Sunday, February 15, 2009

Good News from Iraq: Voter Fraud and Verbal Attacks on American Leaders

I was expecting to see something like this in the news from Iraq: 'BAGHDAD: The failed policies of George Bush result in massive voter fraud.'

I didn't find quite that sort of article. Not in 'mainstream media,' anyway. Maybe I didn't look hard enough. Or the press is being nice to Obama, or has more sense than that.

America's 'Newspaper of Record,' on America in Iraq

The New York Times, in "America's Scorecard in Iraq," acknowledged that the Iraqi elections had occurred, and were conducted about as well as America's (they didn't put it that way - but I think that's what it boils down to). The Gray Lady even said that, by and large, all things considered, Iraq was probably better off without Saddam Hussein in charge.

As for "...Has the war [in Iraq] enhanced American strategic interests in the troubled Middle East, as President Bush and the other champions of the war long argued would happen?

"The answer really is no, or at least not yet."

Considering the source, that's almost a ringing endorsement.

Democracy and Freedom are Messy - Deal With it

Iraq's recent elections are nowhere near as well-run as former president Saddam Hussein's. Back in 2002, President Hussein won an election, with enthusiastic and unanimous support. "During polling, many voters trampled American flags and some signed their ballot-papers in their own blood in a display of loyalty to their leader." (BBC)

Saddam Hussein, the democratically-elected leader deposed during Bush's war, got 100% of the vote. No real surprise, there: he was the only candidate.

Iraq's recent election was, in comparison, a mess.

Results from more than 30 polling stations had to be thrown out, because of voter fraud. Apparently, although all 14 provinces had problems, quite a few of the bogus votes were in Diyala province. Again, no great surprise: there's at least a three-way shootout going on there: Sunni vs. Shiite vs. Kurdish.

Having, nation-wide, an average of about two significant cases of voter fraud per province is, I think, doing rather well. Of course, I live in Minnesota, where we're still wrangling over which absentee voters deserve to have their votes counted. (My guess is that this U.S. Senate election will be sorted out before the next election.)

My point is that I'm on the same page with Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on at least one point: Any American who says Iraq isn't moving fast enough, developing a smoothly-running democracy, should take a look at America's history.

More than two centuries after doing something about the 'taxation without representation' thing, America is still tinkering with everything from the Constitution to just exactly what a 'legitimate' ballot is.

Sure, Iraq's got issues. So is everybody. The point is, it looks like they got through an election with less fuss than some of America's.

Yet Another Mission Accomplished: Iraqi Prime Minister Tells off American Leader

The Iraqi prime minister rather politely telling an American vice-president to read this year's papers before shooting his mouth off seems to be a rather diplomatic reaction by an independent country.

Looks to me like Iraq's new government is off to a pretty good start.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.