February 14, 2005

Iraq's US-style Elections

It is a difficult confession, but we used to have some doubts about the valour of the Iraqi people. Not any longer. We doubted them because of the apparent ease with which US forces occupied Iraq. What we were forgetting was that it was not the Iraqi people who crumbled in front of the invaders. It was the forces around Saddam that crumbled away to nothing, as there was nothing to hold them up. The people of Iraq have left no doubt about their own valiance in the minds of knowledgeable and impartial observers. They have shown indomitable and exemplary courage in the face of the adversities imposed on them by the invaders. They have taken advantage of every possible opportunity, peacefully or otherwise, to show the invaders that the masquerade of liberation has not fooled them. The Iraqi people's incredible courage in risking their lives to come out in large numbers to vote has left no doubt that the invaders have no lessons in democracy to teach the Iraqi people.

We, who are on the side of the Iraqi people, must not forget that the ultimate aim of these elections, from the point of view of the invaders, was to legitimize the puppet government of Iraq, and to strengthen and perpetuate the divisions among the Iraqi people. As the old saying from the time of the British Empire goes: "Divide and conquer." The Iraqi people, by turning away from the party of the butcher Allawi, have seen to it that the evil design does not reach full fruition. The reason the opposition won was not that it represented a better platform, as there was no platform and no named candidates. The primary reason the opposition won was that it represented forces hostile to the invaders.

The elections themselves are invalidated by the atmosphere and background that surrounded them, and do not represent the will of the Iraqi people as it would have been expressed in truly free and openly contested elections. The breakdown of any sense of security, and the overwhelming fear of being attacked by the invaders or the forces of the Resistance are topics of daily newscasts. The great majority of the people did not know anything about the individuals they voted for, as the list of candidates was kept secret up to the time the ballots were distributed. This fact in itself leaves no doubt that these elections are invalid. As with the recent US Presidential elections, people's religious beliefs were exploited to sway their votes. Hence Sistani issued a fatwa that mandated voting for the Shia party coalition. Voting was a condition for receiving food rations, a fact that accounts for a part of the turnout. Election "monitors" turned into voters, by filling out the ballots of many illiterate and elderly people who had come out to vote.

The Condi Rice Travelling Roadshow is trying to take full advantage of these sham elections to further Bush's agenda. It is a time of real danger, when the voice of real democracy and freedom is being drowned out by the blare of propaganda. However much we may sympathize with the plight of the Iraqi people, and however much we may admire their monumental courage, it is imperative that the illegitimacy of these elections becomes as widely known as that of the US Presidential Elections in 2000. This may be one of the very few means left available with which to impede the progress of the Bush bandwagon.


Unknown said...

Very nice writing. i couldn't agree more.
Thank you, bodhi

Flemish American said...

Call me naïve if you want, but your travels to the far left make you just as guilty as the idealists on the far right. Winston Churchill (former Prime Minister of Canada, uh, United Kingdom) once said "You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing...once they've exhausted all other options.". As funny as that sounds, there is an element of truth to it.
I do not support George W. in everything he does and he certainly sticks his foot in it sometimes, but to simply discount him and the business in Iraq the way you do is also a bit ignorant and naïve.
The U.S. does have a lot to learn about foreign policy and, perhaps the shame of it all, once they figure it out, it is time for a new administration. I personally feel the historians 20 years from now will be much kinder to the current administration.

atlien said...

You have an interesting blog, and you raise good points in many of your posts. That being said, your praise of Arafat I feel is unfounded. Neither the Jews nor the Palestinians are without blame in the foolish holy war they are waging against each other. Arafat tried unsuccesfully to bridge the gap between the extremsits in the PLO and the few that actually do wish for a resolution (as opposed to a fight to the death). At the end, he was little more than a figurehead, and his pleas to stop the suicide attacks fell on deaf ears. While I agree with you wholeheartedly that Bush is a buffoon who may well lead the World into WWIII, you are being too hard on the U.S. troops. They have been placed in the middle of a hostile warzone, and have to react to the attacks that come their way. I too would be wary of anyone around me there, and many of the citizens are grateful for the support our troops have provided.

Al S. E. said...

To "Flemish American" and "cantseefade": I am shocked when I read that over a hundred thousand Iraqis (reported from information gathered by the Lancet medical journal, October 2004) have been killed because of the current war on Iraq; I am shocked to the core of my being when I read that the majority of the dead were women and children killed through aerial bombardment or attacks by helicopter gunships; I am shocked when I read of hospitals being destroyed so that no record is left of the number of the dead. And, more than anything, I am deeply saddened by the fact that all this death and destruction is about Dubya's appetite for oil, and Cheney's appetite for profits. If all of this means that I am a naive person of the "far left," well, I can live with that.
The other day, I was talking about the Canadian armed forces with somebody. He expressed surprise that the raison d’etre of the Canadian army is to conduct search and rescue missions. Before I continue, I should try to pre-empt comments about Canada's desperate need for a US military umbrella because of the nature of the Canadian armed forces. (Yes, we "far-leftists," too, have gone into the pre-emption business.) Canada entered both World Wars more than two years before the US did, because the mission of the Canadian armed forces has always been to help civilian populations. No-one was more in need of such help at that time than the people of the Allied nations. The US, on the other hand, despite the mythology to the contrary, entered both World Wars only after its own interests came under attack. As far as Canada’s defence in the recent decades in concerned, the only potential threats Canada has faced have been due to having a belligerent neighbour who travels the world to make new enemies for itself and its neighbours. Otherwise, we don’t need, and have never needed, the “protection” of the US Government, thank you very much!
I have nothing against individual American soldiers, in the same way that I have nothing against their idiot President. I hear he is very nice to have a beer with. But I will continue to heap condemnation on the US armed forces until such time as they can honestly deny that they are anything more than a killing machine, whose prime objective is to force other countries to do the bidding of the US Government. Any civilian aid they render is incidental to their primary mission.

Wynn Bexton said...

I think the majority of Canadians (including me) agree with you.
We are proud of Canadian forces for their role as peace keepers.

Al S. E. said...

Thanks Wynn. I neglected to mention the very important role of the Canadian armed forces as peacekeepers. In fact, Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson won the 1957 Nobel Peace Prize for creating the peacekeeping forces of the United Naions.

Litany said...

There's really no winning, is there? Whatever steps we take, there are horrible results.

And yet, isolationism is also not the answer, history has proven that.

Sigh. Scary world.

Al S. E. said...

Thanks for your comment, Litany. I think the dichotomy that they have always drilled into our brains, that is, the one between inteventionism and isolationism, is false. There is a third way, which is multilateralism. The US has done a lot of good in the world, but only when it has worked with the rest of the world, rather than against it. So, I don't feel despondent at all. In fact, I feel very hopeful that the US government, partly because of the experience of the last few years, may be coming to realize that the best way to solve problems is to solve them in cooperation with other nations. I also feel very encouraged by the political activism and analysis that I see at the grassroot level.

BJ said...

The US election system has been working just fine for over 200 years now. The US has set the example for the peaceful transition of power since 18th century, while the rest of the world was ruled by imperialist kings and queens.

Our governments policy of neutrality and isolationism allowed Europe to tear itself to pieces for over 100 years, which led to the 2 most destructive wars in world history. I also seem to recall form my history lessons that it was only the intervention of the US military that brought an end to both those wars. In my opinion the allied powers were on the verge of defeat, and would have been defeated if the US had not entered WWII. So I would say our help was better late than never.

As far as the cold war is concerned I would have to say that Canada and the rest of the world was completely dependent on the power of the US military for there protection. Why else would the Canadian government have agreed to let the US build its early warning systems in Canadian territory? As far as aggressive neighbors are concerned I would have to say that the USSR was far more aggressive than the US ever was. You should be thanking god for our protection or we would all be calling each other comrade.

If it weren't for the support of the US the United Nations organization would have been a larger failure than it already is. The US provides the lion’s share of the funding, and military support for the UN. We even give them the safe place to have their little meetings so they can spend their American tax dollars condemning us.

You say you feel for the Iraqi people? Well the US felt so much for the Iraqi people we actually did something about their problem. In my opinion we did it 10 years to late. Now you might be thinking that my argument is flawed based on the US support for these same dictators during the cold war, and I would agree that the US has done a lot of shady things in the past 60 years that the world is paying for now. All of those things can be justified by the fact that we were at war for 50 years and in war the point is to win no matter the means to the end, and if you think I’m wrong about that then you are deluding yourself about the morality of nations. Morality is for speeches and churches, soldiers and statesmen have to get the job done. I hear a lot of people saying that might doesn't make right, but in reality might does indeed make right. Thankfully for the rest of the world the military and economy of the US was mightier than the Nazis and the soviets or the world would be a much less safe place to live.

BJ said...

I was just looking at the last line of my comment. "Thankfully for the rest of the world the military and economy of the US was mightier than the Nazis and the soviets or the world would be a much less safe place to live." as an American my point of view on safe is probably skewed by the fact that I have never had to worry about being taken by the police for no reason or where my next meal is going to come from. I live a very safe and comfortable life that much of the world’s population couldn't even comprehend. How many other Americans are just like me? My quality of life affects my beliefs. Perhaps changing the quality of life in other countries will make the world a truly safer place.

Khalij-Khazar said...

The allied powers were at the verge of defeat? The Allies were on the uphill from 1943, and victory was theres from that time, a whole year before america intervened in Europe.
The U.S. pursued the cold war. When Krushchev signaled he was willing to ease off, America proliferated the tensions by continuing to build bombs to the detriment of world peace.
The united states is the biggest arms dealer in the world, it is not in their interests to see world peace, rather the opposite.
America does for America. I dont see how overthrowing the Mossadeq regime, supporting the Shah in Iran, Putting Saddam in Iraq, Bombing jesuit priests and scholars in El Salvador, etc are condusive to world peace.