Yay for elections in Iraq!
Well, maybe yay, we'll see. I'll at least give a "Yay!" for low casualties on election day.
The press in the US, and perhaps all over the world, have been hyping the elections in Iraq as the most wonderful thing since sliced bread. Democracy beat evil, or whatever, but what does it all mean?
First off, it's highly doubtful the elections were such a resounding success as everyone seems to think. The estimates of 72% turnout are already starting to look like wishful thinking and turnout among Sunnis is starting to look pretty sparse overall.
But did democracy win? Well, no. It's not like democracy was an issue in the elections where you could check yes or no.
But wait a minute, doesn't voting for representatives mean you're practicing democracy? Well kinda, but as I've pointed out, Iraq has had many elections over the years where they elected representatives to the National Assembly. If that's all that constitutes a democracy then you'd have to say that Iraq has always been one.
There were two differences betweent his election and the others. This time they had a choice other than Baathists so that's a good thing, and this National Assembly has the duty of crafting a new constitution for Iraq.
But then again, this time no one knew who was running because candidates wouldn't release their name for fear of being killed. So people turned out to vote for parties to send their people to the National Assembly, and it looks like the parties of Ayatollas and Islamic rule probably fared pretty well in the election.
And no one even knows who their candidates are. Are they liberal or fundamentalist, religious or secular? Did Osama bin Laden run? No one really knows, but it's possible that when the new constitution is written, they may choose something other than liberal westernized democracy to be their new system.
Another problem is the fact that turnout was really low among Sunni arabs so they may get screwed when the constitution is written. I'm no expert on Iraq but what's to stop some of these anonymous candidates from writing civil laws based on Shiite Islam and excluding Sunnis? Then what's to stop a civil war from erupting?
But I'm not trying to be all doom and gloom. I'm just saying it's not over yet, this is only the beginning. It does look like a lot of people voted because they believed it would end the occupation, and it's kinda embarrassing to say high turnout was a victory for the bush doctrine when it may be due to the fact that they were voting to get rid of us, especially given the fact that the bush administration were against the election from day one and only changed their mind and started taking all the credit when it became apparent that they couldn't stop it.
However, if that's the case, in my mind that's still a good thing. The election will still be a success because it gave the Iraqis the feeling of autonomy. I don't want to speak for them but maybe they were thinking that they may not have the perfect system, but they'd take an imperfect Iraqi system over being occupied by a foreign military any day.
And who can argue with that? The first step to getting their country in order is to want to get it into order. A drill instructor in the military takes a bunch of guys and treats them all like shit so they'll all hate him. That way the guys join together into a team and work together to accomplish their goals. In the end they thank him for it.
And now in Iraq, maybe they all joined together to get their system in order so they could end the indignity of foreign occupation. So even if they don't adopt an American-friendly liberal democracy, maybe everything will end up allright anyway.
A lot of people want Iraq to be our best buddies and drink Coke and wear Levis and watch HBO, but I, for one, don't care about that. I just want to see the Iraqi people happy and safe and living the way they want to, not the way some foreigners want them to. Let's hope that happens. Let's hope they make it happen. And who knows, maybe in the end they'll thank us for the little part we played.