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View Diary: The Iraq Election: Defining Success (489 comments)

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  •  On Balance (3.80)
    Of course this a success.  Even if it were merely pretty pictures, this would be a success.  Yes there is a long road ahead.  But you can't take away from the Iraqis what they've done today.  In fact I think, instead of nitpicking on this, we should be applauding, loudly.  The more of this we do, the more likely it is our soldiers will return home sooner, and safer.  They outperformed in Iraq, so why shouldn't they outperform on security?  The better they do, the harder it is for the neocon crowd to justify why they are still sounding our sons and daughters to their graves over there.  So yes, it was a success... no can we start withdrawing?
    •  Sorry I don't agree (4.00)
      I think this is the thinking that's killing our soldiers.  This has been an exercise in insanity from the very beginning.  This election is just the latest hail mary pass.  Any rand corperation analyst will tell you that insurgencies usually take as much as 10 years to clear up.  We need to get our soldiers out of there.  They shouldn't have been responsible for this situation from the beginning , and I'm just not willing to leave them there to die in perpetuity.

      To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind.

      by Descrates on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:35:53 AM PST

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      •  Timetable for Leaving (4.00)
        Resolution 1546, Section 12:

        "12. Decides further that the mandate for the multinational force shall be reviewed at the request of the Government of Iraq or twelve months from the date of this resolution, and that this mandate shall expire upon the completion of the political process set out in paragraph four above, and declares that it will terminate this mandate earlier if requested by the Government of Iraq;

        Paragraph 4 is the election.  Twelve months is Jun '05.  I will be sending this to my elected representatives often in the next few months.  Fish or cut bait.

      •  Not sure (none)
        How this is an argument against what I'm saying.  I'm saying that the election is a great thing, and should be used as an argument FOR withdrawing troops ASAP.
    •  Nitpicking? (3.83)
      You think this is nitpicking?

      Hardly.  It's looking past the platutudes being tossed around this morning on the cable news shows and asking what it means for the future.  Armando is correct that the real issue is what kind of job the new government does.  But let's step back a bit from even that statement?  

      What's the new government going to look like?  Will anyone even be able to form a coherent government, or will it make Italy in the 1970's look like Japanese parliamentary inertia?  And even more important, and quite separate from the fact that a new parliament will have been elected and a government will possibly have been formed, the most important question is this: Will the goverment have any legitimacy with enough sectors of the Iraqi people for it to keep the country from further chaos and possibly civil war?

      Elections are only one step, especially in a national parliamentary system with little federalism.  And if turnout was very low in Sunni areas, or significant portions of the population who may have wanted to were unable to vote, how much legitimacy will the government have?  If they don't have sufficient legitimacy, all our troop training will be for naught, becuase the civil authorities will not be able to exercise any control over the military and police.

      The election is a step, and its nature will give indications as to the likely successes or failure that lie ahead.  High turnout in Shia and Kurd areas tell us little.  Low turnout and violence associated with the elections in Sunni areas, if that proves to have been the case, will tell us lots.  And what it will indicate will not be good.  

      •  the question is (none)
        could this election, as it has played out, lead to a stable secure country? I agree with your doubts, but I don't think we can say one way or the other with certainty. In my humble predictive powers, I'd say that this election is a possible step for improvements to take place. In other words, this election as it happened could be one of the milestones of success. Given that the alternative was a final nail in the coffin, this election is a lot more successful than it might have been.

        Of course the questions you ask are paramount. Who exactly is winning, will they govern, will they be respected. But the elections weren't going to sort those questions out anyway.

        All extremists are irrational and should be exposed

        by SeanF on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:52:02 AM PST

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        •  Agreed That We Can't Say With Certainty (4.00)
          In the first couple hours after the 2000 election, it would have been difficult to know what a flawed election we had just had (and would continue to have for about another fifty days).  The polls have been closed for only a couple hours, so yes, it's tough to say.  I agree with that, but then you went on to say something about a nail in a coffin and that in fact the election was a success.  I think you should have stuck with your first point, especially for today.  If there was very low turnout in the Sunni areas and lots of folks couldn't even vote, I don't think the election itself was a success, even if everything else turns out OK.  

          As to whether the elections were going to sort out the issue of legitimacy, you're correct.  But legitimacy will be harder to secure if the elections themselves aren't seen as legitimate by the Sunni.  I'm afraid they won't see the elections as legitimate, and they're probably correct in that view.  So, while it won't sort out the other problems, it could exacerbate already existant tensions, and impede efforts at solutions.

          •  the nail in the coffin line (none)
            meant only: if the election had gone so badly that we knew already, hours after it was over, that it was a disastor, that would be the definition of failure. THe fact that we don't know means it could have been much worse.

   about dumbing down success! And yes, the credibility issue is the big one, although I feel this issue is also not yet resolved.

            All extremists are irrational and should be exposed

            by SeanF on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:20:40 AM PST

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          •  Legitimacy (none)

            I wonder how legitimate an election would be here in the United States if McCain won the Republican primary and our Religious Right decided that no Christian could vote for him, much less anybody else on the ballot.  

            (Also note that the Iraqi election took place on paper ballots...)  

      •  Yes this is a step. (none)
        And yes it is a success for Bush's propaganda war.

        To thine own self be true - W.S.

        by Agathena on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:08:48 AM PST

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      •  Also important to remember (4.00)
        that the main task of the new government that is to be "elected" will be to draft a constitution.  For that task it is imperative that minority representation exist.  

        Minority representation, minority representation, minority representation.


        In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

        by a gilas girl on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:40:46 AM PST

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      •  I am bewildered (none)
        Is this a reply to my comment?  Not sure... if so, of course there are practical concerns at play.  But rather than the US figuring all those out, why don't we let the people who live there figure it all out?  And why don't we also leave so there are no more excuses for the insurgency to appear popularly inspired?
    •  Democrats Should Applaud Elections (4.00)
      I'm with you.  Intimidating voters and bombing polling places is Ku Klux Klan tactics.  Democrats should offer them no comfort.
    •  Agree (none)
      It is a day of success amid a sea of failures, and we should be glad for it. To say "pretty pictures" seems to imply that the hope displayed will not be genuine. I think the hope will be real, however irrational it may be in the face of the security problem. My hope is that their hope will eventually be rewarded.

      Truth doesn't take sides

      by KingJames on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:04:56 AM PST

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      •  well said (none)
        I think we're missing the greater success here.  Which is that the Iraqis are clearly doing things for themselves.  They are displaying independence.  Our continued presence there only serves to disparage that display.  We should start bringing troops home now.

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