The Anonymous Correspondent took me to task the other day for my comments on the Iraqi election. On re-reading what I wrote, and his/her comments (I don’t even know who this person is), I realize a little clarification may be in order.
Nothing written in the posting of January 30 was meant in any way to impugn the courage of the Iraqi people who voted. My comments were directed toward the Bush Administration. They set an arbitrary date, then held to it, whether anyone had a reasonable expectation of safety or not. The results were better than could have been expected, but elections are hardly free if you have to take your life in your hands to vote in them.
Lest anyone doubt my admiration for those who voted on Sunday, let’s think back a few months. There was talk in this country of how our election might have to be postponed if a terrorist threat made it impossible to guarantee everyone’s security. The Iraqis don’t live with terrorists’ threats; they live with terrorists’ actions. We’re saying it was a good day because no more innocent people than usual were killed, yet Iraqi voter turnout as a percentage of the eligible population was higher than ours in November, for what was acknowledged as a pivotal election.
I should have been more clear about the object of my derision. On the other hand, it was probably unreasonable to expect us to be able to promise any kind of election security. We can’t even keep the lights on over there all day.
In a related note, Iraqi officials, working under the supervision of Florida and Ohio election officials who donated their time to help with the Iraqi ballot counting, have announced George W. Bush is the new president of Iraq.