- It’s the first time in something like 50 years that the Iraqis have had the chance to do this.
- If we do end up pulling out of Iraq, the success of this election could make it less likely they would turn toward an Islamic fundamentalist form of government.
- The fact that there was such a high voter turnout (despite violence) suggests that future elections may also be successful, as this one appears to have been.
- Other Middle Eastern countries might sit up and take notice. If some do, and if they decide to have free elections by their own choice, then I will say this election was definintely a success.
- There was not nearly the amount of violence there could have been. A lot of voters came out to vote, while it seemed as if a lot of the terrorists stayed home.
Approach with caution:
- This successful election is not an end-all. There are more elections to be held; this is only the first in a series… but it is a good first step.
- When US voters elected Lincoln in 1860, it fractured our country. Civil war ensued. If certain Iraqi groups feel disenfranchised, it could happen in Iraq too. I think that part of “restoring order” in Iraq will be to do our best to make sure the various factions feel represented.
- Even though it was less (and thankfully less) than expected, there was still violence.
- Most of the terrorists may have stayed at home Sunday, but that doesn't mean they aren't still in Iraq and in other places around the world.
- We are still occupying Iraq, and it still doesn't look like the troops will be home any time soon.
Nonetheless: I rarely say this, but I think AT LEAST SOME kudos are in order to the Bush administration. However, I think MOST of the kudos shouldn’t go to Bush himself, or to Rummy or Wolfie et al, but rather to our TROOPS for making the Iraqi election possible. (Same goes for capturing Saddam Hussein. We shouldn't forget it wasn't Dubya or the GOP that caught Saddam, it was our troops.) It’s one thing to have an idea, but the people in the trenches are the ones who carry it out. To the administration, I say "I think 'free elections in Iraq' is one of the few good ideas you have had... but thanks." To the troops, I say “GOOD JOB!”
It will be interesting to see what the new Iraqi “government” is like, and how soon it will tell us to get our troops out of Iraq, if it does. It will also be fun to see whether or not the Bush administration uses the success of this election and the success of the upcoming ones to say “Let’s pull our troops out of Iraq” as the pressure mounts at home for withdrawal and as his approval ratings decline. Successful elections there could provide him and his buddies with a "safety valve" of sorts.
I doubt that Bush and the neoconservatives actually want to pull out of Iraq, given the permanent military bases we are building there and given the fact that Iraq is right next to Iran, Bush's probable next target… but if they feel a need to use their spin machine about this, it will give them a way to say “We have pulled our troops out of Iraq” while at the same time leaving plenty of US troops there to man the new military bases. And the American people will be fooled yet again.
I still don’t like the fact that our troops are in a war for which the reasons for our troops being there have been changed seemingly every time the administration is questioned about the last reason it gave for invading Iraq… I think far too many people have died during the last several years to get the situation to where it is today. I also feel badly that Sunday's Iraqi election was part of an ongoing "nation-building" process, in which the US is involved. Bush said he wouldn't engage us in nation-building, yet here we are.
Just the same, by making this election relatively successful, I am happy that the US military has given Iraqis some things to be happy about in the midst of all the uncertainty. After what they've been through during the last few decades, I think they deserve at least that much.