Our thanks go to George W Bush who will enter the history as the leader of the freedom and democracy in the recent history! He and his people are our friends for ever!"

      Sad to say, these are not Iraqi words. These are words written for Americans, and probably by Americans. I too hold out hope that the Iraqis will decide to control their future through cooperation and reconstruction, rather than oppression and destruction. But they won't do it while singing the praises of George W. Bush and flinging roses at our feet. They shouldn't, because their future is their own. And the longer we try to pretend that this is not the case, the harder it is for us to become engaged with the real Iraqis and help them find a real path to freedom.

      We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are. - Anaïs Nin

      by Valentine on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:31:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Pull my finger (none)
      to find out what this 'election' smells like to me.
  •  dissolve the Iraqi people (none)
    I'm reminded this morning of an article earlier this month posted on the Labour Friends of Iraq site:

    http://www.labourfriendsofiraq.org.uk/archives/000181.html

    Now, having been shown to be too excited about and supportive of this election, even in the face of impressive death threats from fascist death cults, the Iraqi people clearly need to be dissolved and another elected, so the Western left won't be in this awkward situation of deriding a country's democratic choosing of its own government after decades of totalitarian oppression, and refusing to admit that anything progressive may have occured. Because really, the current situation is embarassing, comrades.

  •  Hope for the best, prepare for the worst (4.00)
    It's important to recognize good fortune as well as bad. So far, the news from this election is good.

    Democrats will appear wisest if we celebrate the resilience and will of the Iraqi people, even as we stay alert for stories that contradict the "official news" and refuse to back down from the assertion that the war has been mismanaged from the beginning. We are not here to argue that the Republicans do the worst possible job of running our country -- only that they do a shockingly bad job of running our country. Above all, we must not play into Condi's assertion that every non-catastrophic historical outcome justifies any means used to secure it.

    So far, the elections have proceeded without much bloodshed, and with greater turnout than anticipated. Together, these factors might encourage Iraqis to stay engaged with the political process. If this leads to a general conviction that the insurgency is contained and unsustainable, and that Iraqis are courageous and committed to democracy, this might lead to a very different future than one in which the elections proceeded with terrible bloodshed and no significant turnout.

    True, at this moment, Iraq is still headed for civil war. But preparing for the worst does us no good if we don't also hope for the best. Only through adaptability and integrity can we demonstrate that we're better custodians of America than the Republicans. If we can only successfully portray ourselves as the "clean-up party," then we'll only be elected after incompetent Republicans have squandered America's energy and hope. Time and again, we'll patch the leaky ship only so that another drunken neoconservative can ram it back into the rocks.

    Though we may rightly focus on damage control in Iraq, we also have to plot a course -- terrifying though it may be -- that leads from Iraq's miserable, Bush-whacked present to a better future. America loved Bill Clinton because he didn't just promise to fix things, he wanted to make them better than ever.

    We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are. - Anaïs Nin

    by Valentine on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:13:48 AM PST

    •  Without a massacre that was feared (none)
      but not without violence.

      There have been mortar attacks and suicide bombings in Baghdad but you won't see any coverage of that on CNN.

      To thine own self be true - W.S.

      by Agathena on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:32:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Very true... (none)
        I've found one interesting list of today's attacks, over at the Counterterrorism Blog. Here's a link to the entry in question.

        Their last update has the death toll at 35-45 people... I am sure it has climbed since then. Not bloodless, by any means. I was expecting higher double-digits than that, but I also thought I might be way off base, and that truly horrible things might happen today. It turns out that the insurgency was unable to deliver a knockout punch in the face of intense single-day security -- and this has been the case so far, that the insurgents haven't been able to directly confront American forces on predictable battlefields with any success.

        As more reports roll in, it seems likely that the insurgent-led boycott of the election was partially successful -- there are definitely places where voting is not taking place, and it will be near-impossible to impose the will of the elected government on those areas without force. A plan needs to be developed ASAP to bring those regions into the government at a later date -- special elections for a different class of representatives? The Iraqis must do ANYTHING to keep the door open to the Sunnis, and to those who hate both the insurgents and the Americans, for as long as possible.

        The non-participation of Sunnis and insurgents in this election must not become a rationale for a bloody Shiite-initiated purge in the future. In truth, it is the Sunnis who are most likely to bring genocide upon their own heads through their dispossessed paranoia  -- and it would be very easy for the Bush Administration to turn a blind eye to a purge of the Sunni areas until there is nothing left to save.

        Ironically, it may be the insurgents and their grudging supporters whom we'll most need to protect in the future, from a quasi-dictatorial Shiite government that might decide to crush its opposition while America is compelled by political circumstances to look the other way. Similar problems in the Kurdish territories also have the potential to spiral into a full-fledged civil war that would be utterly bereft of idealized "good guys."

        We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are. - Anaïs Nin

        by Valentine on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 12:11:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for the excellent link (none)
          Reading your comments, I was overcome with deja vu.

          Similar things were said and written after Gulf War I about the population of Iraq. Cheney himself gave an analysis similar to yours as late as 1996 as an apologia for not going into Baghdad in 1991.

          The same ethnic and religious divisions remain today. The population has changed in that most of the middle-class have fled and many Iraqis have been killed, wounded, embittered by the US occupation.

          Today, the images of Iraq voter line-ups showed mostly women in black burqas which portends a theocracy in Iraq. The call to vote today and yesterday was issued from the minarets after the call to prayer. oh oh

          To thine own self be true - W.S.

          by Agathena on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 03:45:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Not just "success"... (none)
    a "resounding success."

    That's what Bush says.

    If the people lead, the leaders will follow.

    by Georgia Logothetis on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:15:56 AM PST

  •  Armando is fundamentally wrong (none)
    about the most important point.  I do not mean to denigrate the rest of his excellent post or the many excellent comments he gives on these pages.

    In writing

    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.

    The 150,000 US troops do not create security.  The American troops and the American War of Aggression they respresent are the primary cause of insecurity.  The combat we see here is between American occupying forces and American mercenary rent-an-Iraqi forces who are happy to take our money so long as they do not have to fight, and, on the other side, to call them what they really are, Iraqi Freedom Fighters, fighting for the freedom of their country from the bootheels of a foreign occupier, namely us, paid for with our tax dollars.

    So long as there are American troops on the ground in Iraq there will be Iraqi patriots ready to attack them, and to fund and supply young men and women who are willing to do so.

    Also, the list of casualties we see is usually incomplete twice.  First, in counting those who have actually died and been injured in our service, the dead and wound who were Iraqi police and National Guard are not being counted.

    Second, in the count of losses the cases of mass desertion are being ignored.  For example, in Mosul we had 8000 Iraqi police.  It now seems that when the fighting started there all 8000 of them deserted.

    I do believe that if the new Iraqi government invites us to leave soon and we agree that the attacks on Iraqi forces may diminish appreciably.

    •  I have to agree (none)
      any similarity between this imperial excercise and a real election is entirely coincidental.

      http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?sf=2813&art_id=vn20050130113139150C501681&click_id=2813

      'What a bloody charade'

      By Robert Fisk

      Baghdad - In Baghdad on Saturday they were supposed to be preparing for an election. But they were preparing for war.

      The American Bradley armoured vehicles on the streets, the United States foot patrols, the old Russian personnel carriers that Saddam Hussein bought on the cheap from the Soviet Union - now dressed up in the dull camouflage paint of the new Iraqi army - the hooded and masked policemen: they do not look like the prelude to an experiment in democracy. They are all waiting for the rivers of blood of which insurgents have warned. But there will be democracy in Iraq.

      The mortars rained down yesterday morning on the Green Zone where the US and British embassies are located, a "thumpety-thump-thump" that brought the American Apache choppers over the surrounding highways in less than 30 seconds - but the insurgents had disappeared.

      Then a fierce gun battle broke out in the very centre of Baghdad between Americans and insurgents. Too late again. The gunmen got away. Fantasy attacks before a fantasy election. Many Iraqis do not know the names of the candidates, let alone their policies.

      The media boys and girls will be expected to play along
      But there will be democracy in Iraq.

      The media boys and girls will be expected to play along with this. "Transition of power", says the hourly logo on CNN's live coverage of the election, though the poll is for a parliament to write a constitution, and the men who will form a majority within it will have no power.

      They have no control over their own oil, no authority over the streets of Baghdad, let alone the rest of the country, no workable army or loyal police force. Their only power is that of the American military and its 150 000 soldiers whom we could all see on the main intersections of Baghdad yesterday.

    •  Excellent Point (none)
      I agree 100% with this.  A lot of people see Iraq and see a "mess".  Others look at it and see the US forces generating the mess.  Since the Iraqis seemed to have done so well on their election, wouldn't it make sense now to get out of there and let them deal with it?  Bush doesn't want this.  He wants to stay for several more years (at least up to the mid-term, maybe an October '06 withdrawal announcment) and keep the money flowing in there to his buds.  So the administration will likely be tooting this loudly: "its a small step on a long road to freedom".  This is bullshit, and the evidence is clear.  Iraq's freedom depends on the US being gone.
    •  Fair enough (none)
      However, security for the Shiites and Kurds is provided by the U.S.

      "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

      by Armando on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 12:14:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The beauty of the pics was destroyed... (none)
      by the glaring links next to them...

      namely:

      Rush Limbaugh
      No Oil for Pacifists
      No To Political Islam
      Al-Jazeera Against Kurds
      Babes for Bush
      Bill O'Reilly
      Bush's Plan for A Free Cuba
      F*ck France
      Farenhype 9/11
      Fox News Channel
      GOP
      GOPUSA
      Heritage Foundation
      Neocon News
      No Left Turns
      Right Wing News
      Right Wingin'-it
      Right Thinking From the Left Coast
      Links to Republican Senators from Texas
      The Conservative Crust
      That Liberal Media
      Young Conservatives of Texas

      The more I thought about how those pictures represented a budding democracy in Iraq, the more the site reminded me that our own democracy here needs some tending to.

      You had some other good links too, though, to be fair.

      If the people lead, the leaders will follow.

      by Georgia Logothetis on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:17:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Visual images are indeed powerful (none)
      That is why Bushco and the Corporate right controls the visual cable TV media in the US.

      And why they are the only ones allowed to take  pictures in locked-down Iraq on Elecion Day.

  •  Punctuation! (none)
    I don't care who thinks this is petty, but you don't need (and can't use) a colon after a question mark.

    WongoBoy's from here, but his buddy blogs at FarrFeed.

    by WongoBoy on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:35:37 AM PST

  •  Election in Hell (none)
      The whole Iraq thing just pisses me off. I can't stand too even hear the name anymore. I felt the same way about Vietnam after a few yrs. The problem with the ASSwipes that run our Gov't is their not big enough people to admit they have fucked up royally. Instead , these criminals will throw away thousands upon thousands of human lives to justify their blunder. I hate them and wish them nothing but a seat at an Int'l court as defendants.
       As for the so called election if only the GOP and Bu$hCo cared as much about letting people here vote honestly. Democracy is a farce with this gang in power. The electronic voting system in this country the model of a perfect way to destroy democracy not sustain it. Like all of Bu$h's Orwellian program, when he says Democracy he really means Dictatorship and when he says Freedom he means Slavery.

                 IGNORANCE is STRENGTH

                  DEATH to EAST ASIA!!!!
     

    •  yes Iraq used paper ballots (none)
      You are so right, the election will probably be more fair anod not rigged in Iraq. They are not using electronic voting machines but paper ballots instead. If only voting had been this reliable in Ohio and Florida.
      •  Return to paper (none)
        We need to return to paper. I'd feel alot safer if ballots were counted by hand in public under the scrutinity of video cameras then in secret in some big Corp. war room where the owners and their GOP (neo-fascist) allies can simply change any results they don't like. It's ironic that Irq now has a better democracy then we have atleast technically.
  •  I am sure Bush in his State of the Union (none)
    I am sure Bush in his State of the Union Address on Wednesday ( ugh) will spend a great deal of gloating and taking all the credit for the Iraqi elections.
    In all reality, I give credit to the brave Iraqi people who risked life and limb to get out and vote.
    I give credit to the high security maintained throughout Iraq and to our troops.
    I rejoice with the Iraqi people for this historic landmark of voting for the first time in 50 plus years and exercising their right to vote. But Bush deserves little credit as he was not there working in the region to make this happen.
  •  WHAT NATION SHOULD WE INVADE NEXT? (none)
  •  Abject failure (none)
    Well it is pretty obvious that the people of Iraq have absolutely no interest in this democracy idea were forcing down their throats.  When only 60% of the people are willing to risk life and limb to go vote, it is clear that Teddy Kennedy is right.  We should bring the troops home immediately.
    •  30% turnout, that's half what you state (none)
      and yes, Senator Kennedy is right, the troops should be brought home as soon as the new Iraqi government is established. Go home, send money, game over.

      To thine own self be true - W.S.

      by Agathena on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:17:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Would be a lot more impressive (none)
      if the brave Iraqis were capable of holding elections without massive foreign security forces.

      Or even get thru a day without massive foreign security forces.

      Until that happens, the fat lady ain't sung yet.  Let's hold our applause til the play is truly over.

  •  Prediction (none)
    At the end we will see that the only election that Iraqis themselves will deem a success is one that has no US involvement.
  •  30% turnout CNN (none)
    Jane Aquba (ph) just reported that the turnout was
    30% of the electorate and that under the conditions that was a great turnout.

    I agree, and also note that the 72% figure given before was a gross exaggeration.

    To thine own self be true - W.S.

    by Agathena on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:12:46 AM PST

  •  success (none)
    i think that in this case we should all be greatful that more iraqis werent slaughtered in an attempt to vote.

    even though i still dont support the world its a life-changing event we are witnessing and we should be happy for the iraqi people because for the first time in a reallllly long time they have the oppertunity to change their destiny.

  •  I take a long term view (none)
    whatever happens to US policy in the region, at least these people, and the Afghanis, will have this moment to point to. Its a building block...that will always be there, regardless of what happens in the interim.
    •  building block or poisoning the well (none)
      of democracy.

      they've had elections before in iraq.  a long time ago.

      just cause iraqis voted today/yesterday doesn't mean they're convinced they're not being fucked with.

      lord knows they've been fucked with before.

  •  who counts the votes? (none)
    how do they decide who wins?  
  •  There is a chance (none)
    Although the pre-canned spin is so intense right now that we won't know for awhile.

    It depends on our actions.  If this is a beginning of a process that leads to a real expression of popular will, it could capture the nationalistic impulse.  It depends on what we do.  We have to resist the urge to meddle.  To try to jigger the process to lead to an outcome that we are comfortable with.  

    If we try to manipulate this process to assure the creation of a client state it will blow up in our faces.  We have to be willing to accept a state that may embrace values and alliances that we are uncomfortable with.  If we can manage that, there is hope.  If not, we will have blown the last chance we have to avoid defeat.  

  •  In the Background (none)

    Look in the background of this picture and what do you see?  A soldier.

    Remember when there weren't supposed to be any soldiers at the Iraqi polling places for fear it would intimidate voters?

    I remember:

    But General Metz said US troops would not be stationed near polling places. Iraqi security forces will be responsible for guarding voters, he said.
  •  Hope and Wait (none)
    Why ask success?  Right now?  Let the voters speak for themselves, let the process speak for itself.  Look at the relative security under which the process took place.

    Can't we just cross our fingers and look on with hope and maybe even wonder at the stoic devotion of the Iraqi people?

    Understand that this act of democracy might ask us to turn our previously held opinions on their heads.

    Let's wait and see and hope.

    •  Because (none)
      hope is not a plan.  I think you describe Bush policy.  I find that incompetent and irresponsible.

      "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

      by Armando on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 12:12:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If we were able to leave tonight (none)
      then my previously held views would be happily turned on their head.  But we cannot leave tonight - we cannot leave tomorrow, or next month, and probably not this year.  So what is different???

      I keep waiting for someone to ask one of the neocons, "Where the hell is Osama bin Laden???  Why haven't we attacked Saudi Arabia, home to 15 of the 19 hijackers???"

      The disparity between spin and reality is really disturbing me, and I cannot understand why 45% of the American people cannot see it.  They are blinded by ignorance.

  •  I can guarantee one thing (none)
    Iraqi "democracy" won't be what any of us expects or maybe even suspects.

    "No. I'm pretty fuckin' far from OK."

    by moltar on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:55:59 AM PST

  •  Turnout greater than expected, (none)
    CNN keeps repeating this. Just how low was that bar?

    To thine own self be true - W.S.

    by Agathena on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 12:05:14 PM PST

    •  Honestly? (none)
      I don't think there was a bar. I think that, with the intense media blitz on this subject, CNN was barraged by so many sources saying "turnout greater than expected!" that no real comparison of turnout-to-expectations has taken place.

      Frankly, whose expectations are we talking about here? The Bush Administration has always, always, always shrouded its own "expectations" in deepest mystery. All we are supposed to perceive is that it very soberly sets its expectations at a reasonable level (using no real-world benchmarks), and is pleasantly surprised that it consistently exceeds those expectations (using no real-world benchmarks).

      Personally, I expected at least one or two spectacular attacks from the insurgents -- so in that respect my own expectations have been exceeded. But those expectations were probably more deeply irrational and un-benchmarkable than anything the Bushies have offered. Christ, I hope we elect an Administration that believes facts exist in 2008. How's that for "lowering the bar?" :/

      We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are. - Anaïs Nin

      by Valentine on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 12:55:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Excellent comment! (none)
        There were several attacks from insurgents, suicide bombings in Baghdad and mortar attacks elsewhere, civilians 24, troops (?) but if the White House bar was set at 1,000, why that number of casualties is "much lower than expectations."

        You would have to get that sad news from foreign services. Not that you or I would revel in that news(as the right wing is suggesting) but it is indicative of the tight censorship that controls the American media.

        When we hear the same talking point over and over, it's obvious propaganda but do the announcers have to gush over it too?

        To thine own self be true - W.S.

        by Agathena on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 01:22:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I hate to sound ominous (none)
    actually, I don't mind it.

    The thought of what might happen when the US removes the overwhelming security that protected this election, just made me shudder. Pachachi in Iraq just mentioned this on CNN. His cautious dialogue contrasts starkly with the breathless exhuberance of Wolf Blitzer.

    I just ordered CNN on my cable thinking it was under new improved management. It's still a propaganda machine, but it is in transition.

    To thine own self be true - W.S.

    by Agathena on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 12:16:32 PM PST

  •  two questions (none)
    1. How did Chalabi suddenly become a respectable person again? CNN/Wolf Blitzer and pundits are talking about him possibly becoming the Iraqi prime minister.

    2. What can we expect from a new Iraqi constitution? I'd like to see someone do a diary about this.
  •  my take (4.00)
    I've read most of the comments above, and tend to place myself with the "cautiously pessimistic" part of the group.  My evaluation:

    1. The dictated tone of the day in newsrooms will be "wow, what an unexpected triumph; Bush defeats his naysayers once again"

    2. Anyone (especially with media prominence) who suggests the evidence is not all in, that we need to get fuller information, will be dismissed as one so wrapped up in Bush-hating that he can't root for America or freedom

    3. As details dribble in, we'll find that the reports from today were overstated; that turnout didn't quite match the oversized claims; and that the Sunni abstentions remain a serious problem

    4. Within weeks, it will be clear that the insurgency hasn't been affected one iota, and Iraq will remain the tar-baby it is today

    Coverage of the Bush administration is completely predictable: it's the Bizarro version of the Clinton administration.  Under Clinton, the first day of any major development (usually a "scandal") would be reported as horrific, the end of his reign.  As time went on, it would be clear those initial evaluations were nonsense.  With Bush, the news is viewed through the most rose-colored glasses imaginable; every turn in the road is the beginning of the rapture.  Quickly, we find out those evaluations were also nonsense.

    The one constant in the two is: the wingnuts continue to hold to the initial evaluations as if they're revealed truth.

    •  demtom's take (none)
      demtom, in reference to your "evaluation"

      1.  The "dictated tone" will be the first time many newsrooms have captured the full truth in one of their stories in years.

      2.  I've never read a better warning of the dangers of bush-hating.  Hate of any kind destroys the haters, not the hated.  You guys should get therapy, get over it, and go do something positive to help your party.  You're destroying it with your hate.

      3. I wouldn't count on it.  

      4. If I print our your message, and coat it with chocolate, then "within weeks", when you're summarily proven wrong, if I send it to you, will you have the class to eat it?  Or, perhaps you could dispose of it more appropriately if I smeared it with vaseline...
      •  Wait ... (none)
        So the opposite of hate is what Bush and the fascists are doing?

        Ah yes, they're just oooooozing love and kindliness.

        With that love and kindliness having now resulted in how many tens of thousands --- or is that hundreds of thousands --- of innocent Iraqis dead? The complete devastation of a country [looked at the figures of Fallujah lately?] --- the stripping of the bill of rights? The raping of Social Security to pay for BushCo's screwups and gets a little more moolah to his banker friends?

        Need I go on?

      •  wow (none)
        dicebucket, what an impressive, point-by-point rebuttal. I believe you left out "Nyeah-nyeah" and "so's your old man".

        One thing I should have added to the list of things that happen whenever news breaks for Bush: trolls show up in huge numbers at Dem web-sites.  It's the rare day when they can claim with regard to Iraq "we're not 100% wrong", so they swoop in and flood with posts, before they can be banned.

        Re: your contention that the press hasn't engaged in group-think before, please enlighten me about all the dissent/skepticism expressed the day the statue was toppled...or Mission Accomlished was declared...or Saddam was captured (Howard Dean was roasted for the now plainly correct observation that it didn't make us any safer).

        I have to say, though, I was impressed by Peter Jenning's maintaining a rational tone tonight (esp. compared to supposed left-winger Dan Rather, who gushed and gushed).

        Yeah, dicebucket -- end with that nice "you must be a faggot" imagery.  It sure sits nicely against your contention that we need therapy for our "hate".

    •  my take too (none)
      I'm impressed by the initial estimates of voter turnout, but they are only initial estimates, and they are only overall estimates as well.

      Time will tell if this election was a real success, but I'm afraid I already know what time is going to say.

    •  I think #3 is happening (none)
      MSNBC.com only mentioned later in the day that Sunni participation was low, but left that out during the day, and might not even have it up there now. Brian Williams seems to have his head on straight, saying that all kinds of reports are coming in and if exit polls in the US are misleading you can only imagine what they are like in Iraq.

      The last thing this country needs is two Republican parties.-Ted Kennedy

      by jj32 on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 02:49:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  hypocritical positioning (none)
    On one hand, we demand and rant about fair US elections and about the principle of democracy and yet on the other, many hope for failure of the same principles in Iraq?  

    I hate the war, the policies, the whole thing.  But I would actually like to see a democratic model in Iraq work.  I believe it to be in our interest in the long term and it may be the only way to instigate revolution in other autocratic states.

    Time will tell if this was a success.  I wouldn't go out and declare another "mission accomplished" yet (opps, too late) but I am encouraged to see some form of Iraqi self-rule.  

  •  Al Jazeera reports... (none)
    some officials are backtracking from a 72% turnout figure. I think it is going to be very difficult, at least at first, since the press is highly influenced by the occupying forces, shall we say, to get a close to accurate account.

    I admire in a way Iraqis who were willing to risk life and limb to vote, but I would also say I support those who took care of themselves and stayed out of harm's way.

    •  Notable quote from Chalabi speaks volumes (none)
      From the above article:

      Chalabi confident

      Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress, which is part of the main Shia electoral slate, said he was confident that nine million Iraqis had voted, with turnout significant even in Sunni areas.

      He said United Iraqi Alliance monitors estimated turnout exceeding 50% in Salahadin province, the mostly Sunni home region of ousted president Saddam Hussein.

      "The lack of preparations in the north is hurting
      my party"

      Mosul candidate Mishan al-Jibury

      "Millions of people created their own security and showed that they are more potent than terrorists," Chalabi said.

      Turnout has been also overwhelming in Iraqi Kurdistan, Foreign Minister Hushiyar Zibari, who is a Kurd, said.

      "The turnout in Kurdistan is huge," he told Al-Arabiya television. "There is a rush for the Kurdish people to guarantee their representation in the National Assembly."

      Sounds like a Chalabi-Kurdish coalition is in the making, to "March toward (but never quite reach) Democracy in Iraq".

      Would Bushco have second thoughts about backing Chalabi, a convicted (en absentia) embezzler of 200 million dollars, as "democratically elected leader or Iraq?  

      •  I'm not confident... (none)
        of any reports regarding the vote right now. Anyone fool enough to have confidence in Chalabi...wonder what riverbend would have to say about this.

        Would love to hear her take on the election though.

        It's difficult for me to get excited about this "democracy" in the making. I know that some Iraqis want to believe in democracy in their homeland. I don't think there ever will be, really, until we leave.

        Their country has been bought and sold, and they better watch out for the rampant privatization going on there now.

        This is democracy at the point of a gun. The real test is going to be what happens when our guns leave.

        But really, they'll have a country to rebuild, from scratch. Hopefull they will kick out our  leech contractors also, or anyone else who has profited from this war. By by. don't let the door hit you in the...

  •  Iraqi elections here? (none)
    With apologies to bloggers who may have mentioned this issue - I skimmed past some of the entries.

    I am just curious about how many polling places there were in the U.S. when Ukraine had its elections.  Russia?  France?  Canada?  

    My own cynical prediction is that a HUGE part of the 'success' of the Iraqi elections will be counting in all the residents of this country who voted.  And my oh my, didn't they risk their skins?

    •  interesting... (none)
      I read somewhere that the turn out among Iraqis in the US was surprisingly low. Still, it will be interesting to see what percentage of the total votes were cast from outside of Iraq.
  •  I know (none)
    and history is full of examples where specific votes produced the worst results possible. Still, I have to think that the exercise in self-determination, as shown in these pictures of individual Iraquis placing a ballot in a box, is something that will stick with them for the long term, regardless of what comes next. And considering all that they've been through, that's reason enough to call this a good day!
  •  Let me see... (none)
    ...60% voter participation (higher than the 57% on Nov. 2 2004, makes me sick).  

    Kurds are 15% of the population and they had 110% participation.  Reports of large numbers of Turkish Kurds going to Kurdistan (yes it is coming and I support their drive for their own country in principle) so realy lets say 15% Kurds in overall voting population.  

    This leaves 45%.  Let's say that 65% of Shias voted (remember Muqtada Al Sadr's people and some other Shias are probably not voting).  Since Shias make up 60% of the eligible voters that means that of the remaining 45% (after subtracting the Kurds)  39% are Shias.    

    5% of the population is made up of Turkomens, Christians and other ethnic and religious groups.  Let's say 60% of these voted.  Thats another 3%.
    39+3= 41.

    4% left for Sunnis.

    Since Sunnis represent 20% of the population, it means that 80% of the Sunnis did not vote.

    Am I on to something here?

    Dailykos.com; an oasis of truth.

    by Shockwave on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 02:54:57 PM PST

    •  Yes. You are missing one point (none)
      (or rather incorrectly assuming that) 'Mucky Sadr's people have boycotted the election. He has bided his time and kept a low profile since last May when Bushco came after him in  Najaf/Karbala/Sadr City, and tended to his base to get out the vote.

      My guess Sadr people voted with  the parties aligned to Sistani's (65% of Shias). Adding Sadr's to Sistani's votes = ~85% of total Iraqi Shi'ites in same [religion-centered anti-occupation] coalition.

      This size majority would make this bloc a awesome winner in a fair and honest election.

      But Bushco is NOT about let that happen!

    •  Can you give me sources? (none)
      I'm interested in your claim that Turkish Kurds have been slipping across the border to vote: mainly because my Kurdish pal Z was on the phone Friday night saying how important it was for him to vote to counteract the huge numbers of Iranian Shi'a crossing into Iraq to influence the poll. I like to annoy him so could you give me your source?

      According to Z, the ex-pat voting was one huge celebration and very moving; I haven't the heart to be negative in the face of his enthusiasm and pride. So I'm waiting for the actual results before I start guessing. And I'm hoping for the best.

      •  Source on Turkish Kurds voting in Iraq (none)
        Galloise and not Gauloise? Interesting.

        Here you can read this;

        In Turkey polling went smoothly in Istanbul and Ankara, although exiled Turkmen Iraqis were angry because thousands of Kurds based in Turkey were allowed to vote in Kirkuk, in Iraq.

        Dailykos.com; an oasis of truth.

        by Shockwave on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 10:00:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Galloise (none)
          I'm welsh and female i.e. galloise, and I live in Paris. And I'm blonde. And an ex-smoker. It all makes sense if you know me.

          Thanks for the info; but I don't know how much credence to place with the source given, the Iraqi Turkoman Front? This group gets its funding from Ankara scroll down to recommedation 2 and I think Turkey wants to stir the shit here which they have been doing all week. According to this blog "the Kurdish-Turkmen-Arab Brotherhood list of Kirkuk seems to have won the majority of the voters according to Hawlati, a Kurdish newspaper"; I hope this is as good an omen as it sounds in terms of a peaceful solution to the Kirkuk situation.

  •  Happy for the Iraqis (none)
    Today I will just make a positive comment about the election... I am glad that so many Iraqis had the courage to go out there and vote despite the threat of violence.  And I'm glad for our soldiers who were able to keep the situation somewhat non-apocalyptic on this day.

    I voted for John Kerry and all I got was this lousy sticker...

    by diplomatic on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 03:10:51 PM PST

  •  Two prospectives, two headlines, one letter off: (none)
  •  more difficult questions (none)
    what defines a "successful" vote?

    to what extent will the results be subject to corruption/manipulation? will an elected government be allowed to oppose US occupation policies or otherwise?

    does the act of voting = successful democracy?

    to what extent does the voting in iraq actually indicate discontent with the invasion/presence of US troops?

    will the elections, with their high shiite and kurd turnout, reverse the ethnic balance of power in iraq? will this elevate sectarian tensions?

    what is currently the purpose of US occupation forces in iraq?

    has the voting/installation of a "democracy" in iraq made the us/world/iraq safer?

    how long can a "democracy" last in iraq under current conditions? without the presence of us troops? does democracy mean independence for iraq, or make it less likely in the near future?

    most importantly of all: if iraq can be termed a democracy, does that automatically make it a better place? does it justify an invasion resulting in chaotic internal violence?

  •  Judith Miller (none)
    Beating the Chalabi drum on Hardball. Even Tweety couldn't believe that one. Something like "the guy who got us into Iraq is now in charge". Miller just shrugged it off.

    The fix was in.

     

    •  Beating my own Drum... (none)
      Here is what I said about most likely outcomes of this election here
      and here.
      •  I think it would have been much more effective... (none)
        if the various factions had organized a boycott of the election. We'll vote in our own elections thank you, not the ones you tell us to vote in.

        Just say no to democracy at the end of a gun barrel.

        Then with that "vote" against these sham elections, well, chalk it up as non-violent protest. Ghandi would have loved it.

         

        •  Someone upthread suggested that Sistani (none)
          armtwisted (using threat of Shia rebellion) Bushco puppets into going forward with election. I agree.

          IMO, the Sistani Shia et al. have been holding their people back from joining the Sunnis in rebellion so far, and got their base out bigtime to vote in this election.

          They know they have a sure win if election is run fairly.

          And if election is rigged and it doesn't go their way, they will go ape-shit and join the Sunnis in open rebellion.

          The only option bushco has at this point is some kind of real governmental power positions for the Sistani Shia groups. Bushco will try to load the Shia government with stealth puppet/ringers wherever possible, and work seduce/corrupt over to the Dark Side as many more of the Sistani bloc central leadership as they can achieve with money/power/blackmail/whatever works.

          I expect that Sistani et al. are wise enough to anticipate bushco plan, and have there own contingency plan ready to deal with it.

  •  Great Success (none)
    As a Liberal, I am proud of the election in a former fascist state. There was a greater percent voting then in this recent election..and all we had to do was wait in a line.
    There are alot of things I am against in the present adminstration, but I am proud of what is happening in Iraq. I hope one day that this country will be a start of a "Free and Democratic" Middle East.  We need to start be more positive as Democrats and Liberals. Fifty years ago, many of my friends would have been angered by some of out negative and nationalistic view of the world. We as a party need to stand fro something and not always be so negative.  If we disagree come up with a better plan and better ideas.
    exam: Social Security - It will die if nothing is done - it has to be changed now. Right now it is a "ponsey" scheme. At some point  - in the near future there will not be enough workers to support the retirees...we need to do something before it is a crisis. Most young people feel they will never benefit from social security...we need to do something for our children.  Bush's plan may not be exactly right - but what is our plan.  Yo say that everything is fine for the next 20 years - is not good enough!!!
    I yearn for a positive view of the future.
    Give me hope, give me a leader with a vision...
    I did not see it in Kerry;
    H. Clinton is a shrewd politican  - going to the middle in order to appeal to the "red States"...
    ....I guess I miss a John Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey......
    ...I am just a dreamer...I can only hope.
    •  Is there a limit... (none)
      on the characters in a post now?
    •  Rethuglicken lite (none)
      Your wrong just becoming a party that is nothing more then a shadow of the rethugs will doom us. If we are to be an opposition party then let us be just that an opposition party. As for us being the so called moderates we already are. It's the rethugs that are the radicals not us. So, moving too the middle isn't necessary friend were already the middle. What we need to do is somehow get a much larger segment of the public too vote. Plus, we need to move away from using auditless computerized voting machines. These things are the absolute worst system possible. They put the power to change elections in the hands of the few. They are easily programmed to give a result or hacked to alter one. We need paper ballots that read in public under the cameras by non-party people not counted in secret by party hacks and their Corpratist allies. Under the presently evolving system we'll never win a Nat'l election again.
  •  HUGE TURNOUT! (none)
    I guess that gay amendment ballot question really worked!

    The Desert Fox News Channel, the most watched news channel in the Middle East!

  •  Things that make you go, hmmmm. (none)
    It seems al Jazeera has reported that concrete figure about election turnout are unknown.  At this point, it is all anecdotal.

    Story is on Buzzflash, now.

  •  A non-dogmatic look at electoral politics in Iraq (none)
  •  Listen to the MSM cheerleading... (none)
    We are spreading freedom in the world people! Don't you get it?

    Anyway, the euphoria is as high as I've seen it since the early days of the Irak invasion. It might take a few months before the media gets enough distance (or balls) to objectively describe what's going on.

    Seriously, a higher than expected number of people have participated in this election. Should we all hold hands and chant? Well maybe not so fast. Let's wait a few days to see who will be in power, what their plan for reconstruction is and what the new role of the US will be.

    "We have already failed. Staying in longer makes us fail worse." -Three star Lt. General William Odom (retired), former head of National Security Agency

    by FightOn on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 05:48:19 PM PST

  •  Why not Success? (none)
    The Sunni are fighting because they don't know how to live with the fact that they will be in the minority and will not control the government. If they weren't fools, they would be working hard to be included in the process, to make sure they are treated with respect in the new government, rather than reminding the Shi'ites and Kurds of how aweful they have been when they controlled the government.

    It looks as if the Kurds and Shi'ites have made a clear statement of commitment to civil government. The Sunnis don't seem to have been willing to play (depending on actual turnout among Sunnis, reports seem to vary), but they are looking at the fact that the rest of the country has made a major commitment to go with civil government and a constitutional democracy. The Sunnis have lost. Now, they have to decide whether to accept the loss and play in the next round, or try again to disrupt the process when they see that there is a strong vote for that process outside their area.

    As people have noted, Sunnis can lose a lot more by keeping the fighting going. They don't have the oil and they've lost the power, power that they brandished ruthlessly. They cannot face a united Shi'ite and Kurdish Iraq and expect to win. While a war in the Sunni triangle can go on for many years, the Sunnis can also be isolated and treated as pariahs while the rest of Iraq gets on with reconstruction, development and democracy. I expect to see some Sunni face-saving moves in the next month or so, but I don't expect everyone in the Sunni community to go along with them. Low level insurgency is likely to continue until the time of the next round of elections.

    A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. - Emerson

    by freelunch on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 06:43:27 PM PST

  •  A good day for America (none)
    Even if we got here bass-akwards and Bushco is wrong aout everything in sight, the world knows that something important happened today.  

    If history turns Bush right on this- and it still might- that does not make the whole war the right thing to do- it just means the absurd Bush luck held, and I think we should all hope for that, as much as it sucks to do that.

  •  To my mind, (none)
    the elections could be a smashing success in that Iraqis elected the finest constitution-drafting personnel imaginable and the most honest and wise governors the world has ever seen and still Bush's invasion will have been unconstitutional, immoral, and an impeachable offense. In addition, the change in Iraqi governance will have in no way made whole the thousands of dead and maimed.

    This is not a mexed missage.

    by CityofGod on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 07:36:49 PM PST

    •  obiously? (none)
      I think we all know that already...  Pounding this point home that the "war was a mistake" is almost like... saying that black is a dark color.

      I voted for John Kerry and all I got was this lousy sticker...

      by diplomatic on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 12:43:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  spelling edit: obviously (none)
        (posting at 12:45am....)

        Oh and my post was meant to be like agreeing with you that it doesn't change what you mentioned.

        But it's better than a total debacle of an election with 1000s of deaths that still wouldn't change the fact the war was a bad idea or bring back all the dead innocent people and soldiers...

        So given the two scenarios, I was hoping for a "good" election since that helps get us out of there quicker.

        I voted for John Kerry and all I got was this lousy sticker...

        by diplomatic on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 12:46:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Iraq vs. America (none)
    Is democracy in Iraq worth the price we've had to pay here? I don't think so. No offense to the Iraqis but, the loss of our own democracy isn't worth the price of a semi-democracy in Iraq to cover our invasion and plundering of that country and it's people and resources. Has it been worth the 1,400 American GI's? has it been worth the hundreds of billions in our tax dollars? I think not but we'll see soon enough. I particuliarly DO NOT believe what the so called mass media is spoon feeding us as regards what is going on inside  that country. The media has become nothing more then a cheerleading section for Bu$h and the GOP/Corp elite that owns and runs this country. We are  getting a 1 sided story from a biased media.
  •  The Illusion of Democracy in Action? (none)

       Let it be suggested that last Sunday's election in Iraq represented an end and a beginning --- an end to the Iraqi people being frozen out of the decisions affecting their lives.  And a beginning --- of "democracy" in the Arab Middle East, "democracy" being the best remedy to Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism.

       However, one election DOES NOT a "democracy" make!  As I see it, the question now is whether the Sunni minority and their positions on the vexing problems facing Iraq be incorporated within the government structure and enjoy a measure of "power," or whether it will become an "oppressed" underclass --- that could lead to a civil war.

       If I'm not mistaken, the elected officials who will make up the 275 member National Assembly will vote for a government to "run" Iraq while the legislature drafts a permanent constitution.  Then in October the Iraqi electorate will vote on a national referendum and then vote again in December for a "new" government under terms of the "new" constitution.

       I hope that the current administration in D.C. will not be permitted to work behind the scenes during this process to take the necessary steps to make Iraq an American protectorate.  Let it be suggested that during the constitution process --- the "neo-cons" at the White House might be tempted to use its power to force the Iraqis to accept a "rebirth" of the Platt Amendment (1901).  After Cuba was "liberated" as a result of the Spanish-American-Cuban War (1898), our government was successful in inserting the following provisions in the Cuban constitution --- * Cuba was NEVER to enter into any treaty that would impair its independence.  * Cuba WOULD NOT contract a debt beyond its ability to meet from "ordinary" revenues.  * The United States COULD intervene in the domestic affairs of Cuba to preserve its independence.  * The United States was permitted to establish a military base at Guantanamo in perpetuity.  I hope the Iraqi government DOES NOT have to acquiesce to similar demands.

       When we saw the joy of the Iraqis who were casting their first ballots --- We can't help but be reminded how easily far too many Americans take voting for granted.  A greater percentage of Iraqis risked death on Sunday to make their voices heard than typically risk taking the time to vote in the United States.  "We the people . . . " SHOULD NEVER take things for granted!

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