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Yay for democracy

Hooray for the elections in Iraq! The accounts are moving. For example, from the Boston Globe:

Wamidh Imad al-Zubaidi, an engineer, almost decided not to vote after death threats against would-be voters circulated in his mixed Sunni and Shi’ite neighborhood, Zayouna. Then, he said, he remembered his brother, who was executed for opposing Saddam Hussein’s regime.

”I feel a power inside myself, and there is a voice telling me, this should not happen to my son or to any Iraqi. I have to prevent this dictatorship from returning to Iraq,” he said, adding that he braved the polls with his pregnant wife. ”We put it in God’s hands.”

But declarations the elections have been are “resounding success” are obviously premature. Did Iraq just vote or did it just establish the fault lines of a civil war?

So, I find myself torn. I am thrilled Saddam is gone and people are voting. But it’s still not how I’d choose to spend the money and lives this war we were lied into cost.

Michael Prothero has a nice piece at Salon reporting from the scene.

5 Responses to “Yay for democracy”

  1. “war we were lied into”

    we? We? WE?!?

    What did you do in the war, daddy?

    I thought you supported the minutemen from baath.

    Perhaps you mean you were lied to by Fahrenheit 9 out of 11?

  2. Joho the Blog: Yay for democracy

    Joho the Blog: Yay for democracy: I find myself torn. I am thrilled Saddam is gone and people are voting. But it’s still not how I’d choose to spend the money and lives this war we were lied into…

  3. Interesting how the action of voting is immediately associated with automatically becoming a democracy in the sense of Western democracies like the U.K., France, Australia, Canada, and perhaps even the U.S., but the jury’s still out on that one.

    The reality is that a democracy requires an entire large set of supporting institutions that every democratic country (that we would naturally consider to be democratic, including the U.S.) built BEFORE establishing universal sufferage. Where are the courts? Where are the schools? Where is the rule of law? Where is the truly free choice and free participation, absent an occupying force? Where is the free press? Where is the oversight that prevents corruption of officials… oops…

    And so forth.

    That the people came out in droves to vote for one among many candidates for the first time in years says a tremendous amount about the will of the people. Personally, I’ve learned not to trust that which is reported by the Western mass-media alone on what is happening in Iraq. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice…

    The problem is, of course, we’re up over ten on that old saw…

  4. On “becoming a democracy in the [Western] sense….”
    What are you talking about? Iraq has been a “democracy” for ages!

    – SOME of the population has voted, albeit in less than 100 percent numbers, for the ONLY OPTION (that they didn’t really want to begin with), rather apathetically for years! Sound familiar?

    – The candidate (okay, not plural — but what was the difference between Kerry and Bush, anyway?) who had control of the infrastructure won. Sound familiar?

    – FEAR governed people’s public speech and actions. Heard of the Patriot Act?

    – The party controlling the war machine always wins — and we know that “might makes right.”

    Please remind me just what makes Western democracies better than that of _____.
    (Fill in the blank with: Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Palestine, Israel, etc. — which all have elected, parliamentary-style governing bodies, that may or may not represent the wishes of those governed.)

  5. Turns out that the widely-hailed election results might be slightly problematic. Just slightly.


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