Democrats & Liberals Archives

So, What's It All Mean?

Well, the voting went better than expected. Only about 44 people were killed, I didn’t see any figures on the wounded.

Of 14.2 million eligible voters, an estimated 8 million (56%) - mostly Shiite and Kurdish - voters went to the polls. The numbers have been changing fairly quickly, from 72% down to 60% of registered voters, so it’ll be interesting to see what the final “official” number will be. Most Sunnis apparently abstained.

As hopeful as a 56% turnout of eligible voters is (it could have been worse), President Bush is calling the vote a victory. It seems a little foolish to call a 56% turnout a victory so quickly, especially since lack of security left the Sunni population disenfranchised. That'll come back to haunt us.

And it looks like the foreign press are the only ones reporting on the voting "irregularities",

At the Al-Khazrajiya school in the city's old quarter, Najat Ridha, 48, was ushered into a classroom and handed two ballots, one for the national assembly and another for the local provincial council.

An election worker suggested she vote for list 285 headed by interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and a local list headed by governor Duraid Kashmula.

She ticked the boxes obligingly and walked out - just as Zahra Ibrahim, 60, did before her.

"I really just did what they asked me to do," she said as the Iraqi national anthem crackled on a loudspeaker in the background.

Yikes! Can you imagine what would happen if US voters got that kind of "help" from an election official? But we already know the Bush administration's view on voting irregularities, don't we?

Seriously, if this had happened in a Venezuelan election, everybody from James Baker to Jimmy Carter would be all over it. In Iraq... Hey, at least some people made some marks on paper, right? Mission accomplished.

I also see where US and Shiite officials are considering the addition of Sunni politicians to the list, ex post facto. For one, it makes me wonder why those 44 people had to die if these guys are just going to negotiate seats amongst themselves with no regard for the actual outcome of the election. And then, I wonder which parties will have to give up seats to accommodate them.

But the important thing is, we invaded Iraq on the false pretense that there were WMD and terrorists there... Oh no wait... The important thing is, Iraqi's, for the first time since 1953, got a chance to vote for more than one person with a yes-no next to his name.

Actually they got to vote for a couple hundred numbers with no names attached, none of which made any sense to them because there wasn't the time or security to create an informed electorate. Luckily, the interim government (i.e. - the major candidates) had election officials available to tell the people which number to select.

"Iraqis don't know who they're voting for, but they know one thing - they're voting on their future," said Salam Majeed, an Iraqi-born city councilman from suburban Philadelphia

Welcome to the club, and best wishes. It'll be interesting to see how it all turns out.

Posted by American Pundit at January 31, 2005 6:21 AM