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Iraq: On the Cusp of History

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It’s now just a matter of hours until the polls open in Iraq. Already during the past week there has been enormous, joyous and enthusiastic turnout among ex-patriot Iraqis all over the world. Hundreds of thousands turned out to vote in the first free Iraqi election in half a century. Voting went smoothely almost everywhere, except for one incident in Australia where Islamic extremists turned out to protest the election and were attacked by offended Iraqi voters. For a great set of photos of celbratory voters check out the photo montrage at The Washington Post.

Voting in Iraq itself obviously won’t be as trouble free as it has been for those living outside the troubled country. A free election is the greatest possible threat to the would-be tyrants and fundamentalist extremists who want to take over the country through violence. Iraqi Security forces and the Coalition Military are taking every possible security measure to protect the polling places to the extent of deploying almost 300,000 troops and police, barricading streets and creating protected waiting areas outside of the polls. This may make voting somewhat intimidating and inconvenient, but safety is the first priority.

In the more stable regions of the country such as the Kurdish areas in the north and the large city of Basra in the south little violence is expected. Voter turnout will be large and enthusiastic and no one is going to tolerate attempts to disrupt the election. Local militias are expected to augment police forces and help escort voters to the polls. A turnout of 80% or higher is a reasonable expectation.

In the middle part of the country, in the ‘Sunni Triangle’ and Baghdad, things are much more tense. This is where the most troops are concentrated and the most extreme measures are being taken to protect voters. Voters in Baghdad will have to reach the polls on foot because barricades set up to prevent attacks on the polls and car-bombs also block peaceful traffic. Once they get close to polling locations they will be surrounded by protective barricades and lots and lots of troops which will hopefully be sufficient to deter violence. Car bombing polling locations once the election has started will be nearly impossible and the largest danger is likely to be from relatively innacurate rocket attacks. or attacks on groups of voters before they get to the polls.

The remarkable thing about this election is that despite the dangers Iraqis even in the most violent areas seem determined to turn out and vote. Polls last week showed that at least 64% of the Iraqis in Baghdad planned to vote and many commented that they considered voting to be worth the risk of death, looking on death while voting as being as much of a martyr’s death as religious extremists consider a death during an act of terror. Ordinary Iraqis who don’t want to fight or carry guns or blow things up see this election as the surest way to strike back against the forces of terror which have harrowed their country. For them every vote cast, especially votes by women, is as good as bullet in the heart of reactionary terrorism. This is the way for peaceful people to take back their country with a legitimate government and a clear public mandate against extremism and violence.

Some are concerned that Sunnis may choose not to vote. How much of an issue htis is remains to be seen. Many Sunnis are participating in non-religious parties and will vote for those affiliations, and those who actually do choose to boycott the election because of religious loyalties are actually effectively casting a virtual vote. They are choosing not to be counted and not to be represented. Buy opting out of the electoral process they are in effect voting for continued terrorism and civil war. As a minority which takes that stand they can expect to reap the rewards of such an unacceptable political position, but that is the choice they made.

The disturbing news is that there are those who would rather see Iraq plunged into another 50 years of darkness and oppression than win freedom with the support of the United States. They would rather side with fundamentalist theocrats, murdering terrorists and the remnants of Iraq’s old tyrranical regime regardless of the harm it does to the people of Iraq. For them anything is better than a victory for America and Freedom. These hate-filled narcissists like the sneering socialists at The Guardian and the radical provocateurs at Al Jezeera will never accept the outcome of the election no matter how well it goes. Every Sunni who chooses to endorse terrorism instead of voting will have been ‘disenfranchised’ in their eyes, and every voter who stays away from the polls out of fear of violence will be painted as ‘boycotting’ the election.

Once the election ends they will step up their campaign of lies. The claims will begin that voters chose candidates with American guns at their heads – as if any American officer would issue such an order or any American soldier would follow it. It will be like the claims of voting fraud in Ohio but on a higher level of magnitude and with just as little substance. Because of the remoteness and the security issues in this election they can make up any claims they like to try to taint the results, and the greater the turnout and more successful the election the more outrageous their deceptions will be. Since truth has no meaning to them and their humanitarian posture is a sham to cover their Anti-American agenda, they will set no limits and stop at nothing to spread their ‘Big Lie’.

The saddest thing is that there are otherwise sensible people who will believe them. They’ve laid the groundwork for their deceit well over the past few years and found an audience around the world gullible enough and paranoid enough to listen to whatever they tell them. They’ve convinced these dupes that America is the Great Satan and that no matter how good our intentions or how noble our actions, whatever we do must be part of some ill-defined sinister plot to dominate the world. They have nurtured their audience on hate and jealousy and resentment so that they too believe that no price is too great for innocent people in Iraq to pay if it brings down the evil American Empire.

Let us hope and pray that the election goes well tomorrow and that Iraq moves forward with a new government onto firmer and firmer ground. Every vote cast is a victory for truth and freedom and every success of the new government is a nail in the coffin of the unholy alliance of terrorism, religious extremism and international socialism. When the lies begin we should all be prepared to counter them with facts. When they start spinning their web of deception we will cut through it with the sword of truth. Expose the hatemongers for what they really are and eventually they will lose their sway over those they have duped and deceived. Their power will fade and the flowers of evil which they have planted will wither on the vine.

Dave

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About Dave Nalle

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    The mainstream media will paint this election as a disaster and a sham no matter the outcome. Bloggers must be willing to find the actual facts and post them.

    Bloggers! At Arms!

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    RJ – check the Washington Post (Big media last tiem i checked) link cited by Dave – and shut up already about “the media.” If it goes wrong you’ll blame the media. if it goes right you won’t give any credit to “the media.”

    We know your story there. No news there.

    It’s politics.

    Incidentally, if I didn’t know any of the candidates I was voting for; for Congress, for city council, for state representaive, I’d be pissed as a voter and I really wouldn’t consider it “Democracy,” American style.

    It’s much more involved than that, but my brain stops at that every time I remember it – people don’t know who their candidates are.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>RJ – check the Washington Post (Big media last tiem i checked) link cited by Dave – and shut up already about “the media.” If it goes wrong you’ll blame the media. if it goes right you won’t give any credit to “the media.”< < I'm very proud of the Washington Post. It's my hometown paper and it's turning into the only major newspaper with any real credibility and the will to provide real balanced coverage. >>Incidentally, if I didn’t know any of the candidates I was voting for; for Congress, for city council, for state representaive, I’d be pissed as a voter and I really wouldn’t consider it “Democracy,” American style.<< It’s certainly not democracy American style, but it’s a very creative way to address the unique difficulties of implementing democracy in the conditions which exist in Iraq. And contrary to first impressions, many of the candidates are known, especially for local offices up to the level of governors. Those are the offices where this is much more of an American style election because they are voting directly for the candidates by office. Dave

  • http://www.myspace.com/welcometobrookhollow Scott

    Media or no media, what happens in Iraq, be it good or bad, is gonna go down no matter what the “media” reports. Will some people be killed? Probably. Will most Iraqis vote. Probably. Which story will bring bigger ratings? The killings, of course. The only media “bias” is towards making money and that’s a fact. I’ve had enough of this “liberal media” and “conservative media” bullshit. Get over it everyone.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    About an hour ago Ali Fahdil went to vote in Iraq. He’s going to post his experiences when he gets back home. The report’s not up on his blog yet, but it will be up there at any moment. He’s one of the better, more expressive Iraqi bloggers and his take on the voting experience will be informative.

    Everyone should check it out at Free Iraqi. If he hasn’t posted his report yet, go back and keep going back until he does.

    Dave

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I should add that Ali lives in Baghdad, so his voting situation will be about as precarious as any in Iraq, so his report ought to be pretty telling.

    Dave

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Thanks, Scott. That’s – pretty much – what I was talkin’ ’bout.

  • http://www.antequeravillarental.com alienboy

    Can someone tell me exactly WHEN it bacame okay for “journalists” to campaign rather than report?

    Perhaps if the journalists left the opinions to their readers and concentrated more on letting us know what’s going on, they might be worthy of the respect that they ought to deserve…

  • http://www.antequeravillarental.com alienboy

    A small example of this is that the actual book used to hang this tripe on is actually written by a Frenchman!

    Yes, a book attacking anti-Americanism, written by the USA’s current European bogeyman, the French.

    You see, the book was written by Jean-François Revel, not by this “Diarmid Cammell” that you namecheck; I assume he did the translation as his name doesn’t appear on the book cover.

    What with the French having tipped the balance during the American War of Indpendence, all this pro-Americanism from the country reactionaries love to hate must be really irritating…

    I can see why you would want to hide the fact, Mr Nalle, it would get in the way of the hysterical bile you seem to want to pump out today.

    The last 4 paragraphs of your original post are particularly depressing, written as they are full of hate and contempt for other voices and displaying total disregard for other views.

    You really need to get over this imagined anti-Americanism thing (in particular, try to remember that we Europeans are America’s best friends in the world and we have a vested interest that the USA does well) and try to get a handle on reality.

    You may find the rest of the world is not as hostile as you fear…

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com andy marsh

    I keep hearing that we shouldn’t bring up that whole french would be speaking german thing lately, so…if that’s the case, I think we can also drop the we’d be speaking the queens english thing too. I’d say the U.S. has paid it’s debt to France many times over. To say ALL Europeans are the USA’s friend is way to big a generalization.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Ali Fahdil did eventually get back from voting and has a great report on it. Like most of the huge number of Iraqis who turned out it was a joyous and violence free experience. You can read about it at Free Iraqi. Carruthers might want to avoid reading it or he might suffer a grinch-like heart expansion. It’s pretty uplifting.

    As most of you probably already know turnout in almost all parts of Iraq has been considerably higher than expected, including among Sunnis, and violence has been relatively low. My heart really goes out to the Iraqi National Guard soldiers who were being used as human bomb detectors, greeting suspected suicide bombers solo at the barricades so that no one would die but one ING soldier when the man with the bulgy coat showed up.

    This is truly an enormous defeat for the terrorists. Their bold claims that they would stop the elections and kill hundreds of voters have proven totally unrealistic, with only 36 dead in a handful of attacks and almost all of those soldiers, not voters. There’s a note of desperation in the internet message from Al Zarqawi today and it’s a reasonable bet that it will be downhill from here for the terrorists.

    And remember, it’s all because Geraldo was there!

    Dave

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Alienboy: You see, the book was written by Jean-François Revel, not by this “Diarmid Cammell” that you namecheck; I assume he did the translation as his name doesn’t appear on the book cover.

    He was listed as the author on Amazon, but as you should know, I have no control over how Amazon lists the book on here. I thought it was particularly ironic to include a book by one of the small number of increasingly outspoken sensible Frenchmen who want to see their country change its slide into socialism and corruption.

    Alienboy: What with the French having tipped the balance during the American War of Indpendence, all this pro-Americanism from the country reactionaries love to hate must be really irritating…

    Like any sensible person I love the French, but hate their government.

    Alienboy: I can see why you would want to hide the fact, Mr Nalle, it would get in the way of the hysterical bile you seem to want to pump out today.

    As I pointed out above, it was Amazon which chose to credit the translator, not me. Maybe a little less leaping to conclusions would make you look like less of a bitter fool? I know that the resounding success of the election in Iraq is a blow to your hopes for more violence and slaughter, but try not to become too bitter about it.

    Alienboy: The last 4 paragraphs of your original post are particularly depressing, written as they are full of hate and contempt for other voices and displaying total disregard for other views.

    Sorry, I refuse to have a positive attitude about the enemies of freedom.

    Alienboy: You really need to get over this imagined anti-Americanism thing (in particular, try to remember that we Europeans are America’s best friends in the world and we have a vested interest that the USA does well) and try to get a handle on reality.

    Perhaps you should remind The Guardian of that – or start here at home and tell it to Carruthers who is presumably in deep mourning right now.

    Dave

  • Eric Olsen

    incredibly exciting day, Dave, and no one other than the terrorists could call the election anything other than an enormous success

  • NC

    No one? How about the “Bush is a fascist” crowd? I bet they’ve cooked up some interesting spin.

    Time for me to head over to Neal Pollack’s site and see what pearls of wisdom he has to share.

  • Eric Olsen

    I am scanning the headlines right now – even the Guardian is positive

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Hard to imagine The Guardian being positive. I wonder how long it will last.

    Dave

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I took a look at The Guardian page. The relatively favorable lead article on the election was picked up from the more moderate Observer. Give them another day or two and I guarantee they’ll be spinning it negative when their pet socialist commentators have had time to figure out how to take such positive news and squeeze the nuggets of negativism out of it.

    Dave

  • NC

    You’d think these motherfuckers could muster a word or two of half-hearted enthusiasm, but anything that’s good for Bush is ipso facto bad for the world, right?

  • Eric Olsen

    hilarious – I assume you aren’t talking about Michelle, but those to whom she refers remaining curiously silent on one of the epochal events in the last 50 years of the Middle East

  • NC

    Indeed. They should look on the bright side, though: no doubt plans are underway even now within terrorist circles to assassinate the new Iraqi prime minister, whoever he may be. That’ll show Bush, huh?

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    From what I can tell, with every new outrage the terrorists are losing acceptance with Iraqis and the reaction is starting to snowball. If the terrorism continues I wouldn’t be surprised to see popular reprisals, which could get very messy.

    Dave

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com andy marsh

    Wouldn’t they normally call that a civil war?

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    A civil war suggests organized military style forces on both sides. I’m thinking we might be looking at something more like lynch mobs going after terrorists and terrorist sympathizers. Now that the election has come off fairly well a lot of Iraqis seem to be royally pissed at the terrorists.

    Dave

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    I’m thinking along the lines of roving bands of vigilante death squads with a singular goal: Kill the Ba’athist holdouts and their foreign terrorist allies…

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Exactly, RJ. If Allawi gets in power, gets the military stabilized and the US moves out, death squads for terrorists wouldn’t be inconceivable. Allawi has some rough edges and so do some of the other leading contenders.

    Dave

  • Shark

    Hooray for death squads!

    MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!

    Again!

    (Meet the new boss; same as the old boss.)

  • JR

    Dave Nalle: If the terrorism continues I wouldn’t be surprised to see popular reprisals, which could get very messy.

    andy marsh: Wouldn’t they normally call that a civil war?

    RJ: I’m thinking along the lines of roving bands of vigilante death squads with a singular goal: Kill the Ba’athist holdouts and their foreign terrorist allies…

    Well now, look who’s starting to sound pessimistic. What are ya, a bunch of socialists? Get back on message.

  • Shark

    RJ: “I’m thinking… vigilante death squads with a singular goal: Kill the Ba’athist holdouts and their foreign terrorist allies…”

    …and I’m thinking they will have been trained by US and will be wearing Iraqi Police uniforms paid for by US.”

    Freedom and Democracy, Iraqi Style!

    Thanks, George!

  • Shark

    And DaveNalle wins today’s

    Bulwer Lytton Award
    for Most Empty, Blowhard Cliches Per Sentence:

    “…Every vote cast is a victory for truth and freedom and every success of the new government is a nail in the coffin of the unholy alliance of terrorism, religious extremism and international socialism. When the lies begin we should all be prepared to counter them with facts. When they start spinning their web of deception we will cut through it with the sword of truth. Expose the hatemongers for what they really are and eventually they will lose their sway over those they have duped and deceived. Their power will fade and the flowers of evil which they have planted will wither on the vine.

    He should be banned from Blogcritics for extreme violations of literary laws of aesthetics.

    But extra points for using the word “cusp” in a headline!

    Oy.

  • Shark

    Mark Edward Manning came in a close second with the following submission:

    “President Bush, on the other hand, is coming up smelling of roses. His wisdom with regard to Iraq has just borne its first significant fruits.”

    …but his horribly mixed metaphor was not able to overcome Nalle’s seemingly infinite stream of archaic, Victorian cliches.

    In the end, rose bushes bearing fruit just couldn’t compete with *flowers of evil withering on the vine.

    *with apologies to Baudelaire

  • Shark

    Al Barger — who, as a recent Libertarian candidate for Senate, knows how to sympathize with the marginalized Sunni voters, was awarded an honorable mention in the Right Wing Blowhard Battle to immortalize the Iraqi election with hideous cliches.

    “…This has been a red letter day for the Iraqi people. They have made a massive brave demonstration of positive desire to take control of their own destiny [whew!], and to make a real future for themselves and their children.”

    Barger was a distant third in the Bulwer Lytton competition, but was voted a special “Judges Honorable Mention” for finding a place for the phrase “peaches and cream”!

    And despite the fact that all the contestants were just following their intuitions, thinking outside the box, and showing that when the going gets tough, the tough get going, we have to congratulate all who contributed by saying:

    If at first you don’t succeed, try try again!

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    You know, I was specifically thinking of Les Fleurs de Mal when I wrote that sentence, good job catching the reference. And yes, I do like great rhetoric, particularly the speechwriting tradition of the 18th and 19th centuries. My favorites are Edmund Burke, Matthew Arnold, Daniel Webster, Stephen Douglas, Benjamin Disraeli, and William Jennings Bryan. Some damned fine wordsmiths.

    And what’s wrong with a toothy phrase? Did you have any problem getting my meaning? You have some sort of prejudice against metaphors? Must all writing be dry and devoid of style? Style is the tasty gravy to go with the hearty meal of substance.

    And to defend Mark Manning, that’s not a mixed metaphor. The Rose does bear a fruit called a Rosehip. I’ve eaten them. They’re disgusting. But they are a fruit.

    Dave

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    Style is the tasty gravy to go with the hearty meal of substance.

    Gravy can also help cover things up when the meal turns out to be crap.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Or perhaps the gravy makes the bitter meal of truth easier for the unwilling to swallow.

    Dave

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    I think that’s a spoonful of sugar.

  • Shark

    Dave: “And what’s wrong with a toothy phrase?”

    Dave, you live in Texas; surely you’ve heard the phrase, “You’re so full of shit, your eyes are brown.”

    (That’s you, babe.)

    xxoo
    S

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I think the brown just comes from eating too much rich, brown gravy.

    Dave

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com/ andy marsh

    My eyes are only LIGHT brown! HA!