Friday, February 04, 2005

The Purple Finger 

Courtesy of our venerated colleagues at Cursor: In Iraq, partial returns from Baghdad and five southern provinces indicate that the United Iraqi Alliance ticket, backed by Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, leads interim P.M. Ayad Allawi's Iraqi List by a 4-1 margin. In other words, the Shiite slate opened up a can o' whup-ass on America's preferred candidate:
Sharif Ali bin Hussein, head of the Constitutional Monarchy Party, likened the vote outcome to a "Sistani tsunami" that would shake the nation. "Americans are in for a shock," he said, adding that one day they would realize, "We've got 150,000 troops here protecting a country that's extremely friendly to Iran, and training their troops."
Elsewhere, Iraqi Christians complained that they were blocked from voting by Kurdish officials. The Kurds themselves organized an impromptu referendum outside official polling places, and discovered that 11 out of 12 Kurdish voters would prefer to have their own state, independent from Iraq.

Greg Mitchell of Editor & Publisher reveals that the election numbers bandied about by the American press -- 8 million votes cast, 57% turnout -- are little more than wild guesses and wishful thinking. The announcement of the actual tally has now been postponed for another week "due to the 'complex' tabulation system":
And one thing we now know for sure: the early media blather about a "strong" Sunni turnout has proven false. Adding a dose of reality, The Associated Press on Wednesday cited a Western diplomat who declared that turnout appeared to have been "quite low" in Iraq's vast Anbar province. Meanwhile, Carlos Valenzuela, the chief United Nations elections expert in Iraq, cautioned that forecasts for the Sunni areas were so low to begin with that even a higher-than-expected turnout would remain low.

In a rare reference to an actual vote tabulation, The New York Times on Thursday reports that in the "diverse" city of
Mosul, with 60% of the count completed, the overall turnout seems slightly above 10%, or "somewhat more than 50,000 of Mosul's 500,000 estimated eligible voters."

This, of course, is no minor matter: Iraq's leading Sunni Muslim clerics said Wednesday that the country's election lacked legitimacy because large numbers of Sunnis did not participate in the balloting. Sure, many of them are simply sore losers (they lost an entire country) but that doesn't make their reaction any less troublesome for Iraq's future, especially with the cleric-backed Shiite alliance apparently headed for a landslide win.

Dexter Filkins of The New York Times
warned Thursday that the widespread Sunni boycott "could even lead to the failure of the constitution; under the rules drafted last year to guide the establishment of a new Iraqi state, a two-thirds 'no' vote in three provinces would send the constitution down to defeat. The Sunnis are a majority in three provinces."

As for the overall Iraqi turnout: the more the better, but why is the press so confident in the estimates from an Iraqi commission with a clear stake in a high number?
And Karen Kwiatkowski argues that, with Sunday's elections, the "98-lb. weakling" nation has put on "the muscle shirt of democracy":
The Iraqis will get what they want. An end to American domination, an end to the base building, an end to occupation and cancellation of long-term leases illegally authorized by the American proxy government.

Unlike most of the Middle East under decades of colonial resource extraction, 21st century Iraq will take back their oil. Democracies have an intense sense of what justice looks like. Democracies are not always serene and merciful, in love with peace. As America's own history in the 20th century illustrates, democracies are often quick to take offense, tend to revel in violence, and will adopt exclusionary rhetoric in an instant.

America leads the way, as democracies go. The American president waves a banner of "with us or against us," serves freedom fries on the side, and shuffles towards Gomorrah with "boot in your ass" lyrics playing on the jukebox. American's founding fathers feared such democracy, but never mind that.

The Bush administration
delayed the Iraqi elections for over a year. Bush is now making a new war with Iran, to ensure the creation of a brand new military threat to justify America's continued military presence in the newly "democratic" Iraq.

Now you know why. While many soldiers and marines would like to come home,
and stay home, well-dressed war pimps in America insist that they must not.
(Textual note: Ms. Kwiatkowski's hyperlinks are her own. The links in the other excerpts, most of which we found through Cursor, were added by us.)

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