Are they really going to be able to sell this crap to the US TV viewing public as a success? They certainly are not making much progress in convincing ordinary Iraqis that the elections are a good idea... The much-vaunted advent of "Democracy" has become straight-out horse-trading among the major players (well, it is based on the US model, after all).
' According to the Al Furat newspaper, 53 political parties and organizations as well as 30 individuals have asked their names to be dropped from the election lists in a bid to show their rejection of elections under US occupation. 'From Juan Cole:
There had been 105 parties and individuals, and 6 coalitions, participating in the elections. There were only about 30 individuals running as independents, and it appears that they have all now withdrawn. And half of the registered parties have also withdrawn, if al-Furat is correct....From Molly Ivins:
Every path forward has costs. Postponing the elections leaves in place the increasingly unpopular Allawi interim government, populated by old CIA assets, which destroyed its credibility by acting as a cheering section for the US destruction of Fallujah...
On the other hand, the credibility of elections in which the candidates have to remain anonymous to avoid being killed, and in which Sunni Arab candidates are increasingly unavailable, and in which half the lists have rushed to withdraw, is also very low. The credibility of the elections is not improved by the US killing or detaining and humiliating the party and clan leaders among the Sunnis who had still been willing to contest them, helping to drive them out of the race.
As usual in Bush's Iraq, there are no good options here because the administration's prior bad decisions have poisoned the most promising wells for the future.
The Bush administration has been telling us only four out of the 18 provinces in Iraq will be too unsafe to vote in. Doesn't sound that bad, does it? Unless you happen to know that about 50 percent of the population lives in those four provinces. Will someone explain to me what earthly good they expect to do by misleading us?From the WaPo:
With just over two weeks until the Iraqi elections, the United States is lowering its expectations for both the turnout and the results of the vote...Meanwhile Bush says:
The Bush administration played down voter turnout yesterday in determining the elections' legitimacy and urged Americans not to get bogged in a numbers game in judging the balloting...
"I would . . . really encourage people not to focus on numbers, which in themselves don't have any meaning, but to look on the outcome and to look at the government that will be the product of these elections," a senior administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
"I don't see how you can be President - at least from my perspective - without a relationship with the Lord."Maybe he can blame the Lord for the mess in Iraq. After all, he sure does work in mysterious ways...
And just to end on a positive note:
George Soros, who made his fortune in the hedge fund industry; Herb and Marion Sandler, the California couple who own a multi-billion-dollar savings and loan business; and Peter Lewis, the chairman of an Ohio insurance company, donated more than $63m (£34m) in the 2004 election cycle to organizations seeking to defeat George W. Bush.
At a meeting in San Francisco last month, the left-leaning billionaires agreed to commit an even larger sum over a longer period to building institutions to foster progressive ideas and people.
Far from being disillusioned by the defeat of John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate, the billionaires have resolved to invest further in the intellectual future of the left, one person involved said.