Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Politics Government

January Elections in Iraq? 141

Posted by Hemos
from the the-debate-rages dept.
bettiwettiwoo writes "Last week Kofi Annan claimed, in a BBC interview, that: 'You cannot have credible elections [in Iraq] if the security conditions continue as they are now.' Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi disagreed ('pointedly disagreed', according to the International Herald Tribune):'We definitely are going to stick to the timetable of elections in January ... Democracy is going to prevail and is going to win in Iraq.' According to Tony Blair: 'The people who are trying to stop that Iraq coming about, who are engaged in killing, maiming and acts of terrorism, are people who are opposed... to every single one of the values that we in countries like this hold dear.' Iraq the Model points to an IRI poll which states: 'In a stunning display of support for democracy and a strong rebuttal to critics of efforts to bring democratic reform to Iraq, 87% of Iraqis indicated that they plan to vote in January elections. Expanding on the theme, 77% said that "regular, fair elections" were the most important political right for the Iraqi people and 58% felt that Iraqi-style democracy was likely to succeed.' It would appear that the poll was undertaken sometime in July/August this year, but if such a large majority of the Iraqi population continues to favour elections, would it really be fair to the Iraqis to postpone the January elections whatever the security situation and whomever might be against them?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

January Elections in Iraq?

Comments Filter:
  • 87% of whom? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PhysicsGenius (565228) <physics_seeker@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Monday September 20, 2004 @07:48AM (#10296141)
    How many of the Iraqis polled were working as armed insurgents in hostile cities not under the control of the interim government?

    I took at a poll on job satisfaction at a Bush rally and it was around 95%. I guess America thinks Bush is doing a bang-up job!

    • And did you hear that the are increasing our chocolate rations from 10 grams to 15 grams?
      Glorious!
    • Re:87% of whom? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drakaan (688386)
      That's a good question...how many insurgents were polled? Evidently you know, or else you wouldn't mention it.

      Then, again, this *is* slashdot...

      Seriously, though...assuming (as you appear to) that people in hostile locations weren't polled, how do you accomplish that?

      Side-note: I'm not a W supporter, but I'm employed...don't vote Kerry out of stupidity, please. Plenty of presidential alternatives to the awful two big ones at www.vote-smart.org [vote-smart.org]

      • Re:87% of whom? (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by squarefish (561836) *
        you're right, there are many other options then kerry or bush, but none of them have a chance in hell and we definitely need to displace bush no matter what. the only way I could and will support endorsing third party candidates is if you're in one of the 30 or so states that are solid red or blue.

        http://johnkerryisadouchebagbutimvotingforhimanywa y.com/ [johnkerryi...anyway.com]
        • Re:87% of whom? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by bladernr (683269) on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:26AM (#10297833)
          we definitely need to displace bush no matter what

          That is the thinking that puts true radicals in power. Putin is reinstating the USSR because "we must defeat Chechens no matter what." The US Electoral system is based on voting for candidates, not against them. If we don't remember that, we risk the continued race to the bottom the two parties have us on.

          What about the nonsense "a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush?" I know of several people that are so ticked that Nader may not be allowed on their state ballot, that they are going to march to the polls and vote Bush if Nader isn't a choice. I hope Democrats doing the most un-democratic thing imaginable (trying to deny ballot access) backfires.

          And, if Kerry wins because people voted against Bush, would he really have a mandate?

          No. In our system, you march to the polls and vote in support of someone. I plan to march to the poll on election day and pull the leaver in support of the candidate I favor the most.


          • > And, if Kerry wins because people voted against Bush, would he really have a mandate?

            Yes: don't do what Bush was doing.

          • I agree with you 100% on all of your points, except that you may not hold the same view of bush as I do.

            If we don't remember that, we risk the continued race to the bottom the two parties have us on.

            you're right- I voted for nader last time and I'll probably vote for Badnarik this time. but, and it's a big but this year, I live in IL and we have no risk of electing bush in this state- which is where my vote ends.
            unlike gore, I actually like kerry a lot more then bush and want to see him as president.
    • Re:87% of whom? (Score:1, Interesting)

      by b-baggins (610215)
      Some ass compares the interim government, which is going to do their level best to hold democratic elections in January with Saddam junior Al Sadr who institutes Sharia law and goes around executing people after holding secret trials, and he gets modded as a plus 5 insightful?

      Absolutely unreal, and yet further evidence that programming requires no intelligence.

      • > and goes around executing people after holding secret trials

        That one cuts a bit close to the knuckle.

      • ...Al Sadr who institutes Sharia law and goes around executing people after holding secret trials...

        Interestingly enough, it is alleged that [abc.net.au] Iyad Allawi did the same without even the benefit of "secret trials". [smh.com.au] Not even a word about it in the US media.

        Of course, back in the 90s, Allawi was setting off car bombs in Bhagdad. Those days. it was considered a *good thing* to set off car bombs in downtown Bhagdad. (Allawi was even caught on tape by the British media complaining that he had not been compensa

        • Because we all know, of course, that setting off car bombs against a dictatorial regime that maintains rape rooms, torture chambers and children's prisons is morally equivalent to setting off car bombs against a government that is trying to hold elections and set up democratic rule.

          Cognitivie Dissonance is the primary symptom of Moral Equivalence Syndrome.
    • Re:87% of whom? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Timex (11710)
      This sort of thing is exactly why I (generally) don't trust polls. I learned in school that poll results can be influenced by several factors, including (but not limited to:
      • Tone of voice, if the question and/or choices are read to the participant (pollee, if you will).
      • Phrasing of the question and/or choices.
      • Number of people asked. I forget the way it's figured, but one has to ask a certain number of people at a minimum, to make a poll statistically accurate.
      • Bias of those asked. As you pointed ou
  • if there's parts that are not under the control of those arranging the election...

    maybe the information minister had a face/off operation.
  • No... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kalidasa (577403) * on Monday September 20, 2004 @07:52AM (#10296149) Journal

    In a stunning display of support for democracy and a strong rebuttal to critics of efforts to bring democratic reform to Iraq, 87% of Iraqis indicated that they plan to vote in January elections.

    You mean, 87% of Iraqi RESPONDENTS indicated that they plan to vote in January elections. This is a self-selecting question: people likely to respond to a poll are more likely to go to the polls than people who don't respond to a poll. At any rate, everyone outside Iraq believes that Iraqis should have the right to self-determination. We believe the same thing of the people of China. But it wouldn't be a smart thing to invade China to effect that.

    • IRI (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kalidasa (577403) * on Monday September 20, 2004 @08:00AM (#10296176) Journal

      PS: Did anyone happen to look at who IRI is [iri.org]?

      RI's board of directors is chaired by U.S. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) and includes former Secretary of State Lawrence S. Eagleburger, former U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, current members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, and individuals from the private sector with backgrounds in international relations, business and government.

      Yeah, this is ENTIRELY independent. Mind you, at least one member of the board has some independent ideas [pbs.org].

      Q - I thought President Bush said in his speech that, "Either you're for us or against us....anyone who harbors terrorists, or fosters their activity," and he meant terrorists in general. Doesn't Saddam qualify?

      A - We've got to be looking at priorities here. Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden have one thing in common, and that is they both hate the United States. Otherwise, they have very little in common.

      As a matter of fact, my guess is, if it weren't for the United States, Osama bin Laden would turn on Saddam Hussein. Why? Because Saddam Hussein is the head of a Ba'athist party -- a secular, socialist party. He is anathema to the kind of world that Osama bin Laden wants to reinstall So he's part of the problem; he's not part of the solution. That doesn't mean they can't cooperate, and might not cooperate. But what I'm saying is we need to get our priorities straight, and we've got them straight right now. We're going after number one target.

      Iraq could turn out to be number two, but there are a lot of other candidates. Hezbollah, for example, is a global terrorist network, which has attacked the United States and U.S. interests before. How about that? ...We need to be skillful about this. We need to use scalpels, not sledgehammers.

  • by davecl (233127) on Monday September 20, 2004 @08:15AM (#10296260)
    I'm sure there will be some kind of election in Iraq in January - there's too much at stake politically for Blair and Bush for it not to happen.

    However, what happens if they don't like the result? I see one of two outcomes being more likely than the interim government being re-elcted and legitimised:

    (1) They are re-elected, but international monitors (the UN etc.) do not agree that the election was free and fair. To some extent this is what Kofi Anan is already worrying about.

    (2) Ignoring whether (1) is the case or not, what happens if the result of the elections is not what Bush/Blair want? What if an Iran-style shia religious party is elected? This is the problem with democracy - it doesn't always give you the answer you want. The US was quite happy with democracy in South American until socialists like Allende started being elected in Chile and elsewhere. Then they sent in the CIA and regimes like Pinochet's were the result. Is this the future that the middle east has to look forward to?
    • I'm sure there will be some kind of election in Iraq in January - there's too much at stake politically for Blair and Bush for it not to happen.

      Actually events in January have no political effect on Bush whatsoever. If he loses the election, those events will reflect poorly on Kerry. If he wins, those events will lower his approval rating but since he can't run for a third term what does he care? If anything it hurts cheney politically as he will be tied to the bush administration and any attempts by h

      • Seeing as how the presidential inauguration [senate.gov] is on January 20, 2005, if John Kerry were to be elected President, how could he possibly be held accountable for actions taken by Bush as he finished his term? Even if the elections were held on January 31, would you [reasonably*] blame Kerry for his first 2 weeks when everything would have already been set in motion with an enormous political inertia?

        *I understand that there are people on both sides of the aisle who have proven themselves to be unreasonable
        • Well, Ronald Reagan was widely credited with freeing the embassy hostages because they were released the day of his inaguration (bumping him almost below the fold, which was pretty funny -- "HOSTAGES FREE!! in other news, Ronald Reagan takes office...")

          As a people, we're quite capable of putting blame or credit pretty much anywhere we please, so if Kerry wins and the election goes badly, we could always say, "Well, with a weak President taking office, of course the radical Iraqis took advantage of the situ

          • Hmmm. I must admit that this was before my time. It appears that Carter's loss of the precedency contributed to the release as much or more than Reagan's win. Were the terms that we agreed to signed off by Pres. Carter or Pres. Reagan?

            While agree that some people will be arguing one or the other (if they have a chance), that doesn't make it reasonable. First we would be presuming to know the meaning behind terrorists' actions, and secondly we would be blaming the Republican spin machine on Kerry! If
            • The terms were negotiated by the Reagan transition team, but the whole thing probably pivoted largely on the fact that the Iranians were just tired of all the racket.

              It didn't really matter, though, that Carter ws stubborn and held to various sanctions that Reagan gave away -- the perception was that Carter was weak and Reagan strong, so that the Iranians caved in the moment Reagan ascended. I'm not sure it's even right to blame Reagan for that perception.

          • The hostages were kept by the Iranians (still in power, building nukes these days) in exchange [consortiumnews.com] for promises of support by the Reagan campaign, negotiated by campaign director William Casey, who took over as CIA director after the election. The Iranians needed that support, as Carter cut off their American banking, necessary to resupply the American technology military they siezed. Once Reagan was in charge, the CIA started secretly, illegally, treasonously supplying the Iranians with parts, in exchange for
            • I was discussing the public perception, not the reality. Oliver North wasn't yet on the front page, or even really on the radar, when Reagan put his hand on the Bible.
              • As was I - the reality of Reagan's treason would hardly have helped him win the election. While the reality was besides your point, I don't countenance the dissemination of that particular perception without the essential footnote of the reality. We're a team.
                • Well, I think I voted for Browne that year, but I'm not sure that I would describe Iran/Contra as "treason". We were not at war with Iran, nor is defiance of Congress in of itself treason (although it may be, and was, illegal.)

                  In fact, the more I think about it, the more sure I am that I would NOT use the term -- it's simply innapropriate. Congress passed laws regarding aid to the Contras, and those laws were violated, but that isn't treason anymore than speeding is treason.

                  • I'd describe the Iran part as treason: both the military assistance to their government, an active enemy of the US, and the deals with that foreign government to influence the election, counter to the policies of the president (Carter). That includes the "October Surprise" sabotage in the Iranian desert of Carter's helicopter rescue attempt, with Oliver North in attendance.

                    I'd also call it treason when our national security is undermined by covert action compromising our intelligence agencies with secret,
                    • If you are seriously charging Oliver North with involvement with sabotage in the rescue attempt, then I think you'd best back that up. Certainly he was never charged with any such thing. Most "October Surprise" theories revolve around negotiations in June & July of 1980, not Desert One.

                      As for the Contra part, "illegal wars contrary to the foreign policy sanctioned by Congress" is a crime, but not treason. The US defines that word pretty carefully, which is why neither Robert Hanssen nor Aldrich Ames wa

                    • I'm not the first to "charge" North with involvement with sabotaging Desert Claw [valleyadvocate.com]. Who denies that North and Hakim were running the support operation that failed, killing 8 marines and kicking Carter in the crisis?

                      Let's say that VP Dick Cheney showed Saudi Ambassador Bandar our plans for war with Iraq (marked "NOFOR", no foreigners allowed access) before the invasion, before even Sect'y of State Powell was shown the plans. Let's say that Bandar approved the plans, assuring Cheney that he'd get the Saudis to
                    • That loyalty may have carried over to sabotage of Operation Eagle Claw. For the man who served as chief mission planner was none other than Richard Secord, who later surfaced as a major kingpin in the shady arms dealings between the Reagan White House and the contras of Nicaragua. A top staffer at a key base in Eagle Claw's catastrophic helicopter support operation was none other than the legendary Colonel Oliver North. Working closely with him as a logistical planner was Albert Hakkim, who later sat by Sec

                    • Come on - Vietnam was a lot bigger than Eagle Claw. I don't blame the 8 dead Marines in Iran, but I do blame the people running Vietnam - who included Powell, covering up My Lai. "Chief mission planner" of Eagle Claw is certainly more responsible for that disaster than gunboat captain Kerry of Vietnam.

                      While you're saying that we're not at war with the Saudis, I've got two towers near Brooklyn I'd like to sell you. Vice Presidential collaboration with them, in full knowledge of their role as documented in t
        • No I wouldn't reasonably blame Kerry but 4 years later(2008) on election day all that people will remember is how elections in Iraq got all fucked up as Kerry took office. Maybe if Kerry had been stronger as he came into office it would have went more smoothly as Bush had intended. That is the reasoning his opponenets would use come time for that next election. Now you could start talking political inertia to the cattle(US Voters) but the deafening "MOO" would drown out any logic you have to offer.

          Amer


          • > No I wouldn't reasonably blame Kerry [...] Americans don't like hearing about hard to understand concepts such as "political inertia" we like hearing things like patriot, axis of evil, terrorist, nukular, security, etc etc.

            Curiously, a Republican Fundamentalist I used to work with once exclaimed with dismay, "See what Clinton got us in to in Somalia!"

        • Seeing as how I'm British, and Blair will not be holding an election before January, and how I said 'Bush/Blair', then the Blair part of that should be obvious.

          As to the Bush side, things would be much more difficult for him internationally (if that was possible!) if he's seen to be behind an electoral disaster in Iraq. Politics is not just an issue of being able to win re-election, its also about being able to do what you want once you've been elected.
      • There is much more to being President than winning the election.

        If Bush wins and the public turn against him, his clout with Congress plummets. Regardless of statuatory authority (or really, I suppose, because of the limits of that authority,) a President who lacks popular support doesn't get much done. Whether or not the President is up for re-election, Congresscritters are always campaigning, and one-third of the Senate is up every two years, so if there is advantage to defiance of the White House then d

        • I would be inclined to agree with you if it wasn't for the strict party line association we have in America currently. A republican house will not go against a republican president no matter how unpopular he/she is. Besides much of the presidents power has little/nothing to do with congress. We tend to focus on the presidents role in lawmaking even though that is NOT his primary job. Our presidents have gotten too invovled in lawmaking instead of making sure that those laws are carried out which is what
          • There are party loyalties, of course, but "what have you done for me lately?" is still the crucial question -- just ask Newt Gingrich. Pols will toe the Party line if and only if the Party can enforce that line, and an unpopular President has only a little stick with which to beat them.

            Assisting with legislation is part of it, of course, but budgets and appointments are also an important part of the job and involve Congress. There's a balance to the whole thing that makes it more of a dance than the Consti

    • I think this is the intent of the early creation of a constitution that is hard to change. This way the current government only has to last x years then people can elect different leaders. With enough checks and balances and seperated local and federal control. This is possible.

    • > I'm sure there will be some kind of election in Iraq in January - there's too much at stake politically for Blair and Bush for it not to happen.

      Bush only has to insist "stay the course!" for another six weeks. If he's re-elected, he can do whatever the heck he wants after that.

    • Who cares if Bush doesn't like the result?


      In my dreams and prayers he'll be a normal citizen and have to watch from the sidelines.


      Not really trolling, just saying that there is a chance that he (Bush) won't be in office when this happens

  • by cL0h (624108) on Monday September 20, 2004 @08:18AM (#10296282)
    Since we are talking of democracy, the democratically appointed Kofi Annans opinion surely weighs more than that of the US installed Iyad Allawi.
    Also at the risk of being modded off topic I'd like to make a genaral statement on international terrorism.
    Recently a proBush stance by a columnist in my local free rag (Galway, Ireland) attracted a letters page full of rebukes. The columnist in question retaliated by saying that global terrorism is the biggest threat to "the world" today (it's not, poverty is) and that George Bush is the only solution. Well I agree that terrorism is a huge problem but ya know if the British government had listened to the plight of the Catholics in Northern Ireland in the sixties, there would be no IRA today. With aid reconciliation and understanding. Attempts to understand the root causes of support for radicalism ie. war, alienation and poverty are often met with more success then hate.
    Hate breeds hate. Radical action breeds radical reaction. Stop bombing people into the ground and it just might not happen to you.
    If you think I'm talking waffle then google 'canary wharf IRA' and compare that with last weekends round of talks where sworn enemies are now sitting around a table to talk.
    There is a way out and it is not about increased defence spending, unethical imprisonment and unilateral invasion.
    It is about putting peace before closing your eyes to world suffering.
    Get informed [fpif.org]
    • democratically appointed Kofi Annan

      democratically appointed? What the hell is that supposed to mean? An official is either elected, or appointed. And I sure as hell don't remember voting for (or against) Kofi.
      • 1. The UN is an institution based on democratic principles.
        2. Kofi Annan is an appointed representative in this institution.
        That's what the hell it's supposed to mean.
        • The UN is an institution based on democratic principles.

          No, it's not. It is, in fact, completely indifferent toward democratic principles. none of the representatives to the UN are elected by the people they represent. They are appointed, many by governments that we would not consider to be legitimate much less wholly democratic.
      • Just like you don't for for the President of the USA, but for the members of the Electoral College.
        • Just like you don't for for the President of the USA, but for the members of the Electoral College.

          The exact categorization of that election as "democratic" is debatable. It may be argued that you've democratically elected an aristocracy who then makes decisions on your behalf, the same as an imposed aristocracy would.

          Besides, we don't have elections to vote for our electors to vote for the head of the UN. Or did I miss that election?

    • "the democratically appointed Kofi Annan"

      "Democratically?"

      Let's see... the People's Republic of China gets as many votes as the Federated States of Micronesia (namely, one), so it's not democratic in the popular sense (double entendre!)

      "Democratic" can be more broadly defined as being selected by a mechanism through which the people at large have ultimate control. The US ambassador to the UN is selected by a democratically-elected president and approved by a democratically-elected Senate, so it can be
      • Let's see... the People's Republic of China gets as many votes as the Federated States of Micronesia (namely, one), so it's not democratic in the popular sense (double entendre!)

        Ahh yes, but if UN votes were based on the number of voters in each nation (i.e. 1 UN vote per N voters in the member nation), then Micronesia and China would be equal, or maybe even Micronesia is under represented. After all only then elite Communist members have any real authority in China.

        Ans speaking of China... At what poi
    • The columnist in question retaliated by saying that global terrorism is the biggest threat to "the world" today (it's not, poverty is)...

      You say that very authoritatively, that poverty is the "biggest threat to 'the world'." I'm not sure how you can be so sure about it. Sounds like propaganda.

      I mean, what does it mean to be a threat to 'the world'? Can you threaten the world?

      It seems like poverty is maybe the biggest threat to poor people, if to anyone, and you might argue that angry poor people are t

    • Well I agree that terrorism is a huge problem but ya know if the British government had listened to the plight of the Catholics in Northern Ireland in the sixties, there would be no IRA today.

      Essentially what you're saying here is that whenever a minority group has a grievance, if the government does not accommodate them, then blowing up civilians in downtown London is an understandable recourse. I understand that Catholics in Northern Ireland were terribly oppressed by the Protestants, and that the gove

    • it's not, poverty is

      That's the most ignorant statement I've heard all day. That's like saying that darkness is a threat.

      Poverty is nothing more or less than the relative condition caused by the absence of wealth. We draw an arbitrary line and say that people with less than X wealth are living in poverty while people with more than X wealth are not.

      What you really mean here, what you're really talking about, is not poverty but rather inequity. You're one of those "let's make everyone equal" nutcases who
    • Since we are talking of democracy, the democratically appointed Kofi Annans opinion surely weighs more than that of the US installed Iyad Allawi.

      You're trying to paint Annan as a neutral observer.

      It just doesn't pass the laugh test. Annan's office directed hush letters [opinionjournal.com] to administrators in the Iraq Oil-For-Food program, from which billions of dollars have gone missing. Supervising the import/export of the goods in question was Cotecna, who employeed Annan's son first as an employee then as a consultant
  • by bolix (201977) <bolix@hotm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Monday September 20, 2004 @08:37AM (#10296379) Homepage Journal

    The quote is taken out of its relevant context. Another way to rephrase the quote could be:

    "In the present violent clime, democratic elections would not lead to a representational government"

    Military gangwar is part and parcel of the current conflict. The feudal ganglords will not cede authority easily. Those with support (military and political) will bargain for power in the same manner as the Afghani process. Suspicious one-candidate boundaries will be drawn up and ad-hoc ministerial privileges doled out to unelected strongmen.

    Bottom line: Its not democracy.

    • And thank goodness it isn't. Democracy is a horrible form of government. It's nothing more than mob rule backed up by power of government.

      Representative republics and parliamentary systems with checks and balances are a much more effective form of government at preserving individual liberties.

      Of course, civics education in the various "democracies" around the world sucks so badly, that hardly anyone realizes this.
  • by tetrahedrassface (675645) * on Monday September 20, 2004 @08:39AM (#10296383) Journal
    We have two choices in the near future.
    1.) Escalate.
    2.) Pull out.
    Either way we lose. Thanks Mr. Bush for giving us two great choices.
  • by solman (121604) on Monday September 20, 2004 @08:40AM (#10296393)
    > Would it really be fair to the Iraqis to postpone
    > the January elections?

    There is no chance that the US or anyone else is going to tell the Iraqis not to hold elections. Allawi knows that his continued power is absolutely dependent on his ability to hold elections on time.

    He also knows that most Iraqis live in areas where the security situation permits voting. If a security disaster ensues and precincts containing 20% of population have to be repolled due to security incidents, then 80% of the Iraqi people will have had the chance to choose their own government and Allawi can rightly claim an historic achievement.

    I also disagree with the posts that claim the polling data is out of touch with the Iraqi people. The same polls that show that Iraqis overwhelmingly want to choose their own government also show that over 80% do not believe that Americans will allow the Iraqis to choose their own government. Their views are entirely self consistent, they just don't take our goernment at its word. By enabling the Iraqis to choose their own leaders, the United States will go a tremendous distance towards easing their fears.
    • I think many people are missing the point of your last sentence. If we hope to salvage any semblence of a positive relationship in the Middle East, we need to start by letting the Iraqi people start governing themselves. Granted that is the first step down a long, dusty road.

    • > Allawi knows that his continued power is absolutely dependent on his ability to hold elections on time.

      He may also benefit if certain provinces aren't able to vote.

  • by Korpo (558173) on Monday September 20, 2004 @08:41AM (#10296401)
    Remember Germany, after WWII? An utterly undemocratic country, downbeaten, occupied and with a legacy of a failed democraty (the so-called Republic of Weimar). It took four years to allow for German half-independent states again, with their own constitution, and free elections. And 45 years till occupation was formally ended!

    Now let's compare with Iraq: Unlike the Germans, the Iraqis have no cultural ties or common traditions with the Americans/British occupying them. They have absolutely no democratic legacy, not even a failed one, that anyone can remember there. There is a strong resentment against the occupying forces, and any ideas stemming from them.

    Unlike occupied Germany there is absolutely no safety guaranteed by the occcupying forces. The land has spun out of control, several cities are out of control, and military action is still taking place. No economic recovery is taking place, and doing business is now again nearly impossible for foreign investors, abductions of foreigners is commonplace.

    There are no well-known political movements beyond ties to ethnic group and maybe clan. The interim government is resented by many Iraqis as a puppet of the occupying forces, and the only media trusted or at least respected by most Iraqis are American-critic Al-Dschasira. Media installed by the USA like Al-Hurra are perceived as propaganda instruments, and this is most likely a correct assumption.

    So there are no political movements to have enough confidence in that they worth casting a vote for, a big problem about independent media and therefore freedom of speech, a population resenting the US and Western ideas, sometimes including democracy, and an unstable situation in general.

    In a country where it is even problematic to get one's children into a school, and safely home and fed, is there really that much a chance for democracy? I guess not.

    This is just an illusion made up to content American voters for this fall, not really help the Iraqis with anything.
    • Should (of all traditions) Americans be surprised that Shii'a rebelled when ttheir newspaper was shut down?
    • by b-baggins (610215) on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:28AM (#10297847) Journal
      An interesting conclusion, considering nearly all your facts used to reach it are false.

      Iraq's economy is actually stronger now than under Saddam.

      More cities have electricity now than under Saddam.

      There are several thousand foreign workers in Iraq. Less than 20 have been abducted. That's not terribly commonplace.

      Out of hundreds of Iraqi cities, three are causing problems, and only one, Fallujah, which was a Saddam stronghold is the site of continued on-going military action.

      The interim government is not resented by the general populace as evidenced by large numbers of iraqis signing up to be police in the new government and by the fact that the insurgents are targeting the interim government infrastructure more and more frequently. They would not do this unless they saw the interim government as effective and a threat to their goals of de-stablilzing the country.

      There are something like thirty different newspapers all through Iraq publishing widely different political viewpoints. As long as they don't call for riots and assassinations, they are allowed to operate (calling for riots and assassinations will get your paper shut down in any European democracy as well. Heck, calling a Muslim a scarf-wearing terrorist will get you hauled to court in France).

      Schools are opening all over Iraq where they were once closed.

      Iraq is not as safe as, say, downtown Singapore, but it's a whole lot safer than downtown Washington D.C. or Mexico City.
      • by Korpo (558173)

        Iraq is not as safe as, say, downtown Singapore, but it's a whole lot safer than downtown Washington D.C. or Mexico City.

        This shows what a cynic you are. I don't hear of regular autobomb explosions, and jets bombing urban centers in both that cities. You are an apologist.

        For the free media: There are newspapers, but most of them are organs of policy of a political force (see here, in German [heise.de] ).

        People signing up for police and army have deserted on a lot of various occasions. A need for jobs triggered b

      • Iraq's economy is actually stronger now than under Saddam.

        False. Under Saddam, Iraq had around 20x the GNP it does today. Oh, did you want to pick the WORST economy Saddam had, instead of the best? Well in that case, you'd have to admit that the problems were caused by the USA's attack.

        Out of hundreds of Iraqi cities, three are causing problems, and only one, Fallujah,

        Do you not read the newspapers, or can you just not count? Even Bagdad contains streets that the US Army is unwilling to drive down

    • > They have absolutely no democratic legacy, not even a failed one, that anyone can remember there.

      Actually, someone did set them up the democracy once before. Of course, it fell to a military coup, which somehow led to control by the Baath Party, which then led to personal control by the party's security chief, Saddam.

      Admittedly, not the sort of history that inspires confidence in gunpoint democracy.

    • Remember Germany, after WWII?

      There are other major differences between Iraq and Germany (and also Japan). The biggest one is that Iraq, like the geographically similar Islamic nations in the region (which doesn't include Turkey, Pakistan, or Egypt), has no prospect for a useful economy.

      Iraq, like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, is a barren desert (and with global warming, it'll only get worse). The only reason for many people to live there is oil revenues- but that's not something that can provide employment
  • If only 58% of respondents believe that democracy will work out in Iraq, that is not exactly wonderful.

    No need to doubt the veracity of the poll. It's gloomy enough in itself.

    And of course ALL of the Shi'ites will favor free and fair elections, since they will put them on top - which may cause the Kurds to secede and the Sunni to rebel, to simplify it horribly.

  • "THIS IDEA OF A FUNCTIONING DEMOCRACY HERE IS CRAZY" [tnr.com] (quoting a senior U.S. diplomat in Baghdad), which also points back to this piece [tnr.com] about the IRI poll.
    The second and more immediate problem is that Iraqis know they want immediate elections, but they have no idea what they'll be voting for. Only 35 percent were able to say that the elections are supposed to be held in January. Nearly as many didn't know; about 30 percent gave the wrong answer. [...]Nor do they know what's at stake at the election. The overwhelming majority, 74.6 percent, incorrectly believe they'll be voting for "President of Iraq." Not even nine percent correctly responded that they'll be voting for a Transitional National Assembly.
  • Allawi has proposed a perfectly reasonable plan by going forward with elections before complete stability is achieved.

    Those places where stability is the worst have one thing in common - the local populace is not doing anything significant to actively combat, passively deny, rat the insurgents out to the Iraqi gov't, or otherwise discourage the behavior of the insurgents. So, they, rightly I think, should have less of a voice.

    It's only when insurgent behavior is exported that you get an unfair situation -
    • > the local populace is not doing anything significant to actively combat, passively deny, rat the insurgents out to the Iraqi gov't, or otherwise discourage the behavior of the insurgents. So, they, rightly I think, should have less of a voice.

      Suppose the US was invaded and occupied [by, er, martians] and a puppet government was installed. However, due to a resistence movement, they could not control the whole country. I suppose you would consider it fair for people in the resisting areas to have "les
      • Um...okay, I'll bite: if the US was invaded by someone (call it the Martians) who were trying to re-establish our lost Democratic Republic (for instance, as would happen, if, as the left would desire, they took away the 2nd amendment, made illegal aliens eligible to vote, and then China, Mexico, Canada and France had quietly invaded and outpopulated us in the red states so they vote the neocommunist party (aka Democrats) into unchecked power), then, um...yes. Absolutely.

        I, for one, would welcome our Martia
  • This is exactly the situation between Pixar and Disney! Regardless or how much Disney throws ideas, resources, dedication, and cash, if Pixar had/has true self-determination, it's decisions will upset Disney no matter what. (Well, that's until Jobs takes over as CEO...)

    Give the Iraqis true self-determination, and the US will definitely be disappointed on the outcome. It's a "can't please everyone" scenario.

Nothing is faster than the speed of light ... To prove this to yourself, try opening the refrigerator door before the light comes on.

Working...