Saturday, January 29, 2005

It's official...

Iraqis are voting! I congratulate them and wish them well.

Update 1/30/05: Polls are closed. An early report of up to 72% turn out seems to have been somewhat high. Estimates now peg the number at 60% of eligible voter turn out, or about 8 million. Pretty impressive considering the threats of carnage by al Zarqawi, even in the Sunni Triangle. Sadly, there were 35 innocents killed plus 9 dead bombing scum reported but even in Fallujah, women and men came out to vote! If this is all al Zarqawi has left in his atrocious bag of tricks, he's on the tail end of his joy ride. Little Green Footballs has two emails from Iraq that are definitely worth a read.

21 Comments:

Blogger Jeff said...

The link on the very bottom of your page needs:

(less than symbol)/a(greater than symbol)

at the end of it...

1/30/2005 03:23:00 AM  
Blogger Lumo said...

Hi!

http://motls.blogspot.com/2005/01/iraqi-elections.html...

Here I describe all the parties that participate, and try to judge who are the good and bad guys.

1/30/2005 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

Thank you. I'm sure there are lots of blogs like yours; they're just hard to find. So many of the ones I run across are harshly partisan and full of petty attacks on whole imaginary groups of people. Anyway, just wanted to encourage you to keep up the good work.

1/30/2005 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

An interesting historical note:

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.

. . . 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.

1/31/2005 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Craig R. Harmon said...

Hopefully, Zarqawi and Co. are not the equivalent of the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong. I honestly don't believe that they are.

First of all, their numbers are much smaller as a percentage of the total population. The numbers are more like 20% Sunni, 80% Shia.

Second, the Sunnis, due to their long recent history of oppression of the Shia. There is a true hatred of Sunnis among Shia. They are unlikely to be willing to be bullied into the old arrangement.

Part of the problem in Vietnam was the feeling among many of the South Vietnamese that the political/philosophical issues between Democracy and Communism were less important than being rid of the foreign troops. At least that's what they thought before the Viet Cong overran the South and set upon their murderous and destructive retaliation. The large (in the millions) numbers of refugees fleeing the country for Democratic America afterwards shows that many South Vietnamese underwent a slight revision of their estimate of the political/philosophical distinctions between Democracy and Communism.

I very much doubt that the Shia will make the same mistake.

If your point is that we mustn't "over-hype" the importance of these elections (thank you very much, Senator Kerry), I truely do not think that that is possible in this case.

Here is my hope regarding these elections: that it will be seen as legitimate by the international community and by the great majority of Iraqis; that nations that currently are contributing little or nothing at all to the Iraq situation will relent and at least participate in training of Iraqi Military and Police; that Iraqis will co-operate less with the "insurgents" and to a greater degree in driving them out and defeating them.

Of course, only time will tell but I am optimistic.

1/31/2005 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Hopefully, Zarqawi and Co. are not the equivalent of the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong. I honestly don't believe that they are.Of course they aren't the same; however, there are some very important parallels like the basis for our invasion was false, the cause we were told that we were fighting for was different than the real cause, and the enemy is much more dangerous than we give credit for. Ultimately we lost in Vietnam and the country became Communist and the dominoe effect didn't happen. Why wouldn't Iraq parallel that?

First of all, their numbers are much smaller as a percentage of the total population. The numbers are more like 20% Sunni, 80% Shia.Perhaps this (and the modern body armor and lack of a jungle) accounts for the smaller death toll in Iraq compared to Vietnam.

Second, the Sunnis, due to their long recent history of oppression of the Shia. There is a true hatred of Sunnis among Shia. They are unlikely to be willing to be bullied into the old arrangement.Perhaps they are likely to end up bullying the Shiites. While we're talking hypotheticals could you not see a case where this ends in genocide?

Part of the problem in Vietnam was the feeling among many of the South Vietnamese that the political/philosophical issues between Democracy and Communism were less important than being rid of the foreign troops. At least that's what they thought before the Viet Cong overran the South and set upon their murderous and destructive retaliation. The large (in the millions) numbers of refugees fleeing the country for Democratic America afterwards shows that many South Vietnamese underwent a slight revision of their estimate of the political/philosophical distinctions between Democracy and Communism.And in Iraq, for many, having a Democracy is less important than getting American troops out. The Viet Cong rampaged those who were with the Americans in the war after the war was over that 1) isn't much of a surprise, 2) would make anyone want to leave there for America (besides the South Vietnamese were the non-communists anyhow), and 3) shows you what could happen when the Sunnis take power

I very much doubt that the Shia will make the same mistake.Why?

If your point is that we mustn't "over-hype" the importance of these elections (thank you very much, Senator Kerry), I truely do not think that that is possible in this case.Weren't you trying to stay away from that kind of think on this blog? My point is not that we shouldn't over-hype it, my point is that this election has a very interesting parallel in history. We were in Vietnam for 5 years after that election, some of the heaviest fighting of the war occurred after that election. Ultimately, we pulled our troops out after not having completed our objectives and we left the citizens of that country to be slaughtered. There is absolutely no good reason to think that (or the reverse of that) wouldn't happen in Iraq.

Here is my hope regarding these elections: that it will be seen as legitimate by the international community and by the great majority of Iraqis; that nations that currently are contributing little or nothing at all to the Iraq situation will relent and at least participate in training of Iraqi Military and Police; that Iraqis will co-operate less with the "insurgents" and to a greater degree in driving them out and defeating them.One can hope I suppose.

Of course, only time will tell but I am optimistic.I hope you can blog just how wrong I was about all of this one day.

1/31/2005 05:30:00 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Meh, the formatting didn't end up like I wanted it to. Italicized are your comments, regular are mine.

1/31/2005 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger Craig R. Harmon said...

Yes, there are similarities. My point was not that I thought that you thought that the North Vietnamese were the same as the Iraqis. What I took from your first post was that the fate of Iraq's democracy was as likely to succeed as Vietnam's. That may not have been your point and I apologize if I have attributed to you intentions that were not your own. My comments in response were my reasons why I am more bullish on Iraq's chances of weathering its insurgency, whatever the parallels between Iraq and Vietnam and I stand by them.

Certainly, the smaller percentage of insurgents accounts for the smaller numbers of dead in Iraq. They also account for my optimism regarding the chances that democracy will succeed in Iraq and my confidence that the insurgency will fail. I simply do not believe that the much smaller number of terrorists will succeed.

To expand upon that, the large turn-out of voters over-all says to me that the majority will not stand for it. The fact that, in areas where the population consists of Sunnis and Shia, Sunnis participated in the elections in spite of the call for Sunnis to boycott, tells me that, even among the minority Sunni community, the lure of self-determination is stronger than centuries-long religious hatred. Heck, even in some areas under terrorist control, a surprising number of Sunnis voted. A majority of people so willing to risk life and limb to involve themselves in a process so hateful to al Zarqawi et al. are, in my opinion, unlikely to allow murderous thugs defeat them.

Certainly, any talk of what might happen in Iraq is hypothetical, the trick is to hypothesize an outcome and then give reasons based upon what we think we know from the past and present to defend our hypothesis. Of course the Shiite majority might end up bullying or even committing genocide against the Sunni minority. My hypothesis is that this will not occur. For reasons I put forth the following:

The Shiites are religious people who have long known oppression. That is not to say that religious people cannot engage in vengeful violence, of course, they can. However, Shiites also tend to be less extremist than Sunnis. I believe that their desire for a just society, which would be antithetical to oppression of minorities let alone genocide, will win out over their desire for revenge.

The insurgents have gone out of their way to prod the Shia into violent response against the Sunnis. The Grand Ayatollah al Sistani, the most respected Shiite clergy in Iraq, has ever been a moderating voice urging against retribution. Could he be waiting until the occupation ends and our troops, which would be sure to intercede to stop the violence, leave before beginning such actions? Yes, but I do not believe it. He has a history of religious writtings and decisions that, I believe, show a propensity for moderation.

Furthermore, al Sistani has been insistent that the Sunnis be represented in the elected governing body, no matter how few Sunnis vote. He recognizes that any civilized society must represent all within the society. These simply are not the ideas that lead to oppression, but to justice in the best sense of the word.

Yes, I know that it was the North Vietnamese that were the Communists. My point was that many South Vietnamese cooperated with the Viet Cong, thinking that life under Communism could be no worse than life under civil war. After the overrun, many learned otherwise the hard way. Many others left because they learned the easy way, i. e., they could still leave because they were still alive. And yes this could happen when the Shia take over, but for the reasons I mention above, I do not believe it will.

Yes, the jab at Senator Kerry is what I was trying to avoid here at Continuum. Thanks for calling me on it.

I have attempted to detail what I believe to be very good reasons to believe that what happened in Vietnam will not happen in Iraq. Furthermore, as you state, what happened in Vietnam happened because the American people lost the will to complete our mission there and insisted that we pull out. I believe that whatever party or parties end up ruling Iraq, they will not make the mistake of insisting upon multi-national troop pull out before a.) there is stability in Iraq and b.) the Iraqi Police and Troops are capable of securing their own peace. Civil war, with Iran and Syria contributing to that war, is simply not in the government's best interest.

Could I be wrong? Could your hypothesis prove more accurate than mine? Yes, it could. These, however, are the reasons I believe it will not.

1/31/2005 07:29:00 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Something more to think about (hat tip to Cursor)...

Iraqi Elections: Bush's "Resounding Success"On Sunday, President Bush declared Iraq’s first “free” elections a “resounding success.”Perhaps that is true on a political level for the Bush administration. Perhaps it is true symbolically for the people of Iraq and even for the greater Middle East. However, beyond the political rhetoric and symbolism regarding the elections in Iraq, were they really a success, much less a resounding one?

First of all, there is serious question about how democratic the elections actually were. There were over 7,000 candidates on the ballot. Many of those candidates, for security reasons, were not even named on the ballot. Instead, candidates were grouped into lists, such as a “main Shia list,” several other Shia lists, Kurdish lists, and so on. In other words, Iraqi voters were more or less compelled to vote for an ethnic group, national group, or religious faction. The make-up of the ballot essentially prevented Iraqis from voting for a particular person or political party.

Second, Iraqis do not and will not select their prime minister or president. Instead, Iraq’s elections created a 275 member National Assembly. The National Assembly will select a 3 member presidency council. The presidency council will then ultimately decide who will be Iraq’s prime minister. Although it is not set forth anywhere in Iraq’s “transitional law,” the presidency council and prime minister will be selected from the 275 member National Assembly.

Third, the elections in Iraq will not result in local representation for Iraqis. Under Paul Bremmer, the U.S. decided that rather than divide Iraq into localities, the entire country would be a single constituency. Thus, any candidate who receives a 275th of the nation-wide vote will get a seat on the National Assembly, regardless of how many other candidates are elected from the same locality. This system creates a distinct likelihood of over-representation at the national level for groups with high voter turn-out. Theoretically, therefore, Kurds may end up being over-represented nationally since security in northern Iraq is much better than in other areas of the country. While this would be good for the Kurds, who have been oppressed for decades, it would not sit well with either the Shia or Sunni populations.

Fourth, while exit polls of questionable accuracy indicate a 60% turn-out by registered voters, there are entire regions of Iraq that never had the opportunity to register. As of January 29, the eve of the elections, neither the residents of Falluja nor Mosul were registered to vote or even provided with the forms to do so. Iraq’s third largest city, Mosul is home to nearly three million Iraqis. With at least three million disenfranchised Iraqis, and with millions of Sunni Iraqis boycotting the elections, the legitimacy of the elections comes into serious question.

(Remember the animosity and divisiveness that resulted from the United States’ 2000 Presidential Election? Imagine the millions of democrats who disavowed Bush as their president. Imagine the millions of republicans who condemned these democrats as sore losers and against the democratic process. Now imagine both sides armed to the teeth and, partly as a result of deep ideological differences, willing to kill and die for their respective causes. Now amplify that by a factor of ten and you have just imagined the tip of the iceberg in Iraq.)

Fifth, the Independent Iraqi Electoral Commission, whose members were appointed by Bremmer before the U.S. handed over “power” in June, set the rules for the elections. The Commission has absolute power to bar any candidate or organization and has done so. Those who have been barred by the Commission received neither due process nor an explanation why. Thus, the U.S., through its proxy, established the rules for the election and determined who could and could not be a candidate therein. Additionally, the International Republican Institute (IRI), an offshoot of the U.S. Republican Party and advocate of “democracy building,” has funded certain Iraqi campaigns, giving a distinct advantage. (The IRI’s board of directors includes Senators John McCain and Chuck Hagel, Congressman Jim Kolbe, former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, and former Secretary of State Larry Eagleburger. The IRI has been linked to financial support provided to coups in Venezuela and Haiti.)

Sixth, and most significantly, a new Iraqi government does not mean a free Iraq. There is no free press in Iraq - stories must favor the government’s point of view. Press “disrespect” for U.S.-appointed prime minister Allawi is prohibited. Both Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya have been banned for their nonconformity. Furthermore, any new government is already bound by the laws enacted by the U.S. before handing “power” over to Allawi. For example, as with Sunday’s elections, the next plebiscite, to establish a permanent constitution, must proceed under Bremmer’s laws. Moreover, all of Iraq is to be privatized, open to 100% foreign ownership or leasehold for forty years. “All” of Iraq includes resources (think oil), amenities and public services. Additionally, the U.S. has made it perfectly clear that it will not permit Iraq to become a theocracy like Iran, regardless of what Iraqis might want. Having already invested over $100 billion and over 1,400 lives in the invasion and rebuilding of Iraq, the U.S. will not permit an Iraqi government that is contrary to U.S. interests.

Were the elections in Iraq a “resounding success?” Sure, if you are President Bush or someone who stands to make a buck (or a million) on a new stable, “democratic,” and completely privatized Iraq. If you happen to be an average Iraqi citizen, however, prepare to be disappointed.

(Special thanks to Jo Wilding at electronicIraq.net.)

1/31/2005 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger Craig R. Harmon said...

It beats the last ballot the Iraqis got to vote in, which amounted to:

Do you want:
1.) Saddam Hussein as President for life, or
2.) To be tortured and then you and your family to be murdered?

Voting required upon pain of death.

It's all a matter of perspective, Mike.

1/31/2005 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger Craig R. Harmon said...

First of all, the list aspect was well publicized. There's nothing new there. Actually, since Iraqis have no history of parties but millennia of religious and tribal identity, what does the author expect, a two party system? Individuals should travel about the country shaking hands with people who would send a down-syndrom child out to blow up himself along with his fellow Iraqis? Does he/she seriously suppose that Iraqis would vote for any individual or group not of his or her own tribe or religious identity? This election was never a vote for a final government but for a purely temporary one to replace the Bremer selected government that replaced Bremer himself. It's purpose was to give the Iraqis the chance to decide, by their own hands (or finger) the make-up of those who would draw up their country's constitution. However imperfectly, that they have done.

No, the Iraqi's will not elect their prime minister. On the other hand, Americans do not elect their President but States' Electors who select the President. My understanding is that, like the National Assembly, the Prime Minister is equally temporary until Constitutional elections can take place. For this, of course, they need a Constitution, the drawing up of which is what this election was, all along, intended to accomplish. What will Constitutional elections look like? I don't know, since the final Constitution does not yet exist.

As for local representation, again, this government is temporary primarily for the purpose of drafting a constitution. Is it possible that there will be over representation of one group over another, yes. However as I pointed out above, the Shia majority, under the advise of Ayatollah al Sistani, intends to include representation for the Sunni minority, however few Sunnis vote. Might a local, rather than a national constituency have been better? Perhaps, but drawn up how, geographically? The country is not divided into States or Provinces. We should have waited even longer to establish these political territories before a Constitution was drawn up? What ever happened to the virtue of Iraqification? Most complain that, if anything, it has been too long in coming.

There were regions of the US where Military personel were never able to vote because ballots were sent out too late, and we're not under constant bombardment from insurgents. I didn't hear any Democrats decrying the elections based upon this particular disenfranchisement. Iraq is under constant bombardment. It is regrettable, but hardly surprising that those areas that had the most problems were those regions where the insurgents' threats were most likely to be carried out because that is where their influence is greatest. It is unfortunate, but there is no one to be blamed but the insurgents. Besides, I remember reading that residents in both Fallujah and Mosul did vote. Not that turn out was a high percentage of the cities' populations, but that no one in either Fallujah or Mosul voted is simply not true. Again, no one thought it would be perfect. Check out the irregularities in Milwaukee. 230 years and the US has yet to have perfect elections.

As for who set the rules for the elections, who should have set the rules for the elections? Until the elections, there was no possibility for anyone but the Bremer appointed Election Commission to set rules for an Election.

As to the sixth point, I don't know what to say. A free press is necessary in a free society. Will the Iraq be completely free under the temporary National Assembly? Aparently not. I suspect that it will be freer than under Saddam. Again, it's a matter of perspective. Privatization. The author perhaps prefers Socialism? Communism? What?

Bush bashing aside, was the election perfect? No one said it would be or expected it to be but it was one heck of a lot better than the prior (Saddam's) system: more free and much more representative of the will of the Iraqi people than the temporary government it replaces. That was the goal.

1/31/2005 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger Craig R. Harmon said...

Since we're putting up other people's thoughts for consideration, I will link to, rather than copy out whole, this article by Mark Styn entitled, "Iraq is going to be just fine" from the Sunday January 30 Chicago Sun-Times.

1/31/2005 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

I just want to clear up something that a lot of people have been saying recently.

Craig said: "There were regions of the US where Military personel were never able to vote because ballots were sent out too late..."Having been a military member that was in Iraq from Sept 2004 to Dec 2004 I can tell you as 100% fact that statement is a blatant lie. Even if a military member's offical state ballot never arrived they still had the ability to vote because of the federal write in ballot program. Even by the time that I got to Mosul all of the units there already had their write in ballots and you couldn't go more than a couple of days without having the voting representative reminding you to fill out your ballot and send it in (if you sent it in early and got your absentee ballot in time you could fill out your official ballot and the federal write in ballot would be tossed out).

If there were any military members who did not vote, it was because they decided not to do the federal write in ballot not because they were disenfranchised by any particular entity.

2/02/2005 07:36:00 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

It is good to get all the facts out there.

- People in Baghdad were forced to vote in order to get their food rations.

- Insurgents shoot off voters' ink-stained fingers in Baaqubah.

- There are reasons to think that a Shiite-dominated parliament will almost certainly move in two controversial directions -- replacing civil law with religious law, and a centralized government versus a loose federation.

- The Iraqis that voted displayed uncommon bravery but were a woefully uninformed electorate, much of which was voting blind. Half or more of those who went to the polls believed they were voting for a president.

I would like to be as optimistic about this as you apparently are; however, I can't help but think that this was a democratic election in name only. There are reports that the administration has been influencing the process with a heavy hand. While it is true that this was an election, I am not convinced that it was indicative of freedom, democracy, or even security.

2/02/2005 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger Craig R. Harmon said...

Military Ballots: Sorry. I was passing on information that, upon Googling this afternoon, proves to be untrue. You are correct.

Forced to Vote: Terrible but not altogether unforseeable. Being from Chicago, I can tell you that, under Mayor Daily the Elder, the dead were routinely dragged from their coffins, kicking and screaming, to the polls and forced to vote. The Rank and File were routinely bussed by Union goombas to vote for "Mayor for Life" Daily.

Ink stained fingers: Horrible but I fail to see how this reflects badly upon the legitimacy of the election. It, rather, highlights three things: 1. the bravery of the Iraqis who voted--they had to know that permanently ink stained fingers would mark them as voters to the bad guys; 2. the significance of the elections in the estimation of the bad guys--they know now just how unpopular they are; 3. the brutality of the bad guys who must be defeated.

Controverial directions: This is a distinct possibility and one that would be far from ideal. However, that was always a possibility when dealing with self-governance and majority-rule. It will certainly make it more difficult to bring the country together.

Underinformed electorate: Two points: 1. to quote one of your sources, Juan Cole, "Nevertheless, enough was known about the major party and coalition lists to allow most Iraqis to make a decision" and 2. the majority of Americans believe that they are voting for a President in their quadrennial elections, Constitutional facts to the otherwise notwithstanding. If voting were restricted to the well informed, very few would be allowed to vote.

I'm grateful, Mike, for your viewpoint on this, as in all of our discussions.

2/02/2005 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Craig R. Harmon said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/02/2005 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Military Ballots I just felt I needed to bring that up since it has been a big issue with the Rossi supporters here in Washington for some time.

Forced to Vote: Terrible but not altogether unforseeable. Certainly you agree that historical examples of US election fraud are not the same as forcing people to vote if they want to eat. In the Chicago example they were simply padding their numbers (and incidentally Union workers are not government officials don't forget). In the case of Iraq, you have the case where the government officials are literally threatening to starve people if they don't vote. That is heineous (these are people after all), it's propoganda (inflating the numbers to make the election look like something it wasn't), and it's a war crime (the Geneva Conventions says that an occupying country must provide food and water for the people of the country in which they occupy).

Ink stained fingers: Yeah, I agree, not necessarily an indictment of the election.

Controverial directions: This is a distinct possibility and one that would be far from ideal. However, that was always a possibility when dealing with self-governance and majority-rule. It will certainly make it more difficult to bring the country together. That is a bit reminiscent of Rumsfeld saying that people can do what they want in Democracies including looting and rioting. Would you be comfortable if the government that was created was radically islamic and/or overly hostile toward a minority group because the elections were forced at a time when the country wasn't safe for everyone to have a voice?

Underinformed electorate: Juan Cole's point IMHO was that Iraqis were able to find out party information but I disagree with him that it allowed people to make a wise decision -- a decision but perhaps not the best decision. Perhaps most distressing was that it was the parties with the most money that were able to get their message out and this may be one way that the US has influenced the elections. 2. the majority of Americans believe that they are voting for a President in their quadrennial elections, Constitutional facts to the otherwise notwithstanding. If voting were restricted to the well informed, very few would be allowed to vote. True, however, ultimately the votes that we cast in the presidential election go to the process of deciding who the president is. In this case, the people of Iraq were merely choosing who would be on the council to write the constitution. That is a vast difference. I certainly would never say that only the informed can vote; however, I would say that it is the role of the government (or in this case the governmental authority - the US) to ensure that people have access to enough detailed information about the process and the views of the candidates (as well as access to the voting process) in order to make informed decisions if they so choose.

I'm grateful, Mike, for your viewpoint on this, as in all of our discussions. Likewise.

2/02/2005 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger Craig R. Harmon said...

Union Workers: May not be government officials but the are people who may, if they feel that you are less than enthusiastic for the Man, at their discression, have you removed from the Union, which, in those days, meant that you didn't work or break your kneecaps, which, even today means that you'll have a tough time doing any kind of work. If you didn't work you had a tough time putting food on the table. This was not unakin to the situation described in Iraq.

Radically Islamic: No I wouldn't be comfortable with that. I'm pretty certain that that's the reason that Bush was initially against a one-person/one-vote election insisted upon by al Sistani. On the other hand, as I think I mentioned, al Sistani also insists upon representation in the council even by factions that did not vote in representatively large numbers. I won't repeat my other arguments as you can read them above.

A vast difference: Yes, I concede that. They were, however, as I understand it, indirectly, through the elected council, electing a Prime Minister. Perhaps not all that vast a difference.

2/03/2005 05:15:00 AM  
Blogger Craig R. Harmon said...

Curiouser and Curiouser...
An elections expert from the UN, Carina Perelli, is being reported in the Guardian, which has hardly been a booster of the Iraqi venture, as praising the vote in Iraq. Praise for a vote while Iraq is under US occupation is not something I expected to hear from a UN representative. They have been not just sceptical but downright critical of all things having to do with the US lead actions in Iraq. Here is just one slice:

"It is, I think, a message for all of us that beyond our discussions, beyond our diagnosis, beyond our expertise, normal people have something to say about their destiny," she said of the vote. "In that sense, I think it was an extremely moving and good election."It is a short but worthwhile read.

2/03/2005 06:20:00 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

From a quick search on Carina Perelli I found that she is the chief of the UN election assistance division. From the UN's perspective, the elections are her baby; furthermore, it is also clear that her job performance is tied closely to the elections in Iraq. Meaning this, she may have a large stake in overemphasizing the importantce or the success of the elections.

2/03/2005 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger Craig R. Harmon said...

Yeh, that probably explains it.

2/03/2005 02:18:00 PM  

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