Monday, January 31, 2005

Elections in Iraq


Juan Cole has a round-up regarding the elections in Iraq. I'm withholding judgment for the moment. I've opposed this war from the beginning just as I opposed Clinton's upholding of the sanctions throughout the 90s and the first war fought by daddy Bush. As I've often said, I am opposed to the intervention-based U.S. foreign policy of the past 50 years, supported by Republicans and Democrats alike. Many people would like to pretend that this Iraq adventure was all about democracy. Not so. Time will show that this was just one more maneuver by empire to secure resources. Defending freedom and democracy is just the same old spin used for many years by many presidents. In any case I agree with what Cole wrote yesterday:


I'm just appalled by the cheerleading tone of US news coverage of the so-called elections in Iraq on Sunday. I said on television last week that this event is a "political earthquake" and "a historical first step" for Iraq. It is an event of the utmost importance, for Iraq, the Middle East, and the world. All the boosterism has a kernel of truth to it, of course. Iraqis hadn't been able to choose their leaders at all in recent decades, even by some strange process where they chose unknown leaders. But this process is not a model for anything, and would not willingly be imitated by anyone else in the region. The 1997 elections in Iran were much more democratic, as were the 2002 elections in Bahrain and Pakistan. Moreover, as Swopa rightly reminds us all, the Bush administration opposed one-person, one-vote elections of this sort. First they were going to turn Iraq over to Chalabi within six months. Then Bremer was going to be MacArthur in Baghdad for years. Then on November 15, 2003, Bremer announced a plan to have council-based elections in May of 2004. The US and the UK had somehow massaged into being provincial and municipal governing councils, the members of which were pro-American. Bremer was going to restrict the electorate to this small, elite group.

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