Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Iraqi Elections - A Roundup

  • "We got our purple fingers updated!" - a roundup of election news and on-the-spot reports from Omar @ Iraq The Model Dec. 16, 2005.
  • Elections - Now and Then, by Greyhak. Mudville Gazette: "If it bleeds it leads, they say. And today it did not. So it's what that story doesn't say that tells you everything you need to know about today. . . ."

  • When the sense of history overwhelms, by Jeff Harrell (The Shape of Days):
    My roommate said to me last night, “I’m surprised you didn’t write more about the Iraqi election.” I tried to explain. My excuse is as simple as it is embarrassing: I’m overwhelmed.

    How many different ways are there to say “historic moment?” How many different ways can you say that a nation was born yesterday? If I were writing a speech, I’d have all the high-minded rhetoric and soaring oratory you could ask for. But to try to write about it casually, in my own voice . . .

  • It’s Electric! "U.S. troops describe a festive atmosphere across Iraq," says W. Thomas Smith Jr. NRO National Review Online December 15, 2005:
    "On this side of the world, saying something and coming through and doing it means a great deal," U.S. Marine Maj. Neil F. Murphy Jr., spokesman for Multi-National Force West at Camp Fallujah, tells National Review Online. "Iraqis know that we mean what we say by staying and helping them get on their feet."

    Consequently, he adds, "The Iraqi people are looking at this [election day] like an actual holiday." Not in the sense that it need not be taken seriously, but in the sense of what one Iraqi army soldier said: "This is the first time in my whole life I got to choose the government of my country!"

    What? The elections held by Saddam Hussein with a nearly 100% vote of support didn't count?

  • Highlights: Iraqi journalists & bloggers on the ground for Iraqi elections Compiled in Los Angeles from reporters and bloggers for Pajamas Media including: I.S. in Karbala; W.Z. in Erbil; A.S. in Najaf; N.R. in Mosul; A.D. in Basra; A.T. in Babil; W.A., Omar and Mohammed in Baghdad. Dec. 15, 2005.

  • Congressman Jack Kingston relays a note from a U.S. military official with his observations and experience of the elections.

  • Hassan Kharrufa has photos of his family, including one of this proud Iraqi:
    Even my 85 year old grandfather, who had much trouble walking, came with us to cast his vote. Although the walk was very hard on him, but he pulled himself together and managed to reach the poll centre. . . . He was treated like a king there. He sat in a chair, and they brought the pen and ballot paper to him. He chose his list, gave it to them, they folded it, and put it in the box. Then they brought him the ink pot.

  • "The Truth on the Ground", by Major Ben Connable. U.S. Marine Corps. Washington Post Dec. 14, 2005:
    When I told people that I was getting ready to head back to Iraq for my third tour, the usual response was a frown, a somber head shake and even the occasional "I'm sorry." When I told them that I was glad to be going back, the response was awkward disbelief, a fake smile and a change of subject. The common wisdom seems to be that Iraq is an unwinnable war and a quagmire and that the only thing left to decide is how quickly we withdraw. Depending on which poll you believe, about 60 percent of Americans think it's time to pull out of Iraq.

    How is it, then, that 64 percent of U.S. military officers think we will succeed if we are allowed to continue our work? Why is there such a dramatic divergence between American public opinion and the upbeat assessment of the men and women doing the fighting?"

  • “’The Wrong Shall Fail’” - text of President George W. Bush's address to the nation on Sunday, December 18, 2005, as released by the White House. Dec. 18, 2005.
  • "Happy Days!" - Robert Kagan and William Kristol The Weekly Standard Dec. 26, 2005:
    Has this one election settled everything, or even anything? Is Iraq now safely on the path to a durable democracy? Of course not. One voter told a New York Times reporter, "Iraqis aren't used to democracy, we have to learn it." True enough. They will have to learn it, and this learning process will take time and be attended by many backward steps, many errors, and many crises. But now, at least, they have a chance.

    Iraqis would not have had that chance had the United States chosen to leave Saddam Hussein in power. They would not have had that chance if American troops had been withdrawn or reduced from the already inadequate levels established after the invasion in 2003. And they will lose that chance if the United States now begins a hasty reduction of forces. Burns reports that even Sunnis unhappy with the American presence favor only a "gradual drawdown," and only if Iraq has achieved a sufficient level of security and stability. "Let's have stability, and then the Americans can go home," one Iraqi store owner told Burns. Informed that President Bush was saying exactly the same thing, this man replied: "Then Bush has said it correctly".

  • And in the words of one Iraqi Betty Dawisha:
    Anybody who doesn’t appreciate what America has done and President Bush, let them go to hell”