War is Peace - Freedom is Slavery - Ignorance is Strength

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

For Many Killed in Iraq, the Future Was Bright, and Near

Headline across the bottom half of A12 in yesterday's New York Times, set beneath photos of 36 members of the U.S. armed services who died last Wednesday. (1/26/05)

Including the front page, which was almost entirely Iraq, the Times had six pages devoted to the election story. I didn't read much of it, but it was pretty easy to catch the general drift from the headlines.

What can I say? Until now I hadn't known that Dan Bartlett was a member of their staff.

The total willingness of the media - even the old school print - to act as mouthpieces for administration propaganda may not be shocking anymore, but in this case the arrogant extremes to which they have gone - in promoting the Iraqi Election as some kind of epic achievement - are dumbfounding in both their scale and their ineptitude.

First, let me ask this: How much print is typically devoted to foreign elections?

Seriously, they didn't give this kind of coverage to the U.S. elections. The very fact that this P.R. event is being taken seriously enough to write six pages about it is nothing but irresponsible pandering to the administration.

Why do I call this a "P.R." event?

Well, I can give a few reasons - ones that I didn't see mentioned in any of these gushing oratories about the triumph of democracy.

1) Turnout

It was high! 60%! Maybe. At least that's what they said. Even though they hadn't counted any ballots yet. And since nobody could travel by car - except for the U.S. military and the Iraqi Security Forces - there was no independent reporting of Sunday's vote.

Well, 60% is high by American standards... right?

Am I dripping in skepticism - or is that just more cold sweat?

Even if turnout actually proves to have been 60%, that is 60% of registered voters. A very nasty little caveat indeed. Curious parties may want to pay close attention to the final vote tallies, and see how they compare to Iraq's population figures.

2) Legitimacy

Free Elections = Legitimate Government (or so it's claimed)

Anyone with two bits of common sense can see that there was nothing free or fair about Iraq's elections.

From the highly contrived party systems, and geographical power allotments, to the pervasive lack of security, and the fact that the elections were conducted under a state of martial law, the elections were a farce. Which should come as no surprise to anybody who remembers that they were originally put in place for the benefit of voters in America, not Iraq.

3) Impact


The only benefit to holding elected office in a country that is serving as a battle ground for 150,000 foreign soldiers pitched against a heavily armed resistance, numbering in the tens of thousands, is that the U.S. Embassy might provide you with an attachment of civilian contractors to serve as body guards.

The downside is that even a highly trained body guard can't exactly throw himself on top of a car bomb.

You'd have to be pretty hard hearted not to be moved by the courage of the millions of Iraqis who insisted on turning out to vote yesterday despite the very real threat that they would be walking into mayhem and violent death at the polls. -Bob Herbert

Maybe it's the insight of a hardened heart, but last i checked, the willingness of Iraqis to die for their beliefs wasn't exactly a wellspring of optimism for the future of that country.

I love your 4 am posts!

-Mr. A
Yeah - they are always sooooo positive & upbeat.
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