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(From the diaries -- kos)

[in case you haven't been keeping up with  developments in Vietnam from 40 years ago...]

U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote :
Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror

by Peter Grose, Special to the New York Times (9/4/1967: p. 2)

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3-- United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.

According to reports from Saigon, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday.  Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong.

The size of the popular vote and the inability of the Vietcong to destroy the election machinery were the two salient facts in a preliminary assessment of the nation election based on the incomplete returns reaching here.

Pending more detailed reports, neither the State Department nor the White House would comment on the balloting or the victory of the military candidates, Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Van Thieu, who was running for president, and Premier Nguyen Cao Ky, the candidate for vice president.

A successful election has long been seen as the keystone in President Johnson's policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam.  The election was the culmination of a constitutional development that began in January, 1966, to which President Johnson gave his personal commitment when he met Premier Ky and General Thieu, the chief of state, in Honolulu in February.

The purpose of the voting was to give legitimacy to the Saigon Government, which has been founded only on coups and power plays since November, 1963, when President Ngo Dinh Deim was overthrown by a military junta.

Few members of that junta are still around, most having been ousted or exiled in subsequent shifts of power.

Significance Not Diminished

The fact that the backing of the electorate has gone to the generals who have been ruling South Vietnam for the last two years does not, in the Administration's view, diminish the significance of the constitutional step that has been taken.

The hope here is that the new government will be able to maneuver with a confidence and legitimacy long lacking in South Vietnamese politics.  That hope could have been dashed either by a small turnout, indicating widespread scorn or a lack of interest in constitutional development, or by the Vietcong's disruption of the balloting.

American officials had hoped for an 80 per cent turnout.  That was the figure in the election in September for the Constituent Assembly.  Seventy-eight per cent of the registered voters went to the polls in elections for local officials last spring.

Before the results of the presidential election started to come in, the American officials warned that the turnout might be less than 80 per cent because the polling place would be open for two or three hours less than in the election a year ago.  The turnout  of 83 per cent was a welcome surprise.  The turnout in the 1964 United States Presidential election was 62 per cent.

Captured documents and interrogations indicated in the last week a serious concern among Vietcong leaders that a major effort would be required to render the election meaningless.  This effort has not succeeded, judging from the reports from Saigon.

NYT. 9/4/1967: p. 2.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 08:30 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  great little article (4.00)
    But you'd do yourself and everyone a service by either linking to the article itself or at least putting it in quotes. And contributing your own analysis -- even if it's kind of obvious.

    I recommended it anyway, because it's that valuable. But so it doesn't slip through the cracks, something a little extra might be advisable?

  •  Wow (4.00)
    Is this for real? I thought this was satire.  Wow. The parallels are eerie.  The voter turn-out, insurgents, 'election' of a US backed group, it all sounds so similar.

    I wasn;t even born when the Vietnam quagmire took place.  Let's see how many in the liberal media will even cite this in their reporting.

    •  what we've been saying (4.00)
      It IS eerie, but that's what some of us geezers have been saying for a long time here.  I can remember when asserting a parallel between Vietnam and Iraq was challenged across the board (usually elsewhere, not at Kos) as being oldthink, baby boomers trapped in their own narcissicistic view of historical forces, etc.; now, you'd have to be blind not to see them.

      Gulf of Tonkin, WMDs scare - that's where the parallels all begin.  Who knows where they will end?

      I am really heartened, though, that reading history like this does have an impact on people who couldn't know about it through personal experience.  Let's stop this insanity, together.

      •  Not just Vietnam (4.00)
        I saw "Battle of Algiers" recently (and recommend it).  The French actually wiped out the last remaining revolutionary "cell" and thought they'd won.  They were forced out of the country a couple years later.
        •  That's a great film (none)
          Every Kossite - everyone - should see it. It too has stunning parallels to today's events.
          •  i was not alive during vietnam (none)
            so thank you EXTREMELY much for this article & film.

            i saw the high turnout & began to doubt myself.  maybe i was on the wrong side with iraq.  maybe it really was worth the american, iraqi, "alliance" deaths (over 1,400 + 100,000 + ??? = a lot of grieving families, widows, orphans, future & current insurgents & hatred of the US & us).

            some people really are doomed to repeat history.

            guess that's why we call it a "reality-based" site.  thanks for giving me the facts.  seriously.

            •  Right vs Wrong (none)
              I had similar thoughts yesterday.

              I was happy for the iraqi people, however the US government used trumped up lies about WMD's to rush us into this war, and now they've done a sleight of hand trick to make everyone think we were fighting for Iraqi freedom all along out of the goodness of our heart. That's a load of crap.

              While I fault President Bush for lying to the Amirican people, I do think we have to see this through now. We bombed and broke their ruling system, so we should be responsible for fixing it.

              Most of the time we use a country for our purposes then leave it in smoldering ruin and chaos. For once we're living up to our responsibility.

              We need the Dems to hold Bush's feet to the flames though and speed up the Iraqi troop training and start developing a long term exit strategy. It'll unfortunately be years, but we need a plan in place to know how to measure success. Senate Minority Leader Reid got that part right in his comments today.

              •  I'm trying to be clear on the parallels: (4.00)
                I've always believed that in Vietnam, we supported a corrupt gaggle of generals, people who had launched military coup after military coup, against a nationalist/communist revolution that had overwhelming sympathy among the people of Vietnam.  I've always believed that the South Vietnamese elections were rigged affairs that bore little relation to the feelings of the people, lacked support from anyone who had any power pre-dating or outside the French/US colonial venture.

                So for those of you drawing a parallel, what are you saying??  

                Are you saying that Thieu and Ky actually won a fair election with 80% of the people taking part, or are you saying that yesterday's vote was rigged and doesn't reflect anything in Iraqi public opinion?

                Are you saying that there WERE major figures in South Vietnam, with standing outside the neo-colonial regime, on a parallel with Ayatollah Sistani, who were demanding the 1967 elections, forcing a quick timeline for the elections, urging the Vietnamese to vote, and saying afterward that they were essentially fair?  Or are you saying that people in Iraq like Sistani are merely high-level pawns?

                Are you saying that there was a vast majority of South Vietnamese in 1967 simmering over the American troops and their tactics, but essentiallly opposed to a nationalist/communist takeover?  Or are you saying that the Shia and Kurds, against anything that I can find anywhere, sympathize overwhelmingly with the rebels the way I've always believed the Vietnamese people did?

                Those of you drawing close parallels between this disastrously implemented situation and our experience in Vietnam take a view of that country that is a lot closer to the Nixon/Johnson view than I can see fit to take.  I don't see too many parallels.  

                I believe the Bush administration has managed to create a very different sort of disaster in Iraq.  Through bungling (the failure to plan for post-war security), cynicism (the leadership gambits on expats like Chalabi and Pachachi) and corruption (the oil contracts), they've blown a situation in which it could have been much easier to establish a democracy.  I don't think most members of the administration really believe in the goal of democracy in Iraq, but I think they've been cornered (by the fact of Kurdish democracy and the force of Sistani) to hold a real election.  And I think we'd better figure out now how to outflank the administration in support of an Iraqi regime that is very likely to survive, even if it survives only in civil war with the small Sunni minority.  

                We should be calling for the right of the Iraqis to abrogate oil contracts.  We should be calling for investigation of administration business links to the expats who put together many of those contracts.  We should be urging the Shia to call for the departure of our troops.

                We should not be disparaging a democratic election.

                •  Agreed (none)
                  The parallels do not match up all the way.  In Vietnam, the "insurgents" (the Viet Cong) were much greater in number and had a whole half the country plus much of the other half rooting for them.  And they were led by a beloved leader, Ho Chi Minh.

                  The Iraqi insurgents do seem to be on the fringes and not supported by the majority of Iraqis.  The Viet Cong had a legitimate movement, a desire to reunify their country ... the Iraqi insurgents don't seem to have a political agenda other than getting our troops out and returning the Baathists to power (? .. maybe).

                  Much as I have misgivings about the actions of the Bush administration, for the sake of the Iraqi people I hope this democracy does take root.  They have suffered so much .. from Saddam and now from us.  I hope it works out.  But ... I'm taking a "wait and see" attitude.

                  •  no political agenda? ummm.... (none)
                    First, I'm not willing to bet on numbers just yet.  I think it's obvious that whatever the specific number of insurgents in Iraq, it clearly qualifies as 'too damn many' for anyone hoping to bring Iraq under U.S. control.

                    The insurgents are not supported by the majority of Iraqi's?  Maybe, but we shouldn't oversimplify.  A lot of people here in America 'support the troops', but that doesn't mean they're willing to lift a finger to dial their representatives and President and demand that they get body armour for the troops.  Further, 'not supporting the insurgents' does not mean 'supporting the U.S. occupation'.  Further still, any support of Iraqis for the U.S. occupation, it would seem to me, is tenuous at best - akin to my support for Kerry as the lesser of two evils in this last election.

                    The political agenda of the insurgents?  Just because they didn't lay out a plan for social security doesn't mean they don't have a political agenda, per se.  I'd say that their burning desire to remove a force of occupation from their country qualifies as about the strongest political goal any group could have.  Of course, removing the occupiers doesn't just stop the figurative raping of the country and the occassional literal raping of the population, the affects of such an achievement would be far-reaching.  Sometimes, a single issue is really the only one that matters in a campaign as a 'political agenda' - occupation is that issue right now for the insurgents.

                    It's funny how the U.S. press has so completely avoided telling us the platforms of all the politicians in the election.  It's the non-election election!  We haven't been told about all the politicians who promise to remove the U.S. if Iraqis elect them, and we haven't been told how many Communist Party members have been campaigning with U.S. tax dollars.  Bizarre - well, bizarre if you're paying attention and you don't buy into Chomsky's theories on power systems - otherwise, completely expected.

                    •  Um .. OK (none)
                      Further, 'not supporting the insurgents' does not mean 'supporting the U.S. occupation'.  Further still, any support of Iraqis for the U.S. occupation, it would seem to me, is tenuous at best - akin to my support for Kerry as the lesser of two evils in this last election.

                      Where did I say "not supporting the insurgents" equated to "supporting the U.S. occupation"?

                      I don't think the Iraqis support the U.S. occupation any more than they support the insurgents .. maybe less.  Please reread my comment.  I am just saying that I don't think you can equate Vietnam with Iraq in terms of Viet Cong vs. Iraqi insurgents.

                •  Fruit of the poisoned tree (4.00)
                  in both cases.  There was no case for intervention in Iraq once one got past WMD.  The United States does not have a legitimate right to overthrow sovereign governments that do not threaten it.  This is the bedrock of whatever degree of international stability we have.  The Neocons believe that the United States is so strong that it doesn't have to worry about the balance of power.  So did Hitler; so did Napoleon.  We know what happened to them.  It would be nice if democracy were established in Iraq; it would also be nice if the United States had a decent system of health care and social insurance for the poor.  There are a lot of nice things to want.  That doesn't make them doable.

                  The invasion of Iraq is the greatest disaster in American history since the ill-fated attempt to conquer Canada in 1812.  We got beat badly by the British.  And we survived.  We will survive getting beat in Iraq, too.  But what a waste.

              •  Whaddya mean "we," whiteman? (none)
                "We bombed and broke their ruling system, so we should be responsible for fixing it."

                If "we" is the Bush administration, think about the other definition of the word "fix".

                That's how the Bush administration will be "fixing" what they broke.

              •  Whaddya mean "we," white man? (none)
                "We bombed and broke their ruling system, so we should be responsible for fixing it."

                If "we" is the Bush administration, think about the other definition of the word "fix".

                That's how the Bush administration will be "fixing" what they broke.

              •  Have mercy, I have a bridge to sell (none)
                you in Brooklyn.  "Living up to our responsibility?"  Is that what you think is going on here?  Or maybe a set of elections was produced just in time to provide yet another "threshold moment" for an American public which has predictably started to become disenchanted with the war.  Do you really imagine for one minute that the Bush administration wants a self-determined Iraq?  Come on, now!!!  This is the same administration which wrote a speech for Allawi to present to the American public trumpeting Iraq's successes.  Here's a rule for ya: if any member of the Bush administration is talking, they are lying.
      •  The parallels will end (none)
        with Chalabi and Allawi clinging to the skids of the last helicopter to leave Baghdad ...

        "Funny, you don't look blueish."

        by old school lefty on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 08:45:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Don't know about that (none)
          This administration was willing to kill for something in the Middle East (PNAC, anyone?  Should be required reading for anyone hazarding an opinion on the Bush administration's motives).  I am extremely skeptical that these elections represent anything close to a self-determined Iraq.  The point of the neoconservative agenda in the Middle East is not self-determination.
          •  I dunno.. (none)
            Bush has to know that he's lost Iraq, and that Sistani had him cornered (don't forget that Bush was the one who opposed elections in the first place and Sistani forced them).  For these reasons, I doubt Bushco would even try to rig the elections.  What Bush really wants is: a) a way out while b) retaining the oil rights and military bases.  I'd be completely willing to believe that Bushco is naive enough to think that by allowing free and fair elections the Iraqis will be forever grateful to the Americans and satisfy the demands for (a) and (b) above (remember all that garbage about being welcomed as liberators?).  
            •  I think that (none)
              the greed of the Bush administration will override their innate incompetence and weird belief in the fantastical in this instance.  With oil on the line, I'm not sure at all that they will not do everything in their power to ensure that the Iraqi government is not illegitimately in the pockets of US special interests.  That is the whole motivation for this war, after all.

              From "Leap of Faith" by Queen Noor of Jordan:
              "Quotes George Bush Sr. as saying to her husband, 'I will not allow this little dictator [Saddam Hussein] to control 25 percent of the civilized world's oil.' Of course the key words here are 'the civilized world.'"

              Tell me that these elections, created and implemented by the Bush administration's neoconservative zealots, were designed to facilitate Iraqi self-determination and I'll tell you that I've got a nice bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

            •  I'm not sure (none)
              I'd be delighted to believe that.  I think there are folks at defense and state less naive than Bush.

              But I agree with much of your analysis.

              I'll state again that I hope Democrats begin supporting the right of Iraqis to self-determination, especially in regards to security and oil -- meaning their right to kick us out and their right to abrogate contracts entered into while under occupation.

              •  Amen, brother (none)
                This is exactly the line Democrats should be following - it is, after all, as close as to a moral argument as one will get in this den of iniquity.  Democrats grew up on creating and defending democracy; we have since (though not as badly as the Republicans) lost our way a bit.  I think if we react to the election too cynically, we run the risk of overestimating the power of George Bush and underestimating the power and savvy of the Iraqi religious leadership and obvious bravery of the Iraqi people.
                •  I think reacting (none)
                  to the Iraqi elections too hopefully is not only counterfactual with respect to the Bush administration's track record and motives for the Iraqi war, but would also open the door for more neoconservative forays in the Middle East.  Although I respect your opinion that cynicism won't be greeted warmly by much of the populace in the short run, I think that Democrats would be well served in the long run by engaging in a "truth first, truth only" campaign in which we vow to always disseminate the truth, no matter how ugly or unpopular.  Pounding home the message that the Bush administration's motives for the war had nothing to do with Iraqi self determination would be a good first step in such a "truth first" initiative.
            •  They were rigged (none)
              The registration list was the food ration card.  People were told that if they didn't vote, they wouldn't get their rations.
    •  Exactly. (none)
      And it makes perfect sense, as we are now being represented governmentally by a group of people who not only saw nothing wrong with the Vietnam engaging, but who can't bring themselves to believe that we lost in Vietnam...
    •  What US-backed group? (none)
      The alliance list widely believed to be the most popular (we'll know soon) is backed by Sistani, hardly a US-backed figure. This is not Thieu and his thugs.

      I won't go on, because Ne Plus Ultra, in one of the best things I've read on the elections yet, has already said it. See his comment, "I'm trying to be clear on the parallels" (below).

  •  That's (4.00)
    down right spooky.
  •  Near Perfect Irony (4.00)
    OH, what the hell--perfect irony.
  •  Deja vu all over again... (4.00)

    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 11:12:08 PM PST

    •  Deja who? (4.00)
      "Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it; those who fail to learn history correctly-why they are simply doomed."

      --Achem Dro'hm

      The polls don't tell us how a candidate is doing, they tell us how the media is doing.

      by Thumb on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 05:57:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  W is not for Wisdom (4.00)
        History doesn't matter because we'll all be dead - Bush to Bob Woodward

        I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take this anymore!

        by MarkinNC on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 07:40:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  As Warren Buffet likes to cite (4.00)
          Disraeli's observation: "What we learn from history is that  we do not learn from history."
          •  They think (none)
            that history is on their side.  They don't think that the US lost the Vietnam war; they think that the US will be able to shape the Middle East if they can just get that bothersome American public to look the other way at the scores of body bags this sort of illegitimate aggression produces.  Just look at the Project for a New American Century and it will all become clear...we are being led by lunatics who are so insane that they cannot come to grips with the fact that the Vietnam war wasn't conceded; it was lost.
            •  There's more and it gets worse (none)
              The Neocons believe that the world thinks the U.S. public can't sustain high casualties, and that this makes the U.S. weak in foreign eyes.  The solution is to have a lot of casualties that the American public can be persuaded to accept.  People haven't thought this through from a game-theoretic perspective.  I'm not claiming the Neocons were correct in supposing the American public would accept high casualties; only that their model implies high casualties as a 'signal' to potential enemies.  This was, of course, Hitler's view of the matter with respect to German casualties.
              •  Rand produced an article on the subject (none)

                "It is now an article of faith in political and media circles that the American public will no longer accept casualties in U.S. military operations, and that casualties inexorably lead to irresistible calls for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces. If true, this would not only call into question the credibility of the U.S. Armed Forces in deterring potential adversaries, but would be profoundly important in decisions concerning force structure, doctrine, and military campaign planning, as well as the nature of the country's broader foreign policy, including its alliances and other commitments."

      •  The deja vu is real (none)
        because our foreign policy is being directed by a group of people who don't think that we lost in Vietnam.  They think that the pansy populace led by that no-good, punk anti-war movement led Vietnam policy astray; they're not capable of learning from Vietnam, as they are so "divorced from reality" that they think that Vietnam was not the bloody, illegitimate fiasco that it was.
  •  great find! (none)
    I'm recommending, but danthrax is right. It would be great if you just added an introductory paragraph and ending.
  •  good find (none)
    At some point there's going to be a conflict with the Shia, who want us out, and the U.S. who wants to stay in.

    I hope to heck that Bush takes advantage of today, and makes a small reduction in forces as a sign of goodwill.

    •  I agree. But Ted Kennedy (none)
      suggested this, and Bush would never want anyone to think he's following the 2nd most liberal Senator from Massachusettes' advice.

      "The concentrating [of the legislative, executive and judicial powers] in the same hands is precisely the definition of despotic government." - Jefferson

      by El Payo on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 01:45:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And you see that is the only truth (4.00)
        to the statement that the Left wingers are loosing the war.  Once someone other than the administration comes up with an idea, then Bush will never do it.  So that eliminates most good paths to take.


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

        by jamie ahmad on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 04:40:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Bush? Goodwill?! n/t (none)

      "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

      by thingamabob on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 08:14:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wow! (none)
    Is this real?  If it is...damn, it's downright spooky!

    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 11:17:23 PM PST

  •  Obviously having election solves everything (4.00)

    Phil Bredesen for ME...oh wait I'll only be old enough to run for Congress.

    by FleetAdmiralJ on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:21:18 PM PST

  •  Trust, and verify (none)

    I recall getting burned by something too good to be true a few months back.

    I don't know about anyone else here, but I'm going to research this one on my own.

    I couldn't afford plane fare so I ate the exotic food.

    by cskendrick on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:22:04 PM PST

    •  Trust byt Verify??? (none)
      Dammit quit usuing the GOP talking points.

      "They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."- Benjamin Franklin

      by bluestateLIBertarian on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:27:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Trust but Verify! (none)
      You guys'll just have to look it up yourself -- either in a library or online through ProQuest Historical Newspapers
    •  It's Real, Believe Me (none)
      I remember reading stories exactly like it over 37 years ago.  Not only did most voters go to the polls, they voted for the US-backed Thieu/Ky ticket by a wide margin.  So many of these same people then assisted the VC and NVA in the preparations for the Tet Offensive either by actively helping them, or just keeping their mouths shut and doing nothing.  

      "L'enfer, c'est les autres." - Jean Paul Sartre, Huis Clos

      by JJB on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 05:42:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  An Iraqi "Tet Offensive" (none)
        may soon follow; like after the "election" results are known. Perhaps during the swearing-in of the new government. I find it very disturbing that some folks think this election will somehow begin to make things better; too much kool aid even here in dkos, really.

        There is one point in which I think the Viet Nam analogy breaks down; I believe that in Viet Nam the both the NVA and the various Viet Cong cells were all operating under the aegis of Hanoi and were fighting for a unified country, in Iraq the various insurgencies are at odds with each other often.

        What I find most interesting about the election is that in the Kurdish areas Arabs and Turkememen boycotted while the Kurds conducted a second, "non-binding", referendum on Independence and seem to have voted overwhelmingly for it...(from Juan Cole this morning.)

        Emancipate yourself from Mental Slavery, No one but ourselves can free our Minds.

        by TustonDAZ on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 06:37:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Turks Will Love That (none)
          What I find alarming is the loss of three aircraft the last 5 days, especially that British C-130.  Over at (currently having server problems and not accessible) they were listing the British dead as Killed By "Hostile fire (?)", and if that question mark gets removed is a very ominous development.  Three such incidents seems far too many to blame on mechanical problems or duststorms, especially when you consider that the Imperial Rule Compound American Embassy was hit by a rocket the other day.

          And don't forget people, those Shia voters were casting a ballot to set up a government that will demand that we leave.  

          "L'enfer, c'est les autres." - Jean Paul Sartre, Huis Clos

          by JJB on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 08:10:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  quibble (none)
            And don't forget people, those Shia voters were casting a ballot to set up a government that will demand that we leave.

            Yeah that's the logical conclusion, but logic has little relevance in the Iraqtrosphe.  Allawi and his Al Iraqiya are likely to win the largest single block and he's Bushco's boy.  I don't think they have any intention of giving up the planned 14 permanent bases that are part of the real reason this war was begun, but who knows?

            Emancipate yourself from Mental Slavery, No one but ourselves can free our Minds.

            by TustonDAZ on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 11:18:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Ain't it the truth. (none)
      Meanwhile, Bush and the neocons and their enablers in Congress shouldn't be burdened with "rehashing" (Kaye Bailey Hutchinson) the crap they used to get the US into this no-exit war.
  •  Well... (none)
    I found this...

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     U.S. ENCOURAGED BY VIETNAM VOTE; Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror  
    By PETER GROSE Special to The New York Times. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Sep 4, 1967. pg. 2, 1 pgs

    Document types:   article
    ISSN/ISBN:   03624331
    Text Word Count   521
    Document URL:    

    Abstract (Document Summary)
    WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.

    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 11:30:19 PM PST

  •  Found it...sort of (none)
    I searched the NYT archives on their site...and I found an article on that day by that person, with that title, and the same first paragraph, but one has to buy it to see the rest.

    Thats pretty close.

    Phil Bredesen for ME...oh wait I'll only be old enough to run for Congress.

    by FleetAdmiralJ on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:30:59 PM PST

    •  Here's a snippit from somewhere quoting thearticle (4.00)
      However, in the Dominican Republic in 1966 and Vietnam in 1967, where elections were U.S.-sponsored, U.S. media presented large voter turnout as a democratic triumph. The massive presence of U.S. and indigenous security forces was not seen as a coercive threat-despite considerable violence against the local population before or during the elections.
      In the case of Vietnam, the New York Times (9/4/67) claimed that the thousands of villagers who were "willing to risk participating in elections held by the Saigon regime" demonstrated the government's "popular support"; the editors emphasized that "most observers believe that on the whole the voting was fairly conducted." The exclusion of the main opposition, the National Liberation Front (along with all "neutralists"), and the presence of vast numbers of foreign troops, did not reduce the value of this election for the Times-here flawed elections were better than none.

      "Whoever controls the media, the images, controls the culture." - Allen Ginsberg

      by chi mai on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:32:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Appears to be authentic (none)
    I just did a search of the NYTimes database for that headline.  I can't see the full article without paying, but I can see that there is an article with that headline, by that author, with that first paragraph.  So it looks authentic to me.
  •  of course, we made sure there were no elections (none)
    in 1957 or so, which was supposed to be mandated from a geneva conference in 1954. I should check these dates, but in 1957 there weren't any elections because it was obvious Ho Chi Minh would have received over 80% of the vote. So we waited until we could hold elections on our terms and Ho's forces eventually prevailed over the corrupt authoritarian Vichy south.
  •  History also DOESN'T repeat itself... (3.50)
    Link to partial article (you have to pay to see the whole thing). So it seems legit.

    Yeah, I'll admit that's pretty damning stuff. I don't see how it means that we shouldn't be happy that Iraq's election went well too, though, and certainly doesn't excuse the Left's pessimistic posturing either morally or politically. I mean, history also DOESN'T repeat itself.

    We can't view this article as either "proof" that the successful election is somehow a meaningless pretty photo-op, nor that the Iraqi's don't deserve immense credit for what they've accomplished in spite of Bush. I mean, I think we can all agree this is a step forward and toward something better, not a step toward further quagmire or chaos, even if a chaotic quagmire is forthcoming. Even if the step forward turns out to be not enough to pull the country out of its tailspin, that doesn't mean it was a failure or deserving of belittlement or qualification, especially when the any consequences positive or negative of the step had yet to unfold. I still think what's happened today has been awe-inspiring, and I'm still /un/cautiously optimistic. I'm not going to use the past to kick Iraq in the political forum when they might be getting up, and it'd certainly be stupid, unidealistic, and unimaginative for any left-leaning politician to do so.

    But yeah, how about that article...

    •  yes it does (none)
      Those who can't remember the past are doomed to repeat it - Santayana.

      Being happy about the Iraq election is like being happy that we are going to have that money transferred from Nigeria any moment now.

    •  The lesson here is.... (none)
      That success, in the long view, is always hidden behind the veil of the present.

      Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness.

      by JimTXDem on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 03:04:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  How So? (4.00)
      "I mean, I think we can all agree this is a step forward and toward something better . . ."

      The Kurds voted for a future independent state, the Shia voted for a state they will dominate (as Juan Cole has pointed out, the first Shia-dominated Arab nation ever), the Sunni Arabs didn't vote.  Almost four dozen Iraqis were killed in various attacks, along with 2 US soldiers, and at least 10 Brits were killed in a plane crash that marks the third time in 5 days that aircraft have crashed with loss of life.  That's too many mechanical problems in too short a period of time, in my view.  Throw in the fact that the US embassy was hit by a rocket that killed two and wounded eight - the guerillas seem to have taken it up a notch, while we can barely hold onto our increasingly precarious position.  Think they can do that without the at least tacit assistance of a lot of the people who voted yesterday?

      BTW, it's worth pointing out that the government voted into office in September 1967 rather quickly evolved into a dictatorship pretty much like all the non-elected ones South Vietnam had in its very brief history.  One of its most striking qualities was the lack of concern it displayed towards the needs and wishes of its patron.  Say what you will about it, call it corrupt, clumsy, and brutal, the Thieu junta was anything but a puppet regime.  Fortunately for LBJ and Nixon, its main concern was with defeating the Communists, and there were actually people willing to risk their lives to do that and work with us towards that end.  Can the same be said for whatever government arises out of this election?  Assuming that one ever does.

      "L'enfer, c'est les autres." - Jean Paul Sartre, Huis Clos

      by JJB on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 06:09:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It now seems pretty clear that... (none)
        ...the British plane was shot down (there is a claim that insurgents shot it down as it was landing with an anti-tank rocket, and the British seem to agree that this is what happened, especially since it broke up in flight as opposed to staying intact until crashing, so the wreckage is scattered over a larger area instead of being in on place).  Haven't heard anything new about the two US helicopters that went down earlier.
        •  Special forces (none)
          In the British parliament questions are being asked about:
          the presence of SAS special forces on the plane
          the death of an Australian on the plane
          the presence of Americans on the plane

          If it was on a "black" mission do not expect too much to ever come out however

          •  It appears that the Australian was... (none)
            ...a member of the British air force (IE, he moved to Britian and joined the UK air force after establishing residency).  However, the mission of the plane was a bit sketchy, to say the least.
    •  Not that George Bush... (none)
      Has anything against democracy. Afterall, we have such a thriving democracy right here at home, Bush being elected, twice, and in a fair manner and all that.

      The spread of American democracy? Look out world, here it comes.

      I mean, I think we can all agree this is a step forward and toward something better, not a step toward further quagmire or chaos, even if a chaotic quagmire is forthcoming.

    •  Us being happy (none)
      Having lived through the Vietnam years, when teenage boys of my own family were conscripted and sent half-way round the world to be put in danger for another set of megalomaniacs aspirations of being glorious in history, I guess I'm just on another wavelength.

      Hardly any of us here would think for 2 seconds of joining the military and if our own children wanted to join up, we'd be bribing them out of it.  

  •  Thanks (none)
    I have an ever growing appreciation for history to provide some perspective and context to the events of today.

    Let's hope history doesn't repeat itself, but as the saying goes, if we don't know our history, we're doomed to repeat it.

    "I still think politics is about who's getting screwed and who's doing the screwing." -Molly Ivins

    by hono lulu on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:41:04 PM PST

  •  Nguyen Van Thieu (none)
    There was an election on September 3, 1967 per Wikipedia.

    =September 3, 1967 - National elections are held in South Vietnam. With 80 percent of eligible voters participating, Nguyen Van Thieu is elected president with Nguyen Cao Ky as his vice-president, the pair winning just 35 percent of the vote.

    That same day, a Marine Corps ammo depot and fuel dump at Dong Ha was destroyed by NVA artillery.

    The day before Task Force Oregon conducted operations to provide increased security for the Vietnamese elections.

    The facts of the case are there.

    I remain interested in policy expectations and media reaction at the time, however.

    I couldn't afford plane fare so I ate the exotic food.

    by cskendrick on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:41:20 PM PST

  •  a musical milestone (4.00)
    "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag," from Country Joe & the Fish, 1967:

    Yeah, come on all of you, big strong men,
    Uncle Sam needs your help again.
    He's got himself in a terrible jam
    Way down yonder in Vietnam
    So put down your books and pick up a gun,
    We're gonna have a whole lotta fun.

    And it's one, two, three,
    What are we fighting for ?
    Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
    Next stop is Vietnam;
    And it's five, six, seven,
    Open up the pearly gates,
    Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
    Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

    Well, come on generals, let's move fast;
    Your big chance has come at last.
    Gotta go out and get those reds --
    The only good commie is the one who's dead
    And you know that peace can only be won
    When we've blown 'em all to kingdom come.

    And it's one, two, three,
    What are we fighting for ?
    Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
    Next stop is Vietnam;
    And it's five, six, seven,
    Open up the pearly gates,
    Well there ain't no time to wonder why
    Whoopee! we're all gonna die.


    Well, come on Wall Street, don't move slow,
    Why man, this is war au-go-go.
    There's plenty good money to be made
    By supplying the Army with the tools of the trade,
    Just hope and pray that if they drop the bomb,
    They drop it on the Viet Cong.

    And it's one, two, three,
    What are we fighting for ?
    Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
    Next stop is Vietnam.
    And it's five, six, seven,
    Open up the pearly gates,
    Well there ain't no time to wonder why
    Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

    Well, come on mothers throughout the land,
    Pack your boys off to Vietnam.
    Come on fathers, don't hesitate,
    Send 'em off before it's too late.
    Be the first one on your block
    To have your boy come home in a box.

    And it's one, two, three
    What are we fighting for ?
    Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
    Next stop is Vietnam.
    And it's five, six, seven,
    Open up the pearly gates,
    Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
    Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

    Plus ca change . . .

    There's a nice-ninny priest/at tea in everyone,/all cozy and chatty as auntie,/but a saint comes/and throws rocks through the window. -- John Ciardi

    by Mnemosyne on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:43:35 PM PST

    •  I remember you, Mnemosyne :) (none)
      Actually, I don't...but I'll never get a chance to say that to someone who gets the joke ever again. :)

      I couldn't afford plane fare so I ate the exotic food.

      by cskendrick on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:48:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  update for that song... (4.00)
      only needs some minor tweaks...

      I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Again Rag," (with apologies to Country Joe & the Fish), for 2005:

       Yeah, come on all of you, poor, poor kids,
       Uncle Sam's policy is on the skids.
       He's acting like a 40 year old hack
       Way over yonder in old Iraq
       So put down your books and pick up a gun,
       We're gonna have a whole lotta fun.

       And it's one, two, three,
       Wasn't this about WMD?
       Don't ask me, I don't have a say
       Wave farewell to the USA;
       And it's five, six, seven,
       Open up the pearly gates,
       Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
       Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

       Well, come on Rummy, let's move fast;
       Your big chance has come at last.
       Gotta go out and get Saddam  --
       Before the country figures out it's a scam
       after we've looked for weapons in every hut
       East, West, North and South of Baghdad somewhat.

       And it's one, two, three,
       What happened to Osama?
       Don't ask me, I can't really see,
       Try asking the PNAC;
       And it's five, six, seven,
       Open up the pearly gates,
       Well there ain't no time to wonder why
       Whoopee! we're all gonna die.


       Well, come on Halliburton, don't move slow,
       Why man, this is war a-go-go.
       There's plenty good money to be made
       By supplying the Army with the tools of the trade,
       Just hope and pray that if they audit the books,
       You can blame it on the KBR cooks.

       And it's one, two, three,
       What are we fighting for ?
       Don't ask me, I don't give a damn
       Just tell me how Bush got out of Vietnam.
       And it's five, six, seven,
       Open up the pearly gates,
       Well there ain't no time to wonder why
       Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

       Well, come on mothers in Red States and Blue,
       That draft you're feeling wants your child too.
       Come on fathers, it's no time to rest,
       Send 'em off without a bulletproof vest.
       Be the first one on your block
       To have your kid come home in a box.

       And it's one, two, three
       What are we fighting for ?
       Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
       Next stop is Tehran.
       And it's five, six, seven,
       Open up the pearly gates,
       Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
       Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

      "The concentrating [of the legislative, executive and judicial powers] in the same hands is precisely the definition of despotic government." - Jefferson

      by El Payo on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 01:38:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Man, that is fantastic! (none)
        I'm saving that and will sing it. By the way whatever happened to Country Joe anyway? Hell, it may be time to dust off all those '60s protest songs . . . Phil Ochs's "Draft Dodger Rag," you could almost use that today without modification.
    •  Here's another one about Nixon (none)
      {The heaven's child part really strikes me as ironic}

      Everybody Loves Me Baby- Don McLean

      <SPOKEN>: One, two, three, four!

      Fortune has me well in hand, armies 'wait my command
      My gold lies in a foreign land buried deep beneath the sand
      The angels guide my ev'ry tread, my enemies are sick or dead
      But all the victories I've led haven't brought you to my bed

      You see, everybody loves me, baby, what's the matter with you?
      Won'tcha tell me what did I do to offend you?

      Now the purest race I've bred to be to live in my democracy
      And the highest human pedigree awaits the first-born boy baby
      And my face on ev'ry coin engraved, the anarchists are all enslaved
      My own flag is forever waved by the grateful people I have saved

      You see, everybody loves me, baby, what's the matter with you?
      Won'tcha tell me what did I do to offend you?

      Now, no man is beyond my claim when land is seized in the people's name
      By evil men who rob and maim, if war is hell, I'm not to blame!
      Why, you can't blame me, I'm Heaven's child, I'm the second son of Mary mild
      And I'm twice removed from Oscar Wilde, but he didn't mind, why, he just smiled

      Yes, and the ocean parts when I walk through, and the clouds dissolve and the sky turns blue
      I'm held in very great value by everyone I meet but you
      'cause I've used my talents as I could, I've done some bad, I've done some good
      I did a whole lot better than they thought I would so, c'mon and treat me like you should!

      Because everybody loves me, baby, what's the matter with you?
      Won'tcha tell me what did I do to offend you? <whoo, yeah!>

      Everybody loves me, baby, what's the matter with you?
      Won'tcha tell me what did I do to offend you?

      Yeah, everybody loves me, baby, what's the matter with you?
      Won'tcha tell me what did I do to offend you?

    •  As it was then and is now (none)
      And if you really want to hear how raw and simply we saw issues in those days, go to Country Joe's  Jukebox and play this song and Live in Peace.

      There never would be another Vietnam War, we said when we got the guys back home from that one. Like the First World War was the war that ended all wars.

      Sometimes all of this makes you feel tired, sometime it makes you feel sick. But most of the time it makes you feel both sick and tired.

      What the hell has all of this got to do with the one certainty which is that Spring is not far away, the earth is going to warm up gently enough for the new growth to start and the children will go outside and play all day.

      It has nothing to do with this fact, Mr Bush and Mr Blair. Get you solemn faces and announcements with their artificially contrived historic significance off my television screens. You are drowning out the birds singing and hiding the views of the trees beginning to throw off their deep sleep and preparing to blossom once again.

      •  The flowers that bloom in the spring . . . (none)
        Spring is not far away, the earth is going to warm up gently enough for the new growth to start

        A story in one of the London papers recently said that daffodils are starting to show there. The daffodils in this part of the other side of the Pond won't even produce green shoots for another three months, and when they do, I will welcome and cherish them. Particularly since I am very much afraid that, with the nutcase in the White House, this could well be the last time we see them.

        Now that Iraq is "solved, Iran is next and the only possible stop I see to those madmen is if the military rises up and says, No. Enough.

        But given the spineless performance of Colin Powell over the last four years, I don't hold out much hope for them, either.

        There's a nice-ninny priest/at tea in everyone,/all cozy and chatty as auntie,/but a saint comes/and throws rocks through the window. -- John Ciardi

        by Mnemosyne on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 10:03:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I actually saw them sing this... (none)
      at a "be-in" in a downtown park. Ah, those were the days.  Protests were actually fun and had good music too.

      Of course I was a mere child.  

      this is rumor control, news and analysis on the appalling mess we're in

      by quickiemart on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 05:31:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hear it now (none)
      For your listening pleasure:
    •  Another oldie and goodie: (none)
      This one is for the members of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders, Republican Guard:

      Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore
      © 1971 John Prine

      While digesting Reader's Digest
      In the back of a dirty book store,
      A plastic flag, with gum on the back,
      Fell out on the floor.
      Well, I picked it up and I ran outside
      Slapped it on my window shield,
      And if I could see old Betsy Ross
      I'd tell her how good I feel.

      But your flag decal won't get you
      Into Heaven any more.
      They're already overcrowded
      From your dirty little war.
      Now Jesus don't like killin'
      No matter what the reason's for,
      And your flag decal won't get you
      Into Heaven any more.

      Well, I went to the bank this morning
      And the cashier he said to me,
      "If you join the Christmas club
      We'll give you ten of them flags for free."
      Well, I didn't mess around a bit
      I took him up on what he said.
      And I stuck them stickers all over my car
      And one on my wife's forehead.

      Repeat Chorus:

      Well, I got my window shield so filled
      With flags I couldn't see.
      So, I ran the car upside a curb
      And right into a tree.
      By the time they got a doctor down
      I was already dead.
      And I'll never understand why the man
      Standing in the Pearly Gates said...

      "But your flag decal won't get you
      Into Heaven any more.
      We're already overcrowded
      From your dirty little war.
      Now Jesus don't like killin'
      No matter what the reason's for,
      And your flag decal won't get you
      Into Heaven any more."

      50% of Americans are below average.

      by badtux on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 01:17:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Unbelievable Parallel! (none)
    I for one am extremely happy that so many Iraquis voted after more than fifty years of suppression. Their courage should be admired. I am however discovering that this courage is being hi-jacked by the Bush Ad. and regurgitated by the MSM as a legitimate reason for waging this war in the first place. This article struck me as a bad omen. I felt happy today but uneasy. This article helps me understand why.
  •  More Positive Reaction to Elections in S. Vietnam (4.00)
    The 1967 election which brought Thieu to power was merely one in a series of elections in the "constitutional development" of South Vietnam which began a year earlier.

    The election of a "constituent assembly" which took place a year earlier was also welcomed by the White House as a "good sign".  The White House wasn't alone in its optimism.  An article by John W. Finney, entitled "Johnson Is Pleased by Turnout in Vietnam Voting" (NYT 9/13/1966: p.3) goes over the reaction by Senator Dirksen (R) of Illinois:

    The Senate Minority Leader, Everett McKinley Dirksen of Illinois, described the turnout as "a tonic" and said "it is an answer to those who believe that our faith in the Vietnamese and in their desire for self-determination has been fully vindicated."

    [Finney, John W. "Johnson Is Pleased by Turnout in Vietnam Voting". NYT 9/13/1966: p.3)]

    •  that's really the important point (4.00)
      for those seeking commentary on the article.  Well, in short, what seems to me the appropriate focus here is on the ready conflation of a 'people's will to self-determination' and the 'aims of the administration'.  Point being that the adminstration, then as now, is not concerned about the self-determination of the people.  Then as now, that's just a cover for attempts to forcibly integrate the social and economic life of said people into the corporate-dominated system.

      Pardon me for stating the obvious, but it seems important that we not forget that the election was only allowed to take place once the privatization of the country's public assests was firmly established.  It is only this privatized foundation that allows for the concordance between national self-determination and imperial ambition.  Every country within the imperial system can 'self-determine', so long as this doesn't run counter to the system of control.

      Greg Palast wrote an article a while back, on the privatization of Iraq.  

      One thing stood in the way of rewriting Iraq's laws and selling off Iraq's assets:  the Iraqis.  An insider working on the plans put it coldly:  "They have [Deputy Defense Secretary Paul] Wolfowitz coming out saying it's going to be a democratic country ... but we're going to do something that 99 percent of the people of Iraq wouldn't vote for."

      In this looming battle between what Iraqis wanted and what the Bush administration planned for them, the Iraqis had an unexpected ally, Gen. Jay Garner, the man appointed by our president just before the invasion as a kind of temporary Pasha to run the soon-to-be conquered nation.

      Garner's an old Iraq hand who performed the benevolent autocratic function in the Kurdish zone after the first Gulf War.  But in March 2003, the general made his big career mistake.  In Kuwait City, fresh off the plane from the United States, he promised Iraqis they would have free and fair elections as soon as Saddam was toppled, preferably within 90 days.

      Garner's 90-days-to-democracy pledge ran into a hard object:  The Economy Plan's 'Annex D.'  Disposing of a nation's oil industry--let alone redrafting trade and tax laws--can't be done in a weekend, nor in 90  days.  Annex D lays out a strict 360-day schedule for the free-market makeover of Iraq.  And there's the rub: It was simply inconceivable that any popularly elected government would let America write its laws and auction off the nation's crown jewel, its petroleum industry.

      Elections would have to wait. As lobbyist Norquist explained when I asked him about the Annex D timetable, "The right to trade, property rights, these things are not to be determined by some democratic election."  Our troops would simply have to stay in Mesopotamia a bit longer.

      Sweet are the uses of misery.

      by dreamsign on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 02:44:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  in fact (none)
        the managerial function of the election, almost forty years ago in Vietnam, is strongly implied in the article:

        The fact that the backing of the electorate has gone to the generals who have been ruling South Vietnam for the last two years does not, in the Administration's view, diminish the significance of the constitutional step that has been taken.

        The hope here is that the new government will be able to maneuver with a confidence and legitimacy long lacking in South Vietnamese politics.  That hope could have been dashed either by a small turnout, indicating widespread scorn or a lack of interest in constitutional development, or by the Vietcong's disruption of the balloting.

        The aim, in other words, is not to create a fully autonomous state, but rather an integrated client state capable of maneuvering with a veneer 'confidant legitimacy'.  The client state is offered relative autonomy, akin to the Janus-faced holon of Koestler's holarchy.

        but that'll have to wait...

        Sweet are the uses of misery.

        by dreamsign on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 09:16:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Then how about getting with the program? (3.50)
      We are here to help the Iraqis, because inside every hadji there is an American trying to get out. It's a hardball world, son. We've gotta keep our heads until this peace craze blows over.
  •  Tet Offensive Came Just 4 Months Later (4.00)
    Basically the article speaks for itself and a commentary is probably not necessary.

    That said, it's important to point out that this article came out in September 1967. A little over 4 months later, the Vietcong and North Vietnamese launched the Tet Offensive (1/31/1968).

    I'm not saying history repeats itself -- even in the way Marx said (i.e. first 'tragedy' then 'farce') but we've been treated to more than one "Mission Accomplished" moments concerning Iraq.  I just hope this isn't another one.

    •  And (none)
      And a couple months later (3/31/68) Lyndon Johnson announced he wouldn't seek reelection.
      •  And, 400 Americans were getting killed every month (4.00)
        More than 8,000 Americans had died by the point we tried to have an election in Vietnam.  All of Vietnam was in flames except for the large cities.  The rural folk of the country had overwhelmingly gone over to the revolution.  In fact, by 1963, 4 years before that election, some 40 percent of rural South Vietnam was already controlled by the communist/nationalists.  The leader of the communist/nationalists was the leader of a legitimate Vietnamese government with a substantial claim to the entire country.  Ho had pulled together a legitimate government all the way back in 1945, behind the retreating Japanese, only to be ousted by the allies.

        None of these things has a real parallel in today's Iraq.  Even in the wildest dreams of the most ardent anti-war people, nobody claims that the Sunni insurgency has a legitimate claim to rule Iraq.  There isn't even an Iraqi who has claimed leadership of the insurgency.  I am deeply skeptical of the administration's efforts to build Zarqawi into a boogieman, but there is no other leader who has claimed the mantle.

        I think that we need to be supporting the right of the incoming Iraqi government to thumb its nose at the Bush administration, rather than belittling its legitimacy.  The problem is Republican cynicism, not Iraqi democracy.

        •  You forgot to mention (4.00)
          Close to 400,000 troops already in the country and probably 12,000 deaths by the end of 1967.

          It's the easiest thing to find differences between the two.  Just as valid as that might be, are the similarities:  zero understanding of the country at hand, zero preparation, lies about the casus belli, lies about the true costs of the war, constant sightings of light at the end of the tunnel, fatuous time-tables, no end in sight...   The list goes on.

          This is the bottom line:  the Bush Administration and the Republican Party which has control over 2 branches of goverment, must at some point bare responsibilty for this disaster.

          •  More like 19,000 .U.S. dead by end of 1967 (none)

            Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey

            by willyr on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 12:34:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You know, (none)
              I thought I was lowballing it, but I could only find figures for 1966 and 67, during which itwas  about 8,000, and it looked like the casualty rate had been much lower prior to that.

              At any rate, the higher number strengthens my argument.  The Sunni minority's insurgency has not been able to muster anything like the Vietnamese revolution.

              I don't see how people can look at this situation and not believe we could be in much better shape, perhaps actually leading a successful, peaceful transition to democracy, had it not been for the blunders, cynicism and corruption of the Bush admistration.

          •  so why is it (none)
            if the parallels are so eerie and daunting as you suggest, that the Sunni insurgents:
            Have not been able to mount an insurgency as successful as the Vietnamese?
            Have not been able to find common cause with any Shia or Kurds?
            Have not, in a country with nearly twice the population of South Vietnam, to force the administration to commit higher troop levels?  
            Have not produced a single public leader?  
            Have not produced any coherent statement of what they desire for Iraq?  (Unless you believe that there are simply fundamentalist jihadis, which is the favorite administration line, but I don't happen to believe it.)
            Have not even been able to overwhelming loyalty among Sunni politicians, many of whom initially did sign up for this election, and only quit when it became clear that they were targeted for assassination?
            Have not even been able to prevent talks between significant Sunni tribal leaders and Allawi outside their control?

            This insurgency is nothing like the revolution we faced in Vietnam.  The further the comparison goes, the more ludicrous it gets.  It is absolutely hollow if you look at it in any depth at all.

            •  No Soviet backing here (none)
              And American firepower is much more devestating today than it was in 1967, although the NVA paid dearly for their underestimation of U.S. airpower during the Tet Offensive (especially at Khe Sahn, where airpower utterly destroyed a couple of NVA divisions who were attacking a few brigades of Marines).

              Not to mention that the United States controls less of Iraq than they did of Vietnam. In a sense, we've been able to get away with lower troop levels because our goals are less lofty here. However, it is clear that current troop levels are woefully inadequate for defeating the insurgency.

              As for the public leader bit, there's a number of public leaders of the insurgency that we don't hear about here (check out Professor Cole's web site for details on some of them). But in general an insurgency of this type does not produce public leaders. The Viet Cong had no public leaders either.

              As for a coherent statement of what they want for Iraq, their most coherent statement to date is that they want all Americans out of Iraq. What more do they need to say? Since Iraq is more a collection of squabbling ethnic groups than a nation, they are no more coherent than the Afghan mujahdeen were, and as prone towards infighting. But the mujahdeen *won*, in case you forget your history. They may have hated each others' guts, but they hated the Soviets worse.

              Yes, the parallels between Vietnam and Iraq-nam are not absolute. But the basic one -- that we are facing a nation that hates our guts and wants us out -- remains.

              - Badtux the Historian Penguin

              50% of Americans are below average.

              by badtux on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 01:29:13 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  How sure are you about that (none)
                "no Soviet backing" statement?

                We don't go out and hire journalists and propagandize and lie and put people on payroll so that they'll say what you want. - Donald Rumsfeld

                by The past is over on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 06:30:50 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Hmm, does Iranian backing count? (none)
                  Not to mention all the petro-dollars flowing to the Iraqi mujahdeen from the fundamentalists in surrounding Arab countries. So yes, the Iraqi insurgents do have foreign backing. But it is nowhere near the level of Soviet backing of North Vietnam, where dozens of Soviet freighters docked in Haiphong Harbor every week...

                  - Badtux the Historian Penguin

                  50% of Americans are below average.

                  by badtux on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 08:15:01 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  The chief parallel to the Vietnam War (none)
              is that this Administration has lied to the American public about the reasons for this war, the costs of this war, the conduct of this war. And just like the Johnson admin, the Bush admin is clearly lying to itself about these same matters, hence its never-ending incompetence. Make no mistake about who's responsible for Sunday's demonstration of civic pride and courage: the Iraqi people themselves, not Washington. When I see on TV the smiling faces of Iraqi voters, it saddens me to think of the dozens of ways that GWB and his jokers are going to screw them in the coming months and years. Furthermore, Bushco's disingenousness about the war is progressively eroding American pubic support for the war and dividing the nation. The USA is in bad hands, and therefore so is Iraq. Every disaster proposed by the other posters in this thread - a Kirkuk pogrom, a reinvigorated insurgency, an abandonment of popular support for the Iraqi govt - is a real likelihood because Bushco's policies aren't set up to handle it. We'd better brace ourselves for the worst though we may hope and advocate for better.
        •  Legitamacy (none)
          is very relative, and I wouldn't expect this government to have much legitamacy with sizable segments of the Iraqi population, nevermind objective observers.  This "government" will likely perpetuate and exacerbate the schisms within the Shia community, be mercilessly attacked by the Sunni, and ignored by the Kurds unless it completely caters to their desire for autonomy (and the Tamim province) petrochemicals).
          Whether we "support" this government or not, matters not a whit to its "legitmacy" too.
          I don't know, but I believe its hubris to think that any blogger anywhere could do much to further tarnish the already crippled "new" Iraqi government.

          Emancipate yourself from Mental Slavery, No one but ourselves can free our Minds.

          by TustonDAZ on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 12:32:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not sure what you mean by (none)
            objective observers.

            Sizable parts of the DKos community at the time (like me) felt that the war was a disaster partly because we thumbed our nose at the international community and went against their better judgment.

            Yet, this election seems to have convinced most of them.  The UN, France, Germany, Russia have all issued statements praising it.

            The two primary Kurdish parties seem to believe this government is the legitimate authority where they will bargain for greater autonomy.  They seem to carry much of Kurdish opinion with them.

            Even the Sadrist rebellion always claimed to pay fealty to Sistani.  Sadr knew that his fighters would quit if he went into outright opposition to Sistani. The coming-to-power of a group supported by Sistani, in a process backed by Sistani, could well exacerbate divisions in the Shia community.

            But in the context, to say that it will likely do so is essentially to say that Iraqis themselves are likely ungovernable and unworthy of self-government.  I don't happen to believe this.

            •  Shia Arabs (none)

              Here's an interesting read about an event with Prof. Juan Cole where his main point is that Shia Arabs (who will be the majority rules in Iraq) have never run ANYTHING.

              "Cole's main point - something that bears emphasizing and something I was thinking of writing about on my own last week - is that a Shia-run government is truly a revolutionary state of affairs in the mashreq (the eastern part of the Arab world). Shia Arabs have never ever run anything, not in the 500 some-odd year of official Twelver Shiism following its adoption as the official religion of Safavid Persia."

              •  No, you're right (none)
                neither had black folks in the US, prior to the voting rights act.

                I'm not sure what your point is.  I hope it's not that the fact that Shia's have been excluded from political power for 500 years means we should continue to exclude them.  That would be a horrible point of view, not worthy of this blog.

                •  More akin to Reconstruction (none)
                  Genuine Shia rule would be a much more radical development than the post-Voting Rights Act election of Black mayors and more akin to the Radical Reconstruction legislatures of South Carolina and Lousiana. But we should be very careful about assuming that the U.S. will allow any such thing since the Shia masses are not likely to be any keener on seeing Iraqs oil wealth pumped into the accounts of U.S. oil companies than the Sunnis or the Kurds. Sadly I think the odds are better that this election will be remembered as the Vietnamese show elections were.

                  "Tell no lies. Claim no easy victories." -- Amilcar Cabral

                  by Christopher Day on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 09:41:46 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Oy (none)
                  What a comparison.

                  Do you think people on this blog shouldn't pay any attention to Prof. Juan Cole?  

                  Maybe you don't realize it but you're taking the same "you're either with us or you're against us" attitude as Bush.  

                  There are 2 kinds of people:  People who think there are 2 kinds of people and people who think its a little more complicated.

                  •  Oy, what a reduction to absurdity (none)
                    Do I think people shouldn't read Juan Cole?  
                    I don't think that.  

                    Do you think that the fact that Shiites "have never run anything" is a reason to exclude them from running anything?  It certainly would make decisions on government much easier.  You could do away with elections.

                    But I don't think that. I think that the Voting Rights Act has been an amazing success.  I think that bringing the Shia into government is likely to succeed.  I'm not at all alarmed at the replacement of a corrupt class of governing people which depended on a vicious intelligence service to keep itself in power with a group of people who are not quite amateurs, because many of them are the ones who have been mayors and deputy mayors and governors for the last 18 months.

                    •  Huh? (none)
                      I thought that the comparison with voting rights in the US was an effort to make an argument out of something I'm not arguing about.

                      My take on Juan Cole's point about the Shia-Arabs never having run anything is that the fact they will now be running Iraq is a wild card.  

                      We're told (by the government and the TV media) that we should be happy and proud about these elections but who in their right mind would bet anything of value that even just ten years whatever situation in Iraq that will be seen as the inevitable result of these elections is something we'll be happy and proud about?  

                      America will be responsible for that situation 10 years down the road.

            •  Well (none)
              I think objective observers are guys like Juan Cole.  Or Abu Kahleel.

              Sizable parts of this community said insanities like, "I was against the invasion but now that were're there its our responsibility...." instead of demanding an end to the illegal, and doomed occupation immediately.

              France, Germany, Russia etc. all have "a dog in this fight," and they wouldn't question the results in any public way unless it would advance their agendas, and promoting the legitamacy of anygovernment are their agendas at this point.

              Go read the Kurdish editorials and news website back issues for the last year (like I have in real time) and you will understand the Kurds will not accept any "autonomy" but defacto Independence and complete economic control of the oilt in Tamim province.  A pogrom against Arabs is about to kick it up a few notches in Kirkuk.  The cities of Mosul and Kirkuk are two great examples of why this election is crap.

              It is likely all of the intercine conflict engendered by this artificial democracy frankensteing experiment  will create more chaos and bloodshed, but that is not to say that the Iraqi's are incapable of governing themselves.  They are, just not in the current context of an occupied Iraq with intrusive neighbors fomenting problems, and a Kurdish population determined seccede from the Federation.

              Emancipate yourself from Mental Slavery, No one but ourselves can free our Minds.

              by TustonDAZ on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 04:19:47 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  that's a fascinating point of view (none)
                so you believe that it's not that people in Iraq are destined to be incapable of governing themselves.  It's just that currently, they're incapable of governing themselves.  That a Kurdish pogrom in Mosul and Kirkuk is what's going to happen.

                I don't believe that.  Maybe I'll be wrong.

                •  so I guess you're actually opposed in principle (none)
                  you're not opposed to an election that insufficiently gauges the will of the people.

                  you're instead opposed to an election that actually does gauge the will of the people.  It's democracy you're afraid of, because it will lead to a pogrom in Kirkuk and Mosul.

                  Again, I don't happen to believe that, but I'm happy to see you express your point of view.

                  •  Dude (none)
                    WTF?! I never said any of those things, nor did I imply them. You are spoiling for a fight because in my previous post I blew your "opinion" out of the fucking water and you know attack me rather than combating my points with salient arguments and links. Nothing you say has any bearing on reality. It certainly doesn't respond to the substance of my posts, and if you keep on inferring I am saying idiocies like "the Iraqis are uncapable of governing themselves," or "I am afraid of democracy because it will lead to pogroms" you will prove your utter lack of wit and common sense as well as being singularly uninformed. You have opionion but you have no knowledge. Keep on posting so we can have copy your this crap for posterity.

                    But a final word of advice, keep away from the "democracy is beginning in Iraq" kool aid, because its definetely rotting what little grey matter you've retained.

                    Emancipate yourself from Mental Slavery, No one but ourselves can free our Minds.

                    by TustonDAZ on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 09:51:58 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  You are really good at (none)
                  mischaracterizing what I say. If we and the Iranians, Israelis, Syrians, Turks, Saudi's and everybody else would get out of the Iraqi's way I'm certain that it wouldn't take long for the Iraqis to govern themselves (even if it was from three independent states"

                  As far as the pogrom goes check out this link

                  In the "Ahali Kirkuk" (People of Kirkuk) chat room, kurdish_sarbast and hasan_sidqy quarreled bitterly over the future of the ethnically divided city of Kirkuk. The latter fled the online forum when kurdish_sarbast warned him, "If you don't return to your original home, we will kill you

                  Oh wait thats just chat that doesn't mean anything, right? Not hardly. Here's a typical editorial

                  The unified stance of the Kurdistani people regarding their resolution in gaining necessary assurances for entering elections turned to be beneficial. Particularly the reiterations shown in the two letters from Iraqi officials calling for a total end to the Arabization process, and the Kirkuki refugees right to vote, also stating that a general referendum must take place after the elections for the integration of Kirkuk into the Kurdish region

                  These assurances are all in line with the objectives of the Kurdish leadership in wiping out Arabization. The Kurdish aspiration was a just one, which now also gains achievement benefiting the Kurds.

                  May the unified standpoint of Kurdistan's nation live evermore!

                  Unfortunately, the second link is down but it is a typical editorial from Kurdish sources, the Turks have their own ideas about "wiping out arabization"

                  "Some people are looking the other way while mass migration (of Kurds to Kirkuk) takes place," the Wall Street Journal quoted Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyep Erdogan as saying in an interview given on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos.

                  "This is going to create major difficulties in the future."

                  Turkey believes Iraqi Kurds, who voted in large numbers in Sunday's election, are trying to take control of Kirkuk at the expense of local Arabs and Turkish-speaking Turkmens.

                  Ankara fears this could herald a concerted drive to build an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq which might in turn reignite separatism among the Kurds of southeastern Turkey.

                  Many Arabs and Turkmens in Kirkuk appeared to boycott Sunday's Iraqi elections in protest at what they saw as voting rules favoring the Kurds.

                  Erdogan, who gave his interview before the Iraqi election, said Turkey was taking its own precautions over Kirkuk but declined to give details.

                  Gul said Turkey could not stand passively by if Kurds took control of Kirkuk, though he stopped short of saying Ankara would send troops into Iraq.


                  Turkish newspapers Monday also debated the consequences of the strong Kurdish turnout in northern Iraq.

                  Many front-page reports quoted Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani, who heads one of two Kurdish factions controlling the north, as saying that Iraqi Kurds would one day have their own independent state.

                  "The elections end, their mask comes off," said the daily Aksam, referring to the Kurds, while the Vatan daily headlined "Barzani challenges Turkey." The daily Milliyet meanwhile saw the Sunni boycott of the elections as a potential pitfall for Turkey, stressing that Iraq's Parliament, which will draw up the country's constitution, will be dominated by Shiites and Kurds.

                  I don't know or care what you believe but I'm pretty sure you haven't said anything to make even consider your point of view as informed.

                  Honestly, how much time have you been really studying this situation? How much background in Middle Eastern history do you have? From your comments it seems like the answer to both questions is "not very much."

                  Emancipate yourself from Mental Slavery, No one but ourselves can free our Minds.

                  by TustonDAZ on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 09:51:19 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Interesting (none)
                    It is great to have the internet and find so much information for yourself so easily and quickly.  If the other poster would put "Turkey and the Kurds" into a search engine, just one facet of the Iraq nation issue, he would get a lot to chew on.  

                    These are 2 interesting paragraphs from a site called "" I found this morning.  (Who knows what to make of it all?  Thats really my concern, that we American ordinary folks are making judgements on complicated issues and histories we know so little about.  I can't do that but I CAM make a judgement about an issue thats really simple to me, that Amercian kids shouldn't be sent around the world as mercenaries for oil or glory or "humitarianism" ):

                    "In the 19th century, Kurdish principalities revolted against the increasingly onerous demands of the Ottoman Empire. In the early years of the 20th century, a layer of Kurdish intellectuals launched a movement for a separate Kurdish state. This national movement developed in tandem with the Young Turk movement in Turkey. After the outbreak of World War I, which pitted the Ottoman Empire against Czarist Russia, the leaders of the Young Turks (including Mustafa Kemal--later known as Kemal Atatürk) launched a campaign against the Christian Armenians, who were accused of siding with the Russians. This nationalist campaign was animated by pro-Islamic propaganda aimed at the Turkish and Kurdish masses. The result was the first state sponsored genocide of the 20th century. At least a million Armenians (as well as other Christians, for example, the Assyrians) were killed in the course of the government's campaign to expel them from Turkey. Kurdish nationalists today prefer to ignore or deny the fact that Kurds also played a role in the Turkish state's genocidal persecution of the Armenians.

                    In 1920 Atatürk promised a common "state of Turks and Kurds" to win the support of the Kurdish clans in resisting the harsh terms of the Treaty of Sèvres [the equivalent of the Versailles Treaty imposed on Germany the year before] and to drive the Greeks out of Asia Minor. Several years later Atatürk rewarded his Kurdish allies (who were by then officially designated merely as "mountain Turks") with merciless persecution. The teaching of Kurdish in schools was outlawed and it was even forbidden to mention the existence of Kurds or other national minorities within Turkey. Under Atatürk, a series of Kurdish uprisings were brutally suppressed, and hundreds of thousands of Kurds were deported into central and western Turkey."

                    •  Ooops (none)
                      What is "humitarianism?"  Of course, I meant "humanitarianism."
                      •  charming when people lecture (none)
                        others on history based on a few clicks of their web browser.

                        If you had been reading about the situation for a bit longer, TustonDAZ, you wouldn't be so alarmed about the mistranslation that yielded "wiping out Arabization."  Yes, the Kurds are very committed to ending the policy of Arabization of Kirkuk, under which Kurds were forcibly removed.  Yes, this will certainly have impacts on the Arabs who moved in.

                        However, the phrase 'wiping out Arabization' comes in a paragraph that is characterizing "reassurances" from "Iraqi officials" encouraging the Kurds to take part in the elections.  To turn this into the suggestion of a pogrom - to take the poorly worded "wiping out Arabization" and turn it into "wiping out Arabs", you have to believe that some high-ranking Shiite officials have given the go-ahead for this pogrom.

                        So it seems much more likely that this paragraph refers to something more like an end to the official policy of forcibly removing Kurds from Kirkuk and subsidizing Arabs to go there, often by giving them the vacant homes of removed Kurds.  It even seems likely that it refers to some organized reversal of the policy, and I have no doubt that many Kurds are moving back to their homes.  But I simply don't believe you that the paper you're citing is referring to a high-level agreement between Arabs in the central government and the two Kurdish parties, that if they take part in the election, the central government will allow them to undertake a pogrom in Kirkuk.  I think your reading is ridiculous.

                          •  Lois, (none)
                            First of all, you're the one who gave me a patronizing little lecture about "if the other commenter would just read, there's such a host of information on the web that he's missing."  I know a lot about Kurds and Turks.  Apparently it's all new to you.  I was reading about the Ocalan crisis five years ago, before the people here boasting about what they've found on the internet could even locate Samarra on a map (the Ocalan crisis was between Italy and Turkey over a Kurdish leader, for those who are newcomers to Kurdish issues.)

                            So yes, of course, if you read Turkish newspapers, you're going to find a tremendous amount of hand-wringing over the possibility of a strong autonomous Kurdish area in northern Iraq.

                            But that's no reason to adopt the Turkish point of view.  The Turks have been hand-in-hand with the Iraqis (and the Iranians) in oppressing Kurds for decades.  You don't need to take everything you read in their papers as gospel.

                          •  No offense (none)
                            I didn't mean to be patronizing but I can see how my wording might sound like that.  So, I'm sorry.

                            Here's my point about it all, in view of the triumphalist hoopla of the last few days that I've been enduring:

                            These Middle Eastern places and their people are a VAST, complex area of information that people spend their whole lives studying.  Maybe it would be interesting to hear from those people who have done so much studying whether "It might just work!" (Our US invasion and nation-building enterprise)

                            I suspect we wouldn't get a unanimous answer from the scholars but they weren't part of the decision and PR campaign to go to war, anyway.  That was the politicians and people like Tom Friedman of the Times whose rationale was "Its worth a try."  And since hardly any Americans felt they had much at stake, it seemed like plunking down $100 on a bet and maybe winning another $100.  IOW, not a big deal either way.

                             There are 2 things that I, me, ordinary American, do know for a fact:

                            1.  It would not be worth my daughter's life to help the Iraqis fulfill whatever their democratic aspirations are.

                            2.  George Bush's daughters and John Edwards' daughter did not leave college and join up.  Etc. etc. for the other pols. Edwards was as pro-War as Bush; I remember reading his editorial.  But they sure don't try very hard to make the case to their own offspring, do they?  Or maybe their offspring are callous, selfish people?  Or their own offspring aren't buying it.  Because those are the only 3 explanations, IMO.

                               Have you heard of any member of Congress's son being in the infantry or in harms' way at all?  Biden's son is a military lawyer.  

                            When I read background on the people who are killed or wounded over there, it is so clear that there is an exploitation aspect.  These are for the most part young people who are economically or emotionally vulnerable to exploitation.    

                            It is an artful theory that the US military oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic" means conquering foreign lands in order to make them democracies because democracies would never attack the US.  

                          •  I take to heart a lot of what you're saying here. (none)
                            It doesn't contradict what you say if I point out that, oddly, members of the military, their families, and veterans do seem to support this war in greater numbers than the rest of us. I know that there are some who don't - Vietnam Vets against the war and even some Iraq vets whose organization I can't remember now.  But I notice a certain irony when I talk about ending the war to ensure the safety of troops who seem to feel some degree of support for the war themselves.  

                            Would I 'send my daughter.'  I did not volunteer for the military myself.  I don't even know very many people who did.

                            On the other hand, I seem to have a different feeling about this than most people on these boards.  To explain, I'll mention that I have an aunt who is a huge supporter of this war.  Her rationale, or at least part of it, is that she's happy we're fighting them over there, and not over here.

                            Whereas, I feel enormously different.  When people were absolutely outraged that 3,000 people died in the WTC, I was angry, but I found it hard to summon more anger over that than over the 6,000 Bosnian men who rode Serb trains into the town of Brcko, and were executed, and put back on the cars, stacked like cordwood, to be buried in a mass grave.  

                            So I'm more internationalist.  I think Iraqi democracy is as worth dying for as American democracy.  I think Iraqi security is worth dying for.  I think we're all on the same planet.

                            I admit that there's a different standard for making the decision about another country -- since we don't understand Iraqi society well, it's tougher for us to be very certain that we can achieve the goal that people might die for. There is indeed an arrogance about starting such a war.  

                            I mistrust the motives of almost everyone involved in our decision to go to war.  I'm skeptical that most of them rank democracy very high on their list of war goals (though I don't doubt that there are many who are sincere.)

                            I don't buy that "you can't impose democracy by force."  There is little difference between the Iraqi history of democracy and that of Japan.  One had a short-lived parliament controlled by powerful warlords.  The other had a somewhat longer-lived parliament, not truly sovereign even when it sat, which was overthrown in a coup.  Iraqis are as capable of understanding democracy as the Japanese after World War II, or the Chinese who protested and died for it in Tiananmen.  

                            One of the things about it is that democracy requires some group of people who depend on it for their future.  Alexander Hamilton created a bondholder class in the early US.  He was a frustrated monarchist, an elitist who certainly believed he was helping create an aristocracy, yet that class proved important to the stability of a democracy that did indeed grow toward respecting the rights of a broader and broader class of people through time.  Significantly, his bondholder class was never strong enough to feel they could do without democratic approval, so they were forced to submit to the vote.  

                            I think that certain powerful Shia are beginning to feel that their future depends on a stable democracy in Iraq.  I don't really know that they will be able to defend that democracy by compromising with the other classes of their society.  But I get the feeling that Sistani and the two Kurdish leaders are for now on board with compromise.  With fighting for their own interests within the framework set up by the provisional government.  

                            I am extremely surprised by this.  I think the administration has done everything they could to screw this up.  And they have enough corrupt, naive and arrogance to screw it up even today.

                            But still, I pose a question, and I think it's key:

                            As I read of the run-up to this election, as I saw the election workers shot in the streets in broad daylight, I thought to myself, dear god, how are they going to find anyone to even put the election?  And today, in the New York Times, I found an answer, from the UN Commissioner of Election Assistance.  She said that she knew a few days ago that the election would prove successful.  She was simply seeing too many people stepping up  into the roles of election worker -- too many to think they just needed a job.  She said it was their bravery that convinced her that this was going to work.  I have trouble arguing with that.  A guy posed a good question yesterday in this thread -- sure, the Iraqis who voted were brave, but they'll have to be brave enough to defend their democracy every day.  When I read the quote from the UN woman, I felt she was replying to him - the election workers were even braver.  Now that they've made their statement, others will step up.

                          •  Well, (none)
                            I don't really know what to make of the election.  After so many lies the past 2 years, lies that were facilitated by media hype, I don't know what I should make of the reports I saw about the election, what it meant on Sunday January 30, 2005 or what it will mean a year from now.  

                            Personally, I don't think democracy is such a glorious concept.  I guess its like Winston Churchill said that "Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried." Our own, THE model of democracy, has done a lot of terrible things.  We're still the only nation that ever dropped atomic bombs (and purely for revenge IMO) but most Americans think it was right.  Thats democracy.  

        •  You mean that this is not Vietnam? (none)
          And this is not the same American public, either.  I remember those years.  My older brother was a student at Columbia, where there was a lot of student demonstrating.  I remember him telling my parents how the cops rushed the crowds and a lot of students who were just observing were injured.  My parents response:  "They (the kids) must have been doing something."  

          I don't remember my parents ever expressing any worry when my brother went into the army.  Thats the strangest thing to me:  How Americans were so respectful of authority that they let the politicians take their kids like that.  I don't think American parents would be the same today, not at all.

  •  Its Real (none)
    Payed the $2.95 to dowload it myself. Have saved it as a pdf on my PC. If someone tells me ho to put up here will gladly comply
  •  Double checking (none)
    This is an accurate rendition of that article.

    Not like it wouldn't be... just thought you'd want to know it's 100 percent authentic (per ProQuest's databank).

    Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness.

    by JimTXDem on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 03:02:46 AM PST

  •  already. (4.00)
    I'm already getting a bit irritated with the "liberals could at least muster a bit of joy that this election went well for these people who want freedom" scolding.

    I remember the sick feeling I had in my stomach about this group the "Taliban" that I had never heard of in my life threating to blow up these statues of Bhudda built into this mountain.  These awesome ancient relics.  It made me sick to my stomach and I felt uneasy.  Then they were blown up.  So were two other things, only six months later.

    I remember the joy of a different statue being torn down in Baghdad.  After a day or two of feeling uneasy about it, I realized it was an American act of propaganda and a photo-op.  The sinking feeling that gave me doubt was realized.

    My disgust for George Bush already cemented, I tried to find joy when he landed on an aircraft carrier.  It felt so staged, so out of place, but hopeful at the same time.  People were coming home.  At least maybe it was almost over.  But it felt wrong.  It didn't settle right with me.  I was right.

    Sadaam Hussein was captured, and by this time, I had stopped trying to buy into the feelings that many others had.  The person whom I'd soon head off to Iowa wearing an orange ski cap to support told the news media that we don't know if we are better off that Sadaam Hussein has been caputred.  The right wing mocked with feigned indignation.  His fellow democrats attacked with the faux-macho ferocity of fratboys who had their towel removed in a locker room.  I felt guilty for nodding in agreement, and started to doubt him.  He was fucking right.

    So here we are.  There was an election in which 82 percent, no 75, no 60, no well we don't know actually, you just asked us and so we gave you a number...anyway there was an election where there are no international election monitors in the country that is voting.  There is an election in which the candidates couldn't even explain what they stood for for fear of death.  There was an election where I watched several people drop large bookelts into Halliburton-supplied Tupperware dog-food bins with holes cut in the plastic lid.   There was an election where I saw some people, sitting around a table in the dark with stacks of these ballots and an overturned dog-food bin setting on the floor, just beyond the reach of the candle light.  There was an election in which the voters didn't even know who they were voting for.  There was an election in which people didn't feel safe enough to vote.  There was an election in which Chalabi still might be the Secretary of the Interior of Iraq, whether he is elected or not.

    I wish to God that peopel in Iraq would be free of this nightmare.  I wish everyone over there fighting makes it home soon.  I wish that all of the corporations that are keeping this war going because of the profit-lust would suddenly see their stacks of money burst into flames.  

    And I wish to God that this election is a success and a step in the right direction, but please after all of this, forgive me for trusting my instincts.

    •  5 n/t (none)

      The polls don't tell us how a candidate is doing, they tell us how the media is doing.

      by Thumb on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 06:09:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  HOLY SHIT! (none)
      who the hell are you & are you running for president in 08?!?!?!?


    •  well, (none)
      I don't take kindly to scoldings from people who were still so naive just 18 months ago as you were.

      A lot of us who think the election is an important thing weren't so naive as to have even countenanced the idea that Georgie-boy landing on his toy aircraft carrier meant anything.  Many of us were downright sickened at the idea that a statue being toppled by marines could somehow compare to free people toppling the statues of their own despots.

      So I don't need lectures from you about your 'instincts.'  It's following 'instincts' rather than thought processes that sent us on Georgie's adventure in the first plac.  If you want to follow instincts and feelings, go get interviewed by Katie Couric or some other news air-head, but spare those of us who think this should be a thoughtful discussion.

  •  addendum. (none)
    And if this is an Iraqi election that we aren't in any way involved in, why is this election box labled - both with a printout, and handwriting - in English?

  •  Sorry! Didn't mention on C-SPAN where I saw this. (4.00)
    I was just got a call in on C-SPAN's Washington Journal, referencing the NYT's article, but I was a bit rattled and didn't attribute Daily KOS or patachon (sorry!)

    The question is: Has the Iraqi vote changed your opinion of the war?

    I said in my call (or words to this effect):

    "No it hasn't changed my mind and I'd like to read a headline from the NY Times:

    'U.S. Encouraged by Vote :
    Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Terror'

    Now I've left two words out of that headline, it actually reads:

    'U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote :
    Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror'

    ...and it's from 1967, just four months before the Tet offensive.

    If I'm permitted, I'd like to read two short sentences from the article itself as it has some parallels to yesterday's vote:

    'United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.'

    ...and further down in the article:

    'A successful election has long been seen as the keystone in President Johnson's policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam.'

    I certainly hope that history does not repeat itself this time."

  •  History doesn't repeat itself (none)
    But it sure does provide perspective.  Although I am very happy that the people of Iraq had a chance to say something about the direction of their country, I don't believe that (1) democratic elections justify our invasion of that country, and (2) Bushco hasn't manipulated and will continue to manipulate this process.  This article highlights the fact that our history belies what the administration wants us to believe about this election.

    "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king." - my dad

    by blueinnc on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 04:42:04 AM PST

    •  Statistically (none)
      The chances of two of us using the same headline to a post at exactly the same time, drawn from a much earlier comment upthread, must be quite small.

      Did I tell you I got a 42,500 to 1 chance of a hole-in-one on the 188yd eighth hole in October? I am now starting to do the lottery.

      •  Actually, the chances of that happening ... (none)
        ... were exactly 100%, because it happened. </smartass>

        The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them. - Albert Einstein

        by bustacap on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 07:40:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, I'm pretty it does (none)
      In fact, I remember having this exact same discussion with someone a few weeks ago.
  •  History doesn't repeat itself! (4.00)
    Oh dear! This comment from higher up the thread  simply underlines how much longer I have lived than many of you.

    When you reach my great age, dear friends, the question is not "does history repeat itself?" but "how often does it in one lifetime?"

    Well done on finding this NYT article, well done on using it so quickly in the media. The more quickly we inject reality, the more quickly can we inject hope for a solution that involves bringing our boys and girls home.

  •  Olbermann (none)
    I can see him doing this story.  He love the irony of our times.

    "Do Iraqi children scream when the bombs fall if no one is in the White House to hear them?" Bernard Chazelle

    by dmac on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 05:13:24 AM PST

  •  Excellent that you posted this... (none)
    So sad also that many Iraqis have been lead to believe that this election will result in true democracy for their country. Hell, I doubt we have true democracy here.

    We've slaughtered over 100,000 of their citizens to bring that country "true" democracy. We're privatizing their industries. We've laid waste to their infrastructure.

    Now they will be the poster children for the democracy flag that George Bush wants to fly in various parts of the world.

    I kill you, in the name of doing away with tyranny. I kill you, in the name of democracy. I kill you, so we can get our hands on your resources and make the world safe for Israel, is more like it.

    •  Iraqi's aren't sheep (none)
      Now they will be the poster children for the democracy flag that George Bush wants to fly in various parts of the world.

      I don't think Sistani, or the Sunni's are going to let Bush tell them what to do. Sistani forced Bush's hand on the elections, and the Sunni boycotted. They could give a shit about Bush, and don't trust him an inch.

      If Bush thinks the Iraqis are sheep after this he, and we, are in for a shitstorm. They voted for a new government that would end the occupation.

      We had better being ending the occupation, soon.

    •  iraqi's are bystanders to a mugging (none)
      the wallet of a rich man has fallen to the pavement.

      that they try to snatch it up does not mean they trust the mugger, or count him as a benefactor.

      i have no problem cheering this election. i think the iraqi's are wise. i hope they take the money and run.

      "...their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom" MLK

      by jethropalerobber on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 02:40:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank You For Posting This (none)
    For those who might doubt whether this is real or not, believe me, that's exactly what happened back in 1967, and that's exactly how it was reported.  Shortly thereafter General Westmoreland made a speech to a joint house of Congress about how we were helping the South Vietnamese build a nation.  It was taken quite seriously, with few caveats being offered by the major media.  After all, hadn't they voted in overwhelming numbers for the US-backed ticket of Thieu and Ky?  The election was held to be a rousing, rip-roaring success.  Not quite 5 months later, the Tet Offensive was launched.  The same people who voted in the election kept their mouths shut and did nothing to warn the government they'd recently elected as the Viet Cong and NVA carried out the preparations necessary for launching the attack.  

    Which only goes to show you can vote one way with your ballot on Election Day, and vote quite another with your silence and inaction shortly thereafter.  

    "L'enfer, c'est les autres." - Jean Paul Sartre, Huis Clos

    by JJB on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 05:38:05 AM PST

  •  thanks (4.00)
    great service... and we'll need the Nixon speeches to refer to.

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 06:06:12 AM PST

    •  Dem... (none)
      That would be Johnson's presidency. Nixon was elected in 1968..

      Im looking for quotes right now...

      •  What Ive found... (4.00)
        271. Memorandum Prepared by the Board of National Estimates, Central Intelligence Agency/1/

        Special Memorandum No. 7-67

        Washington, August 8, 1967.

        /1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, IG(1) Elections. Secret.

        The September Presidential Election in South Vietnam

        [Here follow material on the Thieu-Ky merger, an analysis of the civilian contenders, and a discussion of the pre-election period.]


        1. As things now stand, the military slate has to be the favorite in the coming election because of its large and relatively united organization, the finances available to it, and its control of the government. However, it is not unbeatable, and the civilian candidates will in any event play a key role in the election process. Even if the civilians do not unite, there is just enough uncertainty about the strength of military unity and enough uncommitted groups of votes to make for some fluidity.

        2. The chances that the election will be held on schedule appear fairly good. The generals would probably consider postponing the election only if they felt their chances at the polls were so poor that even extralegal pressures would not tip the voting in their favor. It is conceivable that such a situation might develop, but not likely.

        3. We can be less confident about the chances for fair elections. If the leading civilians continue to pursue their individual candidacies and no crisis develops, the military slate should be able to win honestly. However, an attempt by the civilian candidates to unite would probably cause the military to react by exerting questionable pressures. If unfair tactics by the military began to affect campaigning seriously, the civilian contenders might withdraw in protest, thus rendering the election largely meaningless. If illegal tactics were employed on election day or immediately prior to it, the civilians could refuse to acknowledge the results, and instead charge fraud. Even if the civilians do not unite, the generals may tend to underestimate their own prospects and thus feel compelled to exert unnecessary pressures. Additionally, some province chiefs and other local government officials may independently become overzealous and ultimately do more damage than good. Further complicating the general issue is the possibility that the elections may be widely regarded as having been unfair even though the military leaders make no deliberate efforts in this direction.

        4. Whether or not it were well-founded, a general belief that the elections were rigged would thwart the major purpose of constitutional development--that of establishing a legitimate mandate for the government which in turn would improve its prospects for rallying popular participation and support. To dispell such suspicions, the civilian contenders at a minimum would have to acknowledge tacitly that the elections were fair, and the constituent assembly--now acting as a provisional legislature--would have to ratify the election results without reflecting much doubt. Even more effective would be the appointment of the candidate who runs second as prime minister since it would considerably strengthen the government's claim to legitimacy. There are, however, many problems--including the question of military rivalries after the election--which are standing in the way of such a development, and it constitutes little more than a possibility at this point.

        For the Board of National Estimates:
        Abbot Smith
        Acting Chairman


        Loads of good inside information on how to get "fair" yet Pro-American results from the Vietnamees elections. Just do a "find" for "election" and you should get to the good stuff pertaining to the election.

        •  More info (4.00)
          On September 8 the President wrote to Thieu:

          "I extend my warm regards to you and to Prime Minister Ky on your victory in the election of a President and Vice President. I have just received a detailed and most moving account of your election from the distinguished Americans whom you invited to Viet-Nam as observers. They returned believing in the fairness of the procedures and observed the intense interest of the Vietnamese people in this major step toward creating your own popularly chosen and constitutionally based government. Their individual reports were a testimonial to the courage and determination of the Vietnamese people to remain free and to create their own political institutions in their own way. The election was a milestone along the path toward the goal you have set for yourselves--a free, secure and peaceful Viet-Nam. But it is not the end of the journey. Many hard tasks remain. Not the least of these now is the creation of a strong, effective and broadly based government that will help you and your country achieve the objectives you set forth in your campaign. The American government and I, personally, look forward to continued close cooperation with you and your colleagues in the days and months ahead. I am confident that our efforts--joined with those of our allies--will be crowned with success and that under your leadership, a peaceful, democratic, strong and prosperous Viet-Nam will emerge."

          This letter was sent to Saigon in telegram 34017, September 8. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 15-1 VIET S) Thieu, who received the letter on September 9 from Bunker, acknowledged the President's communication in his own letter of thanks dated September 26 but received from the Vietnamese Embassy by the Department of State on October 10 and then forwarded to the White House. (Ibid.)


        •  Even More info (4.00)
          305. Memorandum From the President's Assistant (Jones) to President Johnson/1/

          Washington, September 5, 1967, 1:05-2:40 p.m.

          1/Source: Johnson Library, Meeting Notes File, Folder #4, 1/67-11/67. No classification marking. The notation "L" on the memorandum indicates that the President saw it.

          Weekly meeting with Secretaries Rusk and McNamara, Walt Rostow, George Christian, Dick Helms and General Harold K. Johnson

          The meeting opened with the discussion of the Vietnam elections observers. The President asked if Lodge could be contacted to see if he could stay an extra day or two to talk to the news media for backgrounders. He also hoped Senator Hickenlooper could talk to CBS. The President commented that he would be meeting with Labor leaders next week.

          Rusk said he had talked to Tom Wicker concerning the factual errors in this morning's article in the New York Times on the Vietnam elections. Rusk said Wicker failed to recognize that about half the Vietnam population is under voting age. Rusk told Wicker there is no bar to voting as long as they were registered. It was agreed that Bill Bundy would write a corrective letter promptly to the New York Times.

          McNamara pointed out that fourteen targets have been authorized but have been delayed because of bad weather. Also four are inside the 10 mile circle and are being held. These total 18. Of the 51 remaining, 9 have been removed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff after careful examination. Some of them have been removed because they have not been repaired such as bridges, etc., and others which were authorized or linked to targets which have been authorized.

          McNamara and Rusk agreed that of the 42 remaining, they are ready to recommend 10. Of these, two are being held out for further technical examination. One requires further photography and the other requires fresh intelligence./2

          /2/In a telephone call to Rostow on August 31, the President said: "Whatever real bombing we are going to do will be done between now and September 11. Get Dean Rusk to look over those 49 left and give me order in which they should be hit. Then we will go back and re-hit those bridges, power plant, etc." (Note on telephone call from the President, August 31; ibid., National Security File, Files of Walt Rostow, Bombing)


          •  you have to fast forward to Nixon's (none)
            "Vietnamization speech".

            It's like Iraqification now. The Bushies aren't that creative. Most of their conduct of the war is out of the Nixon playbook.

            "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

            by Greg Dworkin on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 08:53:52 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  See: "winning their hearts and minds" (none)
              and "light at the end of the tunnel"

              and "we had to destroy the village in order to save it"

              Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey

              by willyr on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 09:02:38 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I agree (none)
              But I wanted to give some perspective to the administration who gave Vietnam the right to vote, and what their reaction to it was. Johnson was the guy who got us into that war full scale, and his administration was the one to implement the voting process. Nixon just took over for the man and had to deal with the policies that Johnson put in place. (and no, im not defending Nixon.. Lol)
  •  Perhaps I missed something (none)
    and please correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't this election in Iraq to choose delegates to their constitutional convention? The Iraqis did not vote on who was to govern them, as there isn't a legal framework for that yet. While those that voted should be congratulated, in no way is this like a US election, or any for that matter.

    These claims by Bush and others that a major milestone has been reached are ridiculous. The Kurdish delegates will accept nothing short of an soveriegnty, and the Shiites will have trouble restraining those bent on retribution and those that want to impose fundamentalist rule.

    Look for the civil war to break out with four months, with Turkey and Iraq playing a clandestine part. And our men and women stuck in the middle of it.

    Great find this article. Kudo's

    •  You're Absolutely Right! (none)
      It's the election for a constituent assembly which took place a year earlier that might be a more exact analogy as far as the state in the constitutional process.

      I did find one article on it in the little time I had to do reseach -- see the comment I listed by Sen. Dirksen.

      I'm sure there are even better articles than the ones I found -- ones that more closely line up with the stage of development that Iraq currently is at.  On the other hand, it's the kind of regime that's involved and the kind of reaction that the U.S. had at that time, that I think is the important part.  Furthermore, it's what happened in the aftermath that ought to lend a bit of humility and circumspection to the victory cries of the administration.

      "Mission accomplished" -- we heard it all before.

  •  I just sent this to CNN (none)
    Their question of the day this morning is about the Iraq elections.

    The beatings will continue, until morale improves.

    by mad ramblings of a sane woman on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 06:50:52 AM PST

  •  Excellent (none)
    Huge props to you for this dose of historical irony.
  •  Claims and corrections (none)
    Well, seems the Iraqi populace did turn out to vote , just not in the numbers the US claimed looks like 60% or less, Desn;t matter to Bushco. The Sunday talking heads shows all ran with the preliminary numbers, that;s all people will remember. Damn that Rove is a real genius...
  •  Ya know, I've always suspected (none)
    that that stuff in the newspapers never really happens.  I figure it's all just made up by a half dozen guys in an office somewhere.  If I'm right, it appears they're getting lazy.
  •  I guess everything turned out great in `Nam... (none)
    ... after that, eh?

    Freedom is on the march!

    •  Yep (none)
      It'll march right up to the roof of the US embassy in Baghdad, march right onto a helicopter and (hopefully) get the hell out of there and mind its own damn business.

      "I heard 'ya don't change horses midstream' so often in interviews that I wanted to shoot the damn horse." - Dan Hoffheimer, KE04 Ohio Legal Counsel

      by BullitNutz on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 03:36:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What is the point of this post? (4.00)
    I have been opposed to the war all along but yesterday was simply a great victory for the Iraqi people.  It doesn't ensure anything but it is a great step forward for them.  Why am I still opposed to the war?  Becuase I'm not interested in 1500+ American deaths and $200 billion+ spent to give other people freedom.  When you have an idealistic foreign policy today's Bosnia leads to tomorrow's Vietnam.  If Iraq is free and democratic tomorrow and our troops are home tomorrow my response would be great for Iraq but a bad deal for America.  Partly a bad deal because it would only encourage the idealists to send troops elsewhere.  For those kinds of people every victory leads to thousands of more American deaths.  But I certainly don't wish for a victory for anti-democratic insurgents in Iraq.  All cheers for the Iraqis yesterday.  May they hold on to what they gained.    
    •  The point of this post (none)
      is that we've seen this movie before, to use a certain someone's quote.

      Sweeping optimism to bolster political and power goals is what's going on here and the same words and even sentences are being used today.

      America wasn't told we were invading Iraq to ensure a voter-verified paper trail and big turnout.

      •  Its for the SOTU. (none)
        The election and de rigueur propaganda hype were timed for Bush's State of the Union address.  Transparent manipulation.  
      •  You will win (none)
        on the debate points and lose in the minds of the American people every time you are pessimistic about gains made toward democracy.  Bush & Co. have earned their period of media manipulation and it does the left no good to whimper about this, that or the other.  This Administration is incompetent.  Have no fear that other issues with more potency will rise to the surface and quickly.
        •  As a matter of fact, the 'debate' is being lost (none)
          by Bush himself when majority of Americans see the Iraq war as a big mistake.

          This is a fair topic for discussion and observation and I don't see why people should shy away from it because they are afraid of some imagined reaction from the other side or 'the American public.'

          Excuse me, I am the 'American public' too.

        •  Then Came Tet... (none)
          You're right about "debate points" -- only it was the debate points coming from the administration of the day -- the "light at the end of the tunnel" -- that hit an iceberg of reality called the "Tet Offensive".

          Then the "debate point" shifted to "well, we beat them at Tet too" but by this time most people were through with administration debate points.

          "Debate points" gave the administration of the day limited periods of optimistic PR -- only to be upstaged, each and every time, by the reality on the ground.

          •  Exactly, (none)
            and when the euphoria over the election subsides and the next Tet arrives, as we know it will.  Then we can continue to criticize effectively.  I don't care who is president I will never sit around and criticize a people having an election for the first time.  I think it's great - for them.  The left loses because too many of us have absolutely no marketing skills.  
            •  Word now is (none)
              turnout was 50-60%, with implicit threats that no vote=no food ration.

              Tell me why I should be dancing in the streets because of this?

            •  I should point out... (none)
              that it isn't for the first time.

              If you don't want to count the election in which Saddam got 99% of the vote, you should still consider the point made so forcefully by that example, that just holding an "election" does not constitute democracy.

              But, putting that aside: there was also a very significant election in Iraq in May, 1922 under the British Mandate.

              Massacre is not a family value.

              by Canadian Reader on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 09:40:57 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  An excellent example (3.00)
                of factually correct arguments destined to lose
                •  If you want to win (none)
                  isn't there something to be said for getting your facts straight, before you decide on strategy?

                  Gush about "a people having an election for the first time," and, oops, you've lost all credibility with anyone who a) remembers that Saddam held an election, too, and how mercilessly the US made fun of that -- or who b) has read up, even a little bit, on Iraqi history.

                  It's the GOP that goes around saying things that are not true and are easily fact-checked. It's not so hard to congratulate Iraqis for voting -- without saying things that will trip you up.

                  Massacre is not a family value.

                  by Canadian Reader on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 10:58:58 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  If you want to win (none)
                    then you should continue reading what I said about marketing skills.  In any case, this is the first election for the people who voted yesterday in Iraq.  Only a fool would call the charades Saddam performed an election.  And if you pull out some old man who in his youth many, many decades ago who voted in a real election I'm going to puke.
                    •  Look, check my user name. (none)
                      I certainly want you to win, but I myself have no say in Democratic party tactics. Do what you like.

                      Personally, I think better marketing would be a great thing. I just supposed you'd like to be aware that you were saying something that wasn't exactly true, something that Iraqis, the people you wanted to compliment, would know wasn't true. They know their own history; assuming they won't know about the 1920s when Iraq threw off the British Mandate, is like assuming an American won't know about the Boston Tea Party. It was that kind of defining moment.

                      If you want to go on saying "first election" anyway, fine, your choice.

                      Massacre is not a family value.

                      by Canadian Reader on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 11:50:58 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

          •  TET began this past weekend (none)
            How ironic.
            All the same players are in Iraq as 'Nam.
            3rd brigade, 82nd, 101, 1st Inf., 25th inf., Cav.,the Herd.  
            All we need is the 4th and Americal, and we're there.
            •  I guess I didn't notice that Iraqi cities were (none)
              overrun by a main-line insurgent force attacking at will in the open, even reaching the outskirts of Baghdad, holding territory at battalion strength against sustained opposition.  

              You'll have to fill us in on the details.  Where is the big force of American troops who are surrounded, like the 6,000 at Khe San?  What is the horrendous new casualty rate on the American side?  1200 Americans died during January 1968 in Vietnam, nearly the total for all Americans who have died in the entire Iraq war, serving in a nation half again as big as Vietnam.

              Why are the insurgents choosing to sustain such high casualties among their men, as happened during Tet?  What is their political motive?, since whatever you believe is happening, it doesn't seem to be having any sudden impact on American opinion, as Tet did.  Do they have a reserve like the regular army that replaced the communist cadres after Tet destroyed much of the communist organization in the south?

              Or did you not understand what Tet was?  Was this just another empty post from a hollow uninformed person?

              •  the green zone is surrounded (none)
                the only real difference is Kevlar. Many more deaths and injuries would be present here were it not for Kevlar vests.  the planes take off and land in the exact same manner - they fall out of the sky onto the landing field. this is a much more stealthy enemy, and they are unwilling to sustain the level of casualties because they don't have to. there are too many more parallels than differences.  
      •  ahh, the old bait and switch (none)
        they told us it was to find WMD, a claim so unbolstered that none of us believed it, and we all therefore pointed to a more likely motivation -- oil.

        But those dastardly folks in the administration went and supported democracy instead.  Drats.

        Maybe you can tell I'm not very swayed by your argument.

        Again, we need to support Iraqi democracy against the cynicism of the administration.  The key element of this cynicism is that they've enshrined oil contracts and a security guarantee as principles that must be followed by the new government.  

        We need to support the Iraqis in their right to tell us to go home, and in their right to abrogate the contracts and reissue them to whatever corrupt scumbag oil companies they want to, including, but not limited to, our corrupt scumbag oil companies.

        •  Maybe (4.00)
          you're not persuaded by my argument because you haven't addressed it.  Perhaps you don't understand.  I tend to agree with most of what you said.  That doesn't change the fact we should all be celebrating the elections that took place yesterday.  
          •  I was really responding (none)
            to RobertinWisc, who complained that "America wasn't told we were invading to establish a verified paper trail ..."

            He seemed rather angry not at the thought the election might be unfair, imperfect or partial, but instead at the very idea that the outcome would be democracy.  I thought that was funny, and that was what I was responding to.  I have noticed some of your posts and I think I've agreed with much of what you've said as well.

    •  My thoughts exactly. (none)
      Turning American soldiers into mercenaries is bad whether its for oil or humanitarianism (as a cover for doing it for the oil or whatever ulterior motive).  
  •  Important Distinction (none)
    Like most here, I wish we hadn't invaded Iraq and agree with the allegation that the Bush Administration did a terrible job of post-war planning and execution.

    I know Vietnam/Iraqi analogies are popular here, but there is an important distinction that is being overlooked.  The 1967 election referred to in this New York Times article was for South Vietnam only.  Remember, the war the US was fighting back then was with North Vietnam (and, to a lesser extent, Viet Cong in South Vietnam).  At the time of this election, North Vietnam had a separate and fully functioning government with active support from the USSR.

    Those parallels aren't there for Iraq.  This was an election for the entire country of Iraq.  Turnout was higher (57% estimated) than in US presidential elections.  This election is not going to end the Sunni-led insurgency overnight and no one ever claimed it would.  There will be a lot of ugly days ahead.  But, for the first time in a long while, I feel slightly optimistic about the future there.  Perhaps, we can get our soldiers out of there in the next few years for starters.

    •  Next few years... (none)
      with thousands more dead on both sides.

      Apparently for many of us it suddenly matters less as to how we got here, then that we are here. Whereever here is. Oh lets see:  Elections in Iraq? After 100,000 and more, and counting, dead (on the Iraqi side), a destroyed infrastructure, bills to pay that will come due here in the United States in terms of an exploding deficit.

      Apparently we are well trained to salivate when there is a vote. Nevermind that we aren't sure of our own elections in recent years.

      The one bit of optimism I feel is that the Iraqis would vote to kick us out, immediately. I'm not sure this is going to happen though when people like Chalabi are getting elected. Otherwise,
      please tell me why I should be feeling optimistic?

    •  However (none)
      As you point out the Sunni regions did not participate. That means a whole swathe of the country not involved, and of course the Kurds wanting autonomy of their region which includes towns with Sunni majorities and the Shia wanting control of the whole country will lead to stability. Actually very similar to the farce in S. Vietnam
      •  Response (none)
        With respect to the sunni regions, turnout was not as high as it was in the Shiite or Kurdish areas no question.  I have read that turnout was approximately 40%, which is comparable to what you would see in a midterm election here in the US.
        •  Wait and see (none)
          I think your 40% in the Sunni region is a bit high. The estimates for Fallujah were well under 10%.
          •  I think 40% is probably way too high (none)
            but I still don't see the parallel with Vietnam.

            In Vietnam, about the only segments of the population not overwhelmingly sympathetic to the nationalist/communist vietcong were the franco-phone catholics and the montagnards.

            By contrast, in Iraq today, only a small minority IS partial to the insurgency.  

            In April and May of 04, it looked like the adminisration's chickens were coming home to roost.  But that time ended.  They have lucked out thus far, and we get nowhere saying things are worse than they are.

            The large swaths of country you refer to are mostly desert.  The largest population areas held safe elections yesterday.  All those silly reports the read "sure, only of4 provinces are unsafe for the election -- BUT THEY'RE THE 4 PROVINCES WITH A MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE" depended on counting Baghdad itself as unsafe.  But even prior to the election, it was clear that much of Baghdad would vote.  That turned out to be true.  Violence was not an impediment to voting in the capital yesterday.  

        •  40% is just a bush/allawi number (none)
          we have no idea what the turnout was yet

          "...their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom" MLK

          by jethropalerobber on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 02:47:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Question (none)
      Is Vietnam a democracy today?
      •  Response (none)
        RobertInWisconsin, your question ignores the distinction I made above.  The South Vietnamese election only occurred in South Vietnam.  The North Vietnamese government was already fully functioning and had upwards of 60,000 Russian "advisors" on-hand to help war preparations.

        I don't know if Iraq will turn out to be a full-fledged democracy.  There is a decent chance that civil war will erupt.  However, I am hoping for the best.

        •  Look (none)
          Today there is NO South Vietnam.

          Vietnam is a communist country 40 years later.

          That was and is my point.

          •  there was no South Vietnam (4.00)
            ever.  It was always a figment of the imagination of French and American regimes.  Vietnamese didn't believe in it.  South and North, most always believed that the rightful Vietnamese government was Ho Chi Minh's.  The revolving corruptions of Diem and Thieu and the generals were seen as a false choice.

            By contrast, Iraq is a country that many people feel loyalty to, even some Kurds.  Overwhelmingly, these people do not believe the insurgency is the rightful government.  Many of them do believe that a government with the backing of Ayatollah Sistani would be a legitimate government.  They seem to believe they are moving towards that.  

            Whatever your point is in reference to Vietnam, it doesn't offer much insight into what has gone wrong in Iraq.

        •  Does it really even matter? (none)
          There are a lot of places that are fully functioning and working just fine without being american style democracies.
    •  not that it negates everything you say (none)
      but we have no idea what the turnout was at this point.

      "...their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom" MLK

      by jethropalerobber on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 02:45:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Was that candidate catholic? (none)
    Was this the guy whom we put up to the task who was Catholic in a budhist country?
    •  Yes (none)
      Thieu was a Catholic in an overwhelmingly Buddhist country. His vice president, Ky, was a Buddhist.

      They both were given sanctuary in the U.S. after the war. Ky opend a liquor store in Arlington, VA.

      Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey

      by willyr on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 09:36:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The privileged classes in South Vietnam (4.00)
      had obtained their privileges through the French colonial adminstration before and after WW II. They were predominantly Catholic, spoke French as well as Vietnamese, and had usually been educated in Europe. Their goal, as a class, was to make use of the naive Americans to retain their land-holding privileges, and the status quo.

      The vast majority of people in South Vietnam were poor, and Buddhist. They wanted land reform.

      This is such a common scenario in a third world country, you'd think the US would have developed a more effective strategy for dealing with it than blindly opposing any and all populist movements. Looking back on the 20th century, the US has been pretty solidly on the side of entrenched privilege and continued injustice in almost any poor country you care to name.

      And it didn't have to be that way. Look at a minor curiosity in Iraq's elections now: the Communist party slate is secular, yes, and... pro-US! Check into the history of a lot of nationalist, populist movements that were also, or later became, Communist: most of them initially looked to the United States for support, with great hope. Yes, even in China. But the US always turned its back, and would not help.

      Massacre is not a family value.

      by Canadian Reader on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 10:09:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Martin Lawrence said it best in House party (none)
    De ja Vu like a motherf*cker!!!

    Chance favors the prepared mind.

    by hypnyx on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 08:31:19 AM PST

  •  Food for thought (3.80)
    Via Baghdad Burning :

    People in many areas are being told that if they don't vote- Sunnis and Shia alike- the food and supply rations we are supposed to get monthly will be cut off. We've been getting these rations since the beginning of the nineties and for many families, it's their main source of sustenance. What sort of democracy is it when you FORCE people to go vote for someone or another they don't want?
    •  exactly (none)
      I'm happy for those iraqi people but it appears that Sistani and others are forcing them to vote. I'm glad hundreds werent killed yesterday, but just as it says, what is the point if there is this much coercion. Not to mention that a city on lockdown still ended up with 44 dead.

      The last thing this country needs is two Republican parties.-Ted Kennedy

      by jj32 on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 08:49:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good find (none)
    Excellent leg, er, finger work patachon!

    I went ahead and sent a link to this post to Olbermann at MSNBC. Let them try to verify it on their own ;-)

  •  History doesn't repeat itself...but it rhymes. (4.00)
    {Puts fingers in ears}



    Sean Hannity

  •  Insights from Raimondo (3.75)
    Justin Raimondo at offers this analysis on the turnout;

    Although results are not in, and won't be for at least 24 hours, preliminary figures indicate a turnout of anywhere from half to 60 percent of registered voters, especially heavy in Shi'ite and Kurdish regions. The voter registration list consisted of nearly 14 million names in the food-ration public-distribution database, and the implication that if you didn't vote you didn't get your ration card renewed was less than subtle. As Khalid, a young Iraqi blogger, related:

    "[T]he way the voting happened, is that you go to the voting center, and you go to the man that is your ration dealer, the one that you take the ration from him every month, so you tell him that you are gonna vote, he marks your name on his list, and then you vote!!!
    that way the goverment will know exactly who voted and who didnt, two dealers said that the next years' card won't be given to those who didnt vote.."

    That so many registered voters didn't show up at the polls, in spite of this sort of intimidation, should tell us something about the depth of the split that sunders Iraqi society. The nonvoters – in this context, the complete rejectionists – polled more than any single party. This result should dampen the oddly artificial triumphalism of the moment and let us give thought to what this election portends.; an oasis of truth.

    by Shockwave on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 08:43:45 AM PST

  •  democracy - whose? (none)
    Another often missed parallel is just the sheer naivety of US policy makers who in both cases thought Democracy was what was wanted and that the local people would immediately embrace US style democracy and select exactly the leaders the US wanted and would exactly follow US policy.
    This naivety or arguably imperialism has been an identifiable common thread of nearly all our foreign policy.
    Those people in Iraq are not out voting for unknown candidates as a show of support for the whole US misadventure as reported on countless news stations. The majority are voting because their theological leaders ordered them to. Sometimes I wonder if anyone in our country has ever winessed an election in even a non-western country let alone a war zone. Mind you our own elections are not exactly anything to be proud of.
  •  What's a good way to make wingnuts look it up? (none)
    Would saying things like:

    The different voter turnouts in Vietnam and Iraq prove that Iraq is not like Vietnam.

    make them look it up?

    Maybe they'd just make up their own facts.

    •  And the wonderful surprise they would have (none)
      ...would be discovering Vietnam had a much higher participation and turn-out, even without a vote or starve Mafia tactic employed by the US this time.

      Just more evidence reality has an anti-Bush/FReeper bias.


      Mitch Gore

      Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

      by Lestatdelc on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 09:47:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Before you go pointing fingers (none)
        you better make sure.

        The 83% figure for that Vietnamese election was a percentage of registered voters.  It constituted closer to 57% of the eligible population.

        The prediction ahead of time was that the Iraq vote would get 57% of the eligible population.  Many are now saying it was closer to 60%.  The Election Administration there says 60-75%, and we'll know in a week.  Others here are saying 50-60%.  At any rate, the figure is clearly not much higher as you state.

        •  The source for the 57% eligible you cite is? (none)
          Point taken about comparing registered % vs. eligible, but given that there is no solid reporting on the registration of Iraqis to vote vs. the "eligible" Iraqi voter, somewhat of a slippery argument as a whole (categorically).

          Again, your point is well taken though.


          Mitch Gore

          Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

          by Lestatdelc on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 12:47:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  more info (4.00)
    another great source for Vietnam docs:

    I found this one interesting:

    Political Development in South Vietnam

    some 83%, or 4.8 million of the 5.8 million registered voters actually voted... They comprised 57% of the entire voting age population

    This passage makes it unclear whether the 4.8 million is 57% or the 5.8 million, but earlier in the article, it is stated that the total voting populace was around 8.25 million

    In any case

    The slate of Chief of State Thieu and Prime Minister Ky received 35% of the vote.. A simple plurality was required for election

    Ok, so they got 1.68 million votes (4.8*.35). So, the total voters for the "winning" ticket represented 20% of the entire voting populace. (1.68 mil/8.25 mil)  

    Yep, that's American Style Democracy in action alright.

    A total of 480 Candidates, representing all of Vietnam's non-communist groups

    So Communist candidates were not allowed to run?  If the voice of the insurgency is denied a voice in elections (i.e. the Sunni), what makes us think that they will be able to blend into the government?

    I think this whole thread is a great exercise in understanding how numbers and statistics can be used to advantage in creating a perception.  

    How would that NYT article have looked if it led off with "A new president of South Vietnam was elected with only 20% of the support of the voting populace"

    So the first attempt at Iraqi "elections" came off without hundreds of people being killed.  I am happy about that.  Yet all the media reports I saw focused almost entirely on the feel good aspect of elections as if the act of voting was all that mattered.   They had "elections" under Saddam Hussein too.

    It's the results matter.  It's waaay too early to tell whether what happened yesterday will have any long term beneficial impact on the political future of the country.  

    I'm just sick of the "celebrating" by the right at each step along the way of this tragedy filled road to American style democracy by force.  

    I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take this anymore!

    by MarkinNC on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 09:40:24 AM PST

    •  again (none)
      the communists controlled much of the countryside at that point.  Their leader, Ho Chi Minh, was the established nationalist leader of vietnam, who first came to power as the Japanese retreated, but then was kicked out by the allies.  He controlled half of the country outright, and most people in the rest of the country knew that he was the legitimate leader of one nation - Vietnam - regardless of what they might be suffering and why they might choose to vote for one or another of the cliques on the ballot in 1967.

      Whereas, nobody here and few people in Iraq believe the Sunni are the rightful rulers of Iraq.  There is an enormous difference between the two situations.

      •  Umm (none)
        how much of the country do we control when they can put suicide bombers/mortar/rocket/snipers whereever they want?

        I do not think that Viet Nam analogy is perfect, but only a fool would ignore the resonances.

        I fear many here are falling into the same trap that they fell into in April of 03 when they felt "we broke it and now we have to fix it" They didn't understand what had just happened, so they didn't know what  will happen next.

        Anyone who is reading only the NYT (or gasp MSGOP) is not well informed. Before everyone here gets on  the "it wasn't perfect, but don't criticize to give the new governmeant chance" train please go visit Juan Cole and follow his links and read.

        Emancipate yourself from Mental Slavery, No one but ourselves can free our Minds.

        by TustonDAZ on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 12:49:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  substitution??? (none)

    --> Vietnam with Iraq
    --> Vietcong with Insurgents
    --> Saigon with Bagdhad
    --> Military candidates with interim council
    --> Cao Ky with Allawi
    --> South Vietnamese with Iraqi
    --> South Vietnam with Iraq
    --> President Johnson with President Bush

    You get the picture???

    No more gooper LITE!

    by krwada on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 12:18:37 PM PST

  •  Kudos to patachon (none)
    Ed Schultz just mentioned this on his program. He's carried by the local AirAmerica affliliate.
  •  Exactly. It's all propaganda. (none)
    When the media has brought us such fraudulent stories as Jessica Lynch (Rambette Warrior) and the pulled-down Saddam statue, how can one possibly believe the stories about a massive Iraqi turnout freely voting for their candidates of choice - who, I predict, will be Allawi's men. The fix was in during 1967 Vietnam and the fix is in now.
  •  The more things change ... (none)
    the more Repugs stay the same: ignorant, selfish, and defiant of the truth.

    Bush won't learn from this, though ... any more than he ever learns from anything else.

    1/20/09 can't possibly arrive soon enough---for the people of the world.

  •  what triumph there is... (4.00)
    ...belongs to sistani, who called this election.

    don't let bush take credit for something that never would have happened if he's had his plan A (or B or C).

    "...their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom" MLK

    by jethropalerobber on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 02:01:30 PM PST

    •  I wonder what Bush Plan E will be? (none)
      Now that Sistani may have backed Bush into a corner on Plan D.
    •  that is a great point (none)
      that this is Sistani's election, not Bushco's.

      Remember that initially the administration tried to turn its back on Sistania and isolate him, while dealing primarily with its idiot-savant expats.

      Had we chosen Sistani from the start, we might actually be out by now.  But that would have required different men that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their ilk.

  •  It's about the will to fight (4.00)
    not the will to vote.

    It's no surprise to me at all that people will participate in an election.  That's not the problem we have in Iraq.

    The issue is a group that is determined to take power by violence, and which is large and determined enough to make its presence felt.  

    The big mistake made by the neocons was believing that Saddam's group was a relatively small faction that would give up after they lost power.  Even assuming (and I have no problem believing it) that the vast majority of Iraqis are happy Saddam was overthrown, obviously there is a significant bunch that liked things the way they were, and is determined to make its feelings known.

    To me, this is the most troublesome parallel with Vietnam:  In this internal power struggle, the side we are fighting is determined and capable.  The side we are backing--not so much.  Now why the hell is that?

    Now I got no problem saying there are good guys and bad guys in Iraq.  And let's put aside the issues (moral, legal, practical) whether the US should be spending its resources helping the good guys.  What's deeply troubling is that the good guys seem content to let us do all the fighting.  

    The Shi'a and Kurds did show courage by voting under dangerous conditions.  But unless they show--quickly--that they are prepared to take on their own defense against the Sunni/Baathists, well the election was nice, but it is literally not the real battle.

    •  Idle speculation/pure fantasy? (none)
      What if Iraq actually has a coordinated plan to get the US out of their country?  

      • Shias remain "reasonable", but relentlessly arm-twist CPA/Bushco to hold  real elections; ready to go ape-shit if election is rigged.
      • Sunnis play "Bad Cops" to keep pressure on Bush to "go through motions" of "March for Democracy" election to keep folks back home satified.
      • Kurds stay neutral, keep options open and  ready to jump to whichever side is winning.
    •  this too, is an important point (none)
      and one that argues against my veiled optimism.

      I wish we were arguing in a debate that comgbined your insights and those of jethropalerobber's, about this being Sistani's election, instead of all this nihilist "elections are meaningless" crap.

      •  If this is the real game going on in Iraq, (none)
        what would Bushco's next move be?

        • Infiltrate/neutralize/puppetize new (Shia-loaded) government
        • Set up a nominal coalition government that keeps Iraqis essentially powerless, and US in control
        • Get Shias, Sunnis, fighting each other so they can't unite and fight US occupation together
        • ?
    •  Excellent point (none)
      That is an excellent point, and a very real parallel to Vietnam that I had not thought of before . . . Amid the confusion and smokescreens and lies, a good answer to your question of "why the hell not" is going to be hard to determine. Yet I think that on this topic the Vietnam precedent offers a guide for telltale signs to watch out for.

      In Vietnam, the chief causes of ARVN pusillanimity were A) top-to-bottom corruption in the chain of command (ARVN generals obtained field commands by paying huge bribes to the Saigon govt, financed in turn by setting up extortion rackets in their districts), and B) a conviction by the Saigon govt that the ARVN's purpose was to thwart coups and protect the govt against its internal rivals rather than fight the Communist insurgency.

      Can we see such factors at play in Iraq? Certainly there are reports of massive corruption in the Iraqi govt. (The planeload of cash to Beirut for arms that never arrived; the  $9 bil allocated by the CPA to Iraqi ministries with no auditing or accouning)

  •  hoping for another summer of love... (4.00)
    as long as history is repeating itself, can we have some of the good parts, too?
  •  Has anyone posted a link... (none)
    to Juan Cole on the elections. He has an excellent report; it is not to be missed:

    The idea, mentioned by Condoleeza Rice on Sunday, that any significant number of Fallujans voted, is absurd and insulting. Most of the 250,000 Fallujans are still in exile, and the city is still occasionally the scene of fighting. There are reports of some voting in refugee camps outside the city. It is almost certainly motivated by a desire to have a legitimate, elected government that could effectively demand a US withdrawal.

    Although some observers seem to be optimistic about the Sunni Arab vote, from what I could find out Sunday night, the signs were not actually good.

    As for the neighbors, this Turkish author clearly fears both the religiosity of the Shiite party and the possible subnationalism of the Kurds.

    In contrast, Iran clearly expects to benefit from the likely Shiite victory in the elections.

    posted by Juan @ 1/31/2005 06:18:21 AM

    Also, Kucinich's predictions five days before the elections:

    It is clear, in just five days before the Iraqi elections are to be held, that it will be impossible to conclude anything about the extent to which corruption, voter intimidation or outright fraud will mar the results. The exercise will regrettably be a farce. The results will have no recognized legitimacy whatsoever, and surely do not merit association with the United States' notions of democracy.

    "The elections will not yield certifiable results due to the pitifully small number of election observers, and the total absence of international election observers from the process. Indeed, according to the Washington Post, this is the first transitional election in the past two decades that will not have international election observers touring polling stations. As you know, international monitors have independently observed and evaluated elections throughout the world and have helped to point out when they are fraudulent and when they are legitimate."

    In previous transitional elections across the world, the international community has sent teams of observers to polling sites. International observers have observed recent transitional elections in Nigeria in 1999, Haiti in 1990, East Timor in 2001-2002, and most recently in the second runoff election in the Ukraine.  

  •  Voting does not equal support for US occupation (none)
    Bush & his band of media sycophants are trying to portray this election as if voting indicates vindication of the American actions in Iraq, and therefore vindication of Bush & his invasion.

    But this is nonsense.  I'm sure an opinon poll taken of those Iraqi's who voted would find the same kind of condemnation of the US occupation that other polls there consistently find.  As Juan Cole points out, one major motivating factor for those who did vote in Iraq was to create an Iraqi government with enough real sovereignty and autonomy to boot the US forces out.

    Bush & his neoconmen are well aware that every step toward real democracy and self-rule in Iraq is a step closer to getting rid of the Americans and the bundle of "laws" Bremer left behind to sabotage any future government and prevent it from reversing the corporate/US plunder and control of the country.  A free autonomous Iraq would be the death knell for the neocon fantasy of American imperial rule in Iraq and the middle east.

    So while they're happy to claim credit now for any semblance of democracy that the election may possess, they're probably shitting bricks at the possibility that despite their best efforts this election, or more seriously the next one, will somehow manage to reflect the real will of the Iraqi people -- a will that is inevitably diametrically opposed to the neocons' diabolical plans for the nation and the region.  

    Of course the US occupation authorities will be rigging the vote as much as they can over the coming days of vote-counting, but I suspect they won't find it as easy as it was in the November US presidential election, cuz in Iraq they have pretty much zero friends to help them get away with it.  Even would-be thuggish dictators don't trust the US and want to be as free of American interference as possible.

  •  What's Your Point? (none)
    That we were right to abandon our Vietnamese allies? Should we do the same to the Iraqis? This is a bad analogy, anyway. The Iraq war is nothing like Viet Nam.
  •  wow! (none)
    This just aired on Olbermann.
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