Monday, January 24, 2005

Iraqi Elections

     I am reading all the news stories I can this morning in Google News returned from "Iraq Elections."  I am left wondering why anyone would quote John Negroponte.  Perhaps it should be the job of journalists to point out what a terrible time John has with the truth, every time he is quoted, and that might help discourage Junta leaders from appointing such liars in the future, but back to the Iraqi elections.

     I found the strange Concord Monitor has four stories in the top 30 listed by date.  One includes the briefest description of life for Iraqis during election week

Al-Naqib said Baghdad's international airport will be closed for three days starting on the eve of the balloting.
The nighttime curfew in Baghdad and other cities will be extended and restrictions imposed on private vehicles to guard against car bombs, he said, adding that all leaves and passes for police and military forces have been canceled for the election period.

     and in another it includes this tidbit of dubious nature "Voters in areas deemed too dangerous will be allowed to cast ballots outside their home districts."  Now, that may seem fine and dandy (although the article also suggests an Allawi win, while that's a far cry from any poll result I've heard about) but is it all its cracked up to be?  Again, totally unreported in the establishment press is the full extent of the election lockdown.  People won't be able to enter or leave the country.  People will probably be not able to move from one governate to the next.  People won't be able to use cel or satellite phones.  There will be thousands and thousands of places Iraqis will not be allowed to drive.  What does it really mean to allow them to vote away from their homes?  It likely means that, like in Afghanistan, there will be amazing quantities of vote fraud, and, like in both America and Afghanistan, a Bu$hCo and establishment press whitewash.

     Reuters has a collection of strange facts about how secretive the election process is.  "Those who've made up their minds don't know where to cast their ballots, since the location of polling stations is being hushed up until the last minute to thwart election day attacks."

     I appreciated MSNBC's look into what's happening with Sadr and followers.  Hundreds of his people have been arrested since his ceasefire.  I wonder how much of it was simply rousting the usual suspects.

     WaPo refers to a "growing consensus among U.S. and Iraqi officials that the current strategy may be spurring greater opposition and deeper anger at the coalition."  I can only put my face in my hands and shake my head.  Why am I not in charge?  I am to blame because I have not arranged that.  WaPo (page 2) also has this inexcreable quote "In Baghdad, veteran Iraqi politician Ahmed Chalabi told CNN[.]"  Exactly what Iraqi politics is Chalabi a veteran of?&nsbp; He's been outside the country since he was young, and basically been a mini-strongman figure on the outside for a decade.

     It should be noted that the although all leaves and passes will be cancelled for the elections period (link above), the WaPo says "But the more significant shift being pursued is an acceleration in the deployment of Iraqi forces against the insurgents. 'It's time now to get them out into the fight.'" and another source (link forgotten) said that US forces will be in their barracks.  So, they will have their leaves cancelled and be held in their barracks.  It doesn't sound like a terribly wrong idea to me.  But they will not spend their time learning Arabic, or doing anything more than resenting their situation, in all likelihood.

     Meanwhile, the beneath-contempt establishment press is all atwitter today with news of the arrest (nine days ago) of a guy who has "admitted" to being behind 75% of the car bombs in Baghdad since the war started.  What no one ever dares ask is whether or not this might actually change the number of car-bombs in Baghdad, nor will anyone ever say, if the car bombs keep blowing up at the same rates, that it wasn't a victory to catch this guy.  Are there many who can fill his shoes?  I don't know.  See, even if the Americans were confronted with a Gandhi-like figure who proposed mass, peaceful action against the Americans, we wouldn't leave.  We would keep our CIA-backed terrorist Allawi in charge, we would rig their elections.  Reality simply does not matter to these mind-numbingly stupid people in charge.

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