Saturday, January 29, 2005

 

Election Night Jitters


Recklessness and Irresponsibility

I have some difficulty unraveling my own complex feelings regarding the big election day tomorrow.

On the one hand, I am passionately for democracy in principle. It is the only hope for Iraq. On the other hand, I am passionately against these particular elections. They are only an ugly, distorted imitation of democracy. I am convinced that they will not lead to stability … or even democracy.

I agree with fellow Iraqis who want these elections postponed or even boycotted. We have already seen these elections boycotted by the vast majority of expatriate Iraqis.

But I cannot blame the people who want to take part in them! In fact, I have nothing but admiration for those people who are going to risk their lives to cast their vote tomorrow.

These people are not corrupt politicians greedy for power and wealth. They are not “collaborators”. They are people going out to vote for issues or people they believe in whether their motives are ethnic, religious, sectarian, political, economic or nationalistic. Most of them want to exercise their right to have their say for the first time in more than 50 years.

I may disagree with many of these people; some may be misguided… but they certainly don’t deserve to die!

Their safety is the responsibility of those who are running the country.

Imagine that it is known that there were bombs on a number of the planes leaving JFK airport on a certain day. What should the authorities do? What would you do? Ask the people to go about their business, make a stand against terrorism, show courage and board those planes – telling them not to be intimidated by terrorists? The show must go on? Would that be a responsible thing to do? Later, when the worst comes to the worst… blame the terrorists for the unfortunate loss of life… and call it a day? Wouldn’t that be reckless and irresponsible? Yet, this is what we have.


Let us have a look at those different people urging the Iraqi people to go out and vote.

1. The US administration’s representatives in Iraq, the US army and the Interim government running the country from heavily defended fortresses… and cannot even protect those fortresses. Yet, they hope to protect more than 6000 polling stations across the country… where people are to go, to vote.

2. These people in charge do not venture out of their fortresses unless heavily armored and covered by a blanket of security. Yet they ask unarmed men and women to go out and expose themselves to danger.

3. Candidates who are not prepared to go out and take a risk and campaign for themselves. Some do not even have the courage to have their names published and be known. Secret candidates! Yet, they want Iraqis to take the risk and vote for them.

4. Many American super-patriots who are still shivering with anger or fear of attacks carried out on three buildings in their country more than three years ago. Yet, they ask Iraqi housewives (eg Rose) not to be frightened or intimidated by terrorists… in a country that is going through multitudes of 9/11’s regularly.

5. A country that is wisely taking measure after measure to protect its frightened citizens and ensure their safety through stringent finger print and eye retina scans for visitors… is so eager to expose Iraqis to grave danger.

6. President Bush who did not return to his seat of government immediately after those attacks, fearing for his safety. Yet, he asks Iraqis to show courage.

7. The UN Secretary General, who withdrew his entire staff from Iraq following one attack. Now he is asking Iraqis to vote in a dangerous situation and telling them that the UN will do everything to help them.

Reckless and irresponsible!

Isn’t it enough for Iraqis to live under the constant threat of random violence, just going about their shattered lives? Governments should be less reckless and more responsible than that! People should be more caring for fellow human beings.


Make no mistake! The decision to go on with these elections was made in Washington DC. I still remember that day. Several parties in Iraq started requesting a postponement. President Bush promptly announced that there will be no postponement. Hours later, Ambassador Negroponte, who was on a visit to Fallujah, re-iterated. Several hours later, a spokesman for Mr. Allawi re-iterated the same position. The decision was already made. The show must go on!

People are going to die tomorrow. Who will be responsible? Zarqawi? Terrorists? Insurgent? Extremist fundamentalists? Possibly. But it is the responsibility of those in charge of the country to create a secure environment so that people can participate in elections… in safety.

Postponement alone is useless if the current track is maintained. There will be more, not less, violence. A new approach has to be attempted to attack the roots of the problem. But this may be too much to hope for from the same people who were partly responsible for creating the current violent environment in the first place.

Apparently, it is so easy for some “freedom fighters” to risk other people’s lives for the sake of noble ideals. But when those armchair freedom lovers do it while they are completely safe, there is nothing noble about that.

It is reckless and irresponsible.

I am so full of anxiety, apprehension, bitterness and misgiving tonight. I hope that not many innocent people will die tomorrow. Above all, I only wish that it was all for something worthwhile and noble, like true democracy… and not for a charade that is conducted by people in positions of responsibility… who are reckless and irresponsible.


Comments:

It seems to me it is the Iraqis who damanded this election particularly Sistani who actually wanted them much erlier than this. How else are Americans going to transfer power to the Iraqis and eventually leave Iraq? Do you just want us to install a government of our choice then get out. This may not be a perfect solution but I have not heard any better ideas.
 
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Abu , you wrote
"Imagine that it is known that there were bombs on a number of the planes leaving JFK airport on a certain day. What should the authorities do? What would you do? Ask the people to go about their business, make a stand against terrorism, show courage and board those planes – telling them not to be intimidated by terrorists? The show must go on? Would that be a responsible thing to do? Later, when the worst comes to the worst… blame the terrorists for the unfortunate loss of life… and call it a day? Wouldn’t that be reckless and irresponsible? Yet, this is what we have.".
It's what you call " letting the terrorists win" . Whenever I go to the airport there are long Security lines , those lines remind me that there is a threat that some idiot might want to bring that plane down . Do I leave the line , go home ???? NO . I trust that the security will do the best job they can to keep the plane ( and me ) safe , I trust that those who's job it is to keep us safe have done their job , but I still know that there is always a threat . You cannot let the terrorists win , if they do , they control your life .
I know that there will be lives lost in the effort to vote , would to God that it was not so , but it is . There were , and will be , many American lives lost , in the effort to bring Iraq to the point where there can be a vote . Are those lives lost for nothing ? Should we Americans just say it isn't worth it and leave ??? I think not. My Son was in the Navy and spent some time in the middle east ,thanks God , he came home safe , but had I lost him I would like to think that he gave his life for something , the right for Iraqis to vote . LOU
 
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Hello Abu Khaleel,
I can't think of any election I've ever voted in as even close to perfect, usually they are entirely unsatisfactory. Don't tell me I voted in the election last November to give 'legitimacy' to the megalomaniac Bush???
A very respectable way to vote is by ethnicity or religion-I do it too!
'Now ev'ry man
To aid his clan
Should plot and plan
As best he can.'

But if you want the the cleanest vote, vote 324 as they oppose US intervention but still believe in elections.

As to the possibility of being killed..
'I heard one day
A gentleman say
That voters who
Are blown in two
Can hardly feel
The fatal peel,
And so are slain, are slain
Without much pain.
If this is true,
It's jolly for you;
So your courage screw
To bid us adieu.'
 
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Abu Khaleel,

Your concerns are genuine - that is apparent to all. Tomorrow will be a date with destiny for the Iraqi people. The greatest tragedy of all will be if the Iraqi's who have died to make the transition to democracy possible, and the innocent Iraqi's who go to the polls tomorrow, die for nothing.

In addition to the Iraqis, you downplay the continued sacrifices made by coalition soldiers who are dying every day for your country.

Iraq is awash with cynicism. Having lived in Russia for 6 years after the collapse of the USSR, I see many parallels. Decades of oppression and dictatorship impact the way a person feels about their value as an individual. Many of the psycological traits that helped people adapt and survive under oppression (individual inertia and distrust of the intentions of their leaders), is readily apparent. The individual feels impotent amid the powerful forces that shape their lives.

You point out failures of the US and your government. That is fine. But your vision of what is happening seems blurred by inherent distrust. You are not an exception.

Several things to keep in mind:

1. It is Sistani who demanded the vote. He wanted it earlier in fact.
2. The terrorists who are ready to kill you tomorrow, will still be ready in 12 weeks, or 6 months. You admit there is no reason to think security will be better.
3. Delaying elections is likely to lead to MORE violence if the Shia think they will be denied their rights, and because the terrorists will think that 'terror' works.

For all of your valid complaints about the process and the people/countries involved, you must also consider the real ramifications to the Iraqi people if the conclusions drawn from your complaints were to become policy: no vote and precipitous US withdrawal. Whether you recognize it or not, your real 'foes' do not harbor your 'passion' for democracy.

Unfortunately for Iraq, many of your countrymen have not been able to identify their true enemies.

Whatever you decide to do tomorrow, I wish you and the Iraqi people God's grace.
 
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"Iraq is awash with cynicism."
For once I agree with something Charles says. However we probably disagree on why this is so.
I think you’re being an old misery-guts, Abu. Look on the bright side. However few Iraqis vote, there will still be a Government. I know there’s still the Constitutional Referendum and a further election to come, but as I understand it, from Monday or a few weeks thereafter Iraq will once again be a sovereign and independent state.
Presumably this means that the coalition forces will no longer be there as occupiers, they will be there as honoured and fraternal guests, providing military assistance at the request of the new Government. They will no longer be able to take any action - roll a convoy, set up a checkpoint, flatten a city - unless they are specifically asked to do so by their Iraqi military advisers, acting on behalf of the Iraqi Parliament.
Have I got that right, guys? You will no longer have any legal right to decide what’s best for the Raghead natives in their own country, they will be all grown up and independent and in charge?
Or have I caught that Iraqi cynicism bug?
Circular, naturally
 
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Abu Khaleel, I'm sorry about your dilemma and the security situation. You make a strong case here. One thing I'm not sure about is whether Sistani would have gone along with a postponement. I think the US was afraid of the spectre of hundreds of thousands of people in the streets denouncing the US. I understand why you feel the way you do, though. Here's hoping that as few people are killed and injured tomorrow as possible, that the worst case predictions don't come true, and that the new government can be effective, responsive, and devoid of extremism.
 
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They are only an ugly, distorted imitation of democracy. I am convinced that they will not lead to stability … or even democracy.

from keith van brunt. I live in Philadelphia PA birthplace of the USA and liberty. with the Bell 2 miles from my house. I feel the same way every time i vote. I vote anyway. The goal is a representive republic. based on rule of law not on whims of dictators. I don't have people committed to blowing me up when i go to vote, but there are thugs in this City who have beaten up innocent people and have jailed people for protesting things they believe in.
vote
 
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Abu Khaleel
Thanks for sharing your concerns. I know how real they all are. I can only repeat to you what my advice to my own family in Baghdad. If you have any doubts, don't vote. Admittedly in their case it is security worries above all that concerns them. They live in Adhameya and Yarmouk. Need I say more. On the politics front I will tell you why I voted. On Thursday there were 2 events that tipped the balance for me. First was the statement by Bush. It was the first time since the war that he does not use his usual mantra "will stay as long as it takes and not a day longer", which used to be a nice piece of meaningless spin. He actually changed it to say we will leave if asked by the new elected assembly/government. The second event was the sudden resignation of Douglas Faith. Notice it was low key but it almost accompanied Bush's statement. I genuinely feel we have reached what the Americans call a tipping point. I think this endless cost of lives not to mention $80b per annum has finally caused a change of policy. I could be wrong of course, but I am begining to feel optimistic we are reaching the end of the Neocon dream/nightmare. Now as Iraqis we can be awckward to make them grovel to leave. That would be the case if the new assembly is not looked at as ligitimate through low turn out. So instead I thought lets play ball and give whatever face saving the US needs to leave honourably. Violence will continue of course. But increasingly it will be directed at a ligitimate Iraqi government and all loss of life will be Iraqi. I think this would then be the death blow the insurgency will deal to itself as I expect the real Moqawama would have stopped fighting as soon as a declaration of US withdrawal is made.
Best wishes to you for today whatever you do
 
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It’s half past 10 EST. Curfew in Iraq has been lifted, the polls open with the hour.

What if the violence is no less no more than what has been endured over the past months?

What if the boycott is effective, the results judged to be fraudulent, illegitimate?

What then you ask? You get a do-over, December 15, 2005.

On CBC last night, they quoted a young man in Ontario who wanted to decide by the ballot, not the bullet. By boycotting, you participate by not participating.

I’d like to believe that if I was unable to vote for fear of losing my life, I would hope that my neighbors, my countrymen, that those that could would vote. You've got to trust in collective wisdom. I know this has been a flawed, tragic, some would say criminal process, I wish I could make it otherwise.

You can start to put into play what you would like to see take place 12/15/05.
 
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Your post exemplifies the reason your country is in such bad shape. Young Americans are dying in the streets of Iraq in the hope that your countrymen can muster the courage to build a democracy built on the principles of decency toward fellow man, and you can't muster the courage to go out and vote.

Building a free society has never been free. If you don't quit whining and get off your duff and vote, another Saddam might take charge and put you right back where you've been for the better part of 40 years. Is that the future you want?

You can either be part of the solution or part of the problem. It appears you've chosen the latter. Watching in fear in the hopes that everyone else solves your safety problems and makes life perfect for you to vote.

My suggestion, quit hiding in your home, get off the computer and go down to your local voting office and volunteer to help.

Then vote and usher in a new age for your nation.
 
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Turns out that voting in Iraq has been safer today than driving in America. Every day in America, we lose 110 people in automobile accients--and another 70 people to murder.
 
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Abu, I'm actually a big fan of your blogs and I've always considered your postings amongst the most intelligent of all the Iraqi blogs out there.

You've disappointed me on ths ocassion however. I find the sentiments expressed in your last post, frankly, pathetic.

This election might not by any means be perfect, but it does present the best and only choice available to you and your countrymen to reassert some measure of control over your destiny. Sitting on your hands and whining about the unfairness of it all isn't going to get you anywhere.

Sure, I'm not Iraqi. I don't live there and cannot therefore understand how difficult and dangerous day to day life is for you over there.

Nonetheless, many of your fellow citizens are casting their ballots as we speak. These people are no less fearful for their lives than you are for your own.

Ultimately, whether you chose to vote or not is entirely up to you. But should you fail to exercise your obligations as a citizen, then you can neither share of the blame if democracy fails, nor of the accolades should it succeed.

Phil, London.
 
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What do Americans mean when they say "Democracy"?

In the early 1980's the Soviets occupied Afghanistan and held elections. Somehow, a population that was mostly not sympathetic to communism "elected" the Soviet choice, a communist, as their leader. Was that democracy?

More recently the most pro-Israeli politician was "elected" in Palestine and the US appointed stooge was "elected" by the Afghan people. Democracy?

Before the election, before anyone officially has any idea of who will win and what that person's stance towards the Americans will be, the United States has earmarked $1.5 billion dollars to create the largest US embassy in the world in Baghdad. That will be larger than the current largest US embassy which is in Pakistan.

It is openly acknowledged that one of the tasks of the embassy in Pakistan was to draw up plans to take power from the elected government if Washington decided the need arose. No US involvement has been confirmed in the takeover of power by pro-US dictator Musharraf from Pakistans democratic government but you can only wonder.

Did the hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of Iraqis who died because of US policies (such as deliberately targetting urban water supplies) over the last 15 years die for democracy?

If democracy had been the aim, would this really have been the most effective way to reach it from anyone's point of view?

I do not think democracy has ever been the aim. I think the US soldiers who die in Iraq are dying for the same two reasons Soviet soldiers died in Afghanistan - 1) Their leaders perceive a strategic benefit in controlling the country 2) Their leaders hope to impose a foreign and unwanted set of values on the occupied people.

The claim that this is a fight for "democracy" is a pungent mixture of irony and hypocrisy.

I don't think it matters if anyone votes or not. The Americans will "count" the votes and decide who wins and by what margin.

I hope the Iraqis who understand the intentions of the Americans are wise enough to forgive those who are fooled. I hope the Iraqis who have come up with a way to trust the Americans can come up with a way to trust their fellow Iraqis as much.

If so, we can still avoid the civil war America claims not to want.

Mr. Democracy
 
_____________________________________________________________________

What do Americans mean when they say "Democracy"?

In the early 1980's the Soviets occupied Afghanistan and held elections. Somehow, a population that was mostly not sympathetic to communism "elected" the Soviet choice, a communist, as their leader. Was that democracy?

More recently the most pro-Israeli politician was "elected" in Palestine and the US appointed stooge was "elected" by the Afghan people. Democracy?

Before the election, before anyone officially has any idea of who will win and what that person's stance towards the Americans will be, the United States has earmarked $1.5 billion dollars to create the largest US embassy in the world in Baghdad. That will be larger than the current largest US embassy which is in Pakistan.

It is openly acknowledged that one of the tasks of the embassy in Pakistan was to draw up plans to take power from the elected government if Washington decided the need arose. No US involvement has been confirmed in the takeover of power by pro-US dictator Musharraf from Pakistans democratic government but you can only wonder.

Did the hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of Iraqis who died because of US policies (such as deliberately targetting urban water supplies) over the last 15 years die for democracy?

If democracy had been the aim, would this really have been the most effective way to reach it from anyone's point of view?

I do not think democracy has ever been the aim. I think the US soldiers who die in Iraq are dying for the same two reasons Soviet soldiers died in Afghanistan - 1) Their leaders perceive a strategic benefit in controlling the country 2) Their leaders hope to impose a foreign and unwanted set of values on the occupied people.

The claim that this is a fight for "democracy" is a pungent mixture of irony and hypocrisy.

I don't think it matters if anyone votes or not. The Americans will "count" the votes and decide who wins and by what margin.

I hope the Iraqis who understand the intentions of the Americans are wise enough to forgive those who are fooled. I hope the Iraqis who have come up with a way to trust the Americans can come up with a way to trust their fellow Iraqis as much.

If so, we can still avoid the civil war America claims not to want.

Mr. Democracy
 
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@ Mr. World Stalinism,

"I do not think democracy has ever been the aim."

We know that's what you 'say' you think.

You have made that abundantly clear.

The average Iraqi who went to cast his/her vote amid the violence today has done something more noble, and bright, and clear - than anything you or I will ever do in our lives.

That is probably the only thing you and I have in common.

That truth of that fact will probably NEVER penetrate your thick head - unfortunately.

Abu Katya
 
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Abu Hadi,

I can see some of those signs too, but I cannot be optimistic yet.

I am glad that you have noticed the significance of Feith’s dismissal. I hold this man personally responsible for much of the devastation of Iraq after the invasion. See what Tommy Franks had to say about him! But perhaps more appropriate are the words of his own friend Michael Ledeen: "Remember one of the early dicta of Machiavelli: If you are victorious, everyone will judge your methods to have been appropriate. If you lose, you're a bum."

___________________________

Mr. Democracy,

So many people seem to have no notion that there can be a difference between elections and democracy.

___________________________


Circular,

You have wondered where some of these people come from.

Some time ago, I blamed myself for the sudden rush of super-patriot comments on this blog. I thought it was something provocative I had written. But sometime later, I came across a blog with the name “tigerhawk”. It had this to say on one of my posts (please note the title):

Carnival of the Commies Just as the supporters of the American war in Iraq have their favorite local bloggers, the anti-war forces have their own Iraqi "witnesses." For example, Abu Khaleel, the author of the Iraqi Letter to America blog, had this to say about Tony Blair's suggestion that the misconduct of British soldiers was confined to a few bad apples:
[A lengthy quote of my post is then followed by:]

Thirty hours after the time stamp of that post, it had not been tracked by a single warblogger. The left, however, was all over it… Anybody want to take a crack at a rebuttal?”

This explains the assumptions some of these people make about this blog without reading what I have said! They are just doing their “national” duty with the minimum possible effort of doing any research before jumping to the keyboard.

Have a look at some of the comments above. Some of these people are so selfish, self-centered and insensitive that anything anybody says has to originate from a selfish view of the world.

Several have “interpreted” my words as expressing fear and concern for my own personal safety! Some seem to be totally devoid of any human compassion. They simply confirm the thesis outlined in the post.

I hope it all makes sense now.
 
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@Charles

I guess we've reached the point where you stop trying to make arguments and now you want to see how many ad hominem attacks you can fit into one post.

World Stalinism? Thick head?

Whatever. I think I've explained why I believe what I believe. I think you've given up on explaining. I think I know why.

I hope this election will lead to a later election where the US does not determine how candidates are selected or influence what resources the various candidates have to campaign (and then count the votes to boot). That would be the difference between a free election and the elections in occupied Afghanistan (US or Soviet), Palestine and Iraq today.

I'm not as optimistic as I was earlier, but whether that happens depends on how well the Iraqis can work with the Iraqis. And it depends on whether all Iraqis at some point come to understand who their true enemy is.

But Charles, you certainly made me laugh. I thank you for that.

Mr. Democracy
 
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"President Bush who did not return to his seat of government immediately after those attacks, fearing for his safety. Yet, he asks Iraqis to show courage."

Give me a break! The Pentagon had a plane driven into it and another flight crashed on its way to DC with its target unknown. What idiot would condemn the security measure of delaying the President's return to DC? Your remark is ironic given other Iraqis risked their lives voting yesterday while you babbled at your computer screen in safety and comfort.

1300 plus Americans, my countrymen, have died on Iraqi soil so that a superficial fool like you can from the safety of your house ignore the efforts of decent Iraqis that voted yesterday. You expose yourself as an elitist spoiled non-democratic ex-Baathist.

Democracy is an effort, a process, a sacrific. It will be wasted on you.

--------------------------------------------------------
And to the last poster of extreme hyperbole and factual nonsense:

"millions" of Iraqi civilians died? Get a grip! Here's the AP's nonpartisan estimate at the end of military action in Iraq in June '03 - less than 4000 casualties.

http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/attack/2003/0610aptallies.htm
 
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Hello Abu Khaleel,
If my insensitive little plagerized poems offended, let me apologize. As enthusiastic as I am for Iraqi voting-a basic human right, let me say that I am sickened at the triumphant neocon spinning this morning by Condo Rice and Richard Perle on my TV. After all the mistakes and outright lies, which you have exposed, the shameless Bushies want to pervert the natural human right to vote into an endorsement for their war, their destruction and their occupation. If there is any justice make them pay for their recklessness and irresponsibility!
But the dog barks and the caravan moves on. Or do Iraqis have long memories?
 
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@ Mr. Dem?

"I guess we've reached the point where you stop trying to make arguments and now you want to see how many ad hominem attacks you can fit into one post."

I have been very patient and gentle. You have the right to an opinion. But your cynical opinions wear thin in the face of reality.

For you, the glass is 1/4 empty and leaking, for me, the glass is 1/4 full and filling. I know you will continue blabbering on about how terrible the US is, and how the fact that innocent unarmed Iraqi's who faced death at the hands of terrorists today are just irrelevant fools.

I disagree with your conspiratorial world view.

"World Stalinism? Thick head?"

Since any reasonable person understands that a pure Jeffersonian democracy could not possible appear in Iraq during their first 'democratic' election, you are either deliberately undermining the move towards democracy, or you are simply thick headed.

"I think you've given up on explaining."

Read the Declaration of Independence - read the Constitution - read anything that supports the moral foundation of democracy anywhere in the world. Understand that humans are not perfect but that does not necessarily imply a worldwide conspiracy.

Compare the terrorist martyr's who blow themselves up along with innocent unarmed civilians, to the unarmed men and women who risked death to vote.

If you had a drop of integrity you would hang your head in shame and be quiet.

I don't know how things will turn out in Iraq. Maybe the insurgents will win in the end, stage a coup - who knows? They will certainly deliberately target civilians and elected politicians in the months and years to come.

Quite frankly I am in awe that people voted in 'any' numbers. They not only risked death today - but now they have become targets for the future. Apparently the 'hope' of freedom that you so readily denigrate, and the people who sacrificed to make this possible, are unworthy in your opinion.

"I hope this election will lead to a later election where the US does not determine how candidates are selected or influence what resources the various candidates have to campaign (and then count the votes to boot)."

You see? For you its all a cynical conspiracy. If the reality of people voting doesn't make it through to you, what could I possibly 'explain' to you that would change your mind?

"That would be the difference between a free election and the elections in occupied Afghanistan (US or Soviet), Palestine and Iraq today."

Ah - yes - uh - guh.

"But Charles, you certainly made me laugh. I thank you for that."

Yes- I'm sure its all quite funny to you! Have a good long hard laugh! He - he -he -he. Go look in the mirror and laugh! And pat yourself on the back while you're at it!

I think a more reasonable emotional response would be humility.

Abu Katya
 
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Hello Charles,
Yes, it is wonderful that Iraqis can vote in the midst of war, massive destruction and a dangerous military occupation. Yes, Iraqis do claim that they are under threat daily from American 'oh-so-friendly fire' as well as from fanatic jihadis drawn into Bush's Iraq kill-zone(which you cannot recognize as a war crime!-Remember 'Bring'em on!'?). Oh but they voted! I suppose I should thank Bush that the sun rises everyday, that babies are born and that it rains occasionally too.
Humility, yes.
Now how about shame, having to make them live thru hell in bombed out Bagdad, so Bush can win an election!
 
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@Charles
Yes- I'm sure its all quite funny to you!

No. You're quite funny to me. Everything you've written applies equally well to the elections in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan or Poland, or to Saddam Hussein's elections.

People actually went out and voted in those "elections". They were just as pure and clear then as now.

So to stop laughing at Charles and be serious for a moment (but not to hang my head in shame for whatever reason Charles thinks :) ):

Now that the election is over, Sistani and the Iraqis have, or will soon have, on paper, the power to order the Americans to leave. That is a very good development.

I have been up to now focusing on what Sistani should do, but the insurgency also has to reach out to Sistani. If they can convince him that they would not fight a majority-Shiite government that orders the Americans out and begins a new fair electoral process, then this may end up working out.

One party has to reach out to the other, it does not matter which goes first.

If Sistani decides he'd rather work with the Americans than with the insurgents, that will be a huge mistake that a lot of Iraqis will end up paying for. That mistake would be not only his fault, but also the insurgency's because each party has a responsibility to reach out to the other.

This is still a very nervous time. I hope for the best.

But I think the past 15 years have proven that the American agenda for Iraq is not a good one for the Iraqi people.

If Sistani agrees, a bad future can be averted.

Mr. Democracy
 
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"Hello" anon,

I'm sorry that you considered my sharp response directed at you. It was not. It was my fault... I should have been more specific. You have been posting long enough for me to know where you stand. I apologize if I offended you in anyway.

I rather enjoyed those lines actually. Your last post reminded me of a line of Arabic poetry that is close to the theme you mentioned. It roughly says...

"If I cast a stone at every barking dog...
... soon the price of stone would be a dinar each!

(That was when the dinar had some value!)

By the way, I have added a comment on the genie election result prediction!

Please accept my sincere apologies.
 
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Looks like everyone has to have their say, so I better put in my tuppence worth.
Regard this as the voice of your leftist Commie American-hating atheistic liberal gay-lover. (As long as I don’t have to put the last one into practice.)
1) It went much better than I expected - it appears that the insurgents were outmanoeuvred by the security measures. I’ll eat some humble pie.
2) Low Sunni participation in this election may historically come to be seen as not so significant - non-participation, or withholding of one’s vote, is a legitimate voter response. (People - ‘haters’ like me - make much of the low US voter turnout. It would be interesting to know what it was in say the 1930s or the 1950s.)
3) The significance of the government set-up that was devised may take a while to sink in. From other sites, I gather that despite certain veto powers over legislation, the Presidential Council will not have any real day-by-day say in administration: power will reside in the PM and Cabinet. And from figures such as those provided by Abu’s ‘genie’ in his last post, it seems clear that no one party can possibly dominate the Assembly - it would need over 138 seats to do so, and nobody comes close. So even if the PC chose Allawi as PM, because so many Iraqis see him as ‘strong,’ his preference for a long-term US presence would be outweighed by the views of the parties he has to work in coalition with. (Without being a ‘hater,’ I wonder whether the US administration fully understood the implications of a proportional, coalition Cabinet. It is so radically different to the system they are used to.)
4) And as I’ve suggested above, the real acid test will be when the new Cabinet starts flexing its muscles and telling the US forces what to do. Or starts reversing any existing US-imposed financial agreements that it doesn’t like.
It looks like you will now have to enact the old Chinese curse, Abu: "May you live in interesting times."
Circular
 
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Further to the last point above, and putting it another way: seems to me that the US presence since Najaf has been poised rather uneasily on top of a potential volcano of Shia unrest - their forces definitely couldn't handle a Shia revolt as well as the present one.
So the key factor in the next few months may be the extent to which a Shia-dominated Assembly presses for a rapid US exit? Any predictions on that?
 
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@ Mr. Dem

"No. You're quite funny to me."

Again, laugh it up! You have plenty of buddies here who will laugh with you.

"Everything you've written applies equally well to the elections in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan or Poland, or to Saddam Hussein's elections."

Wow! What an incisive non-moral relativist non-marxist and truly awe inspiring democratic opinion. There is no difference at all.

"People actually went out and voted in those "elections". They were just as pure and clear then as now."

You forgot to point out another absolutely irrefutable truth that in fact this election was no different from elections under Saddam! Infact these are less legitimate because the turnout was probably only a quarterto a third of election turnouts under Saddam. Touche!

"I have been up to now focusing on what Sistani should do, but the insurgency also has to reach out to Sistani."

Now let me laugh. I'm sure Sistani care's a whole lot about what you spend your time focusing on.

"If they can convince him that they would not fight a majority-Shiite government that orders the Americans out and begins a new fair electoral process, then this may end up working out."

Exactly. Now we shall see! The whole point of the elections was to establish a legitimate government who can proactively coopt the 'freedom fighters,' crush the remaining terrorists, and set Iraq on the road to peace. Will it be months or years? One thing for sure is that if they had followed your advice (undoubtedly reached after very introspective 'focusing'), these 'joke' elections never would have taken place.

"If Sistani decides he'd rather work with the Americans than with the insurgents, that will be a huge mistake that a lot of Iraqis will end up paying for. That mistake would be not only his fault, but also the insurgency's because each party has a responsibility to reach out to the other."

Yes - we all know how much the insurgents respect political discourse and cooperation. The new government will, as they have promised, reach out and try to involve the sunni. Of course the extremists could have avoided bloodshed from the beginning by accepting the invitation to participate (duh?).

"But I think the past 15 years have proven that the American agenda for Iraq is not a good one for the Iraqi people."

Whose agenda did you prefer?

Keep thinking and focusing - you'll get there someday.

Abu Katya
 
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I have just heard the first result of counting in one of the voting stations in Sadr (Thawra) City in Baghdad. They counted around 2500 votes. Of which 1300 were Sistani's list, around 500 to Allawi's list and some 250 to the Kurdish Alliance. Apparently teh rest had negligible votes... I didn't know there were Kurds living in Sadr City... Gosh they get everywhere.. someone needs to let the Turkish government know that!!
Abu Khaleel: Source for the above was Dijla Radio. They have some reporters who managed to sneak in on the counting operations.
 
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Abu Khaleel,

Did you vote??????????

Best wishes,

Abu Katya
 
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something worthwhile and nobleI have been moved to tears several times while reading the accounts and viewing the photographs. I am in awe of the Iraqi people's courage, dignity and resilience.

I do pray this world can deliver on the promise of today.
 
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Hello Abu Khaleel,
In truth, I was just being cute, I didn't really think you were talking about me, but for goodness sakes nobody was paying any attention to me!;)
The first lines were stolen from Gilbert and Sullivan's Mikado, an amusing western caricature of a complex and ancient culture.
I know that Iraqis will not play their 'part' in the neocon pantomime and will subtly rewrite their 'roles'. But will Americans ever really understand what they are seeing? Clearly we Americans, need more 'training'and less propaganda, right Charles?
 
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Abu Khaleel didn't vote. He sat carping and whining at his computer while his fellow Iraqis risked their lives voting.

His description of the election as an "ugly, distorted imitation of democracy" betrays his basic privileged ex-Baathist mind frame that the Saddam past was more comfortable to him.

Refusing to participate in this election, even being conflicted about voting, is the hallmark of his elitism.

Democracy is at times a messy and imperfect process. It has to start somewhere. Iraqi voters took that risk yesterday. Abu will someday reap the rewards off of the backs of others.
 
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@ Anon

"I know that Iraqis will not play their 'part' in the neocon pantomime and will subtly rewrite their 'roles'. But will Americans ever really understand what they are seeing? Clearly we Americans, need more 'training'and less propaganda, right Charles?"

The whole point of democracy is to let the will of the people decide the future. The US/UK/Aussies and other members of the coalition believe in the people. The extremists, as they have publicly announced, do not hold 'the people' in such high regard.

I know a lot of real good and decent folks like Mr. Dem and others have spent time 'focusing' on what 'part' the 'neocons' have scripted for the Iraqis. They forget that democracy cannot scripted - it is more a civilized improvisation. The Iraqis have proven today that they will decide their own future.

Today is just the first step towards that future.

Long live Iraq and the heroes that risked their lives today! They will be remembered and cherished by future generations of Iraqis, and respected throughout the world.
 
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To answer your question of who is responsible for the security of the election poll? It is not just the government's but it is also yours and every other Iraqi citizen. Americans will not allow terrorists to roam our streets and without second thought will turn them in. This vote is not necessarily to elect a candidate, but for Iraqis to say NO MORE KILLING! You are obviously a misguided coward only willing to let somebody else do your fighting for you. I see little old ladies going out to the polls in Iraq to vote in the threat of danger. Now that is COURAGE!
 
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“I have been up to now focusing on what Sistani should do, but the insurgency also has to reach out to Sistani. If they can convince him that they would not fight a majority-Shiite government that orders the Americans out and begins a new fair electoral process, then this may end up working out.

One party has to reach out to the other, it does not matter which goes first.

If Sistani decides he'd rather work with the Americans than with the insurgents, that will be a huge mistake that a lot of Iraqis will end up paying for. That mistake would be not only his fault, but also the insurgency's because each party has a responsibility to reach out to the other.”

I feel that that bit by Mr Democracy bears repeating. All contingent, of course on the outcome being as we expect it … with the Shia parties winning a decisive victory. If Allawi kicks ass, then we can all start screaming about the rigged process … ;)

“Of course the extremists could have avoided bloodshed from the beginning by accepting the invitation to participate (duh?).”

This is ironic, because bloodshed could have been avoided from the beginning by the American extremists accepting the need for international consensus on the issue.
 
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@ Bruno

"This is ironic, because bloodshed could have been avoided from the beginning by the American extremists accepting the need for international consensus on the issue."

Why don't we just tell the truth:

We should blame Adam and Eve for starting this whole mess. It's their fault! The important thing is to place blame.

They were Iraqis, right?
 
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Democrasy is about the will of the people. The Iraqi people have spoken. The terrorists are a small minority using terror to get their way. They can only succeed when the majority of decent people idly stand by. The elections remind the decent people of how much power they have. When the decent people stand firm, the terrorists will flee. Yesterday the terrorists lost. They can kill a few innocent people in the meantime but they will lose in the long run.
 
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You would think that he would at least spell check his rehearsed text...
 
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"We should blame Adam and Eve for starting this whole mess. It's their fault! The important thing is to place blame.

They were Iraqis, right?"

LOL! Touche' ...
 
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Some thoughts:

There seems to be an article of faith that these elections are different from other elections held during occupations that happened to produce the leaderships that the occupying forces favored.

Maybe coincidently, it seems that every single one of the people the US chose to lead Iraq will be back in the government. So when leaders were chosen entirely by the US embassy, the results seem to have been just as democratic as when the Iraqis voted.

It is such an article of faith that it inspires real anger to even question it. It seems like a real religious heresy.

Ask a religious person how they know their book was written by God and not some human or group of humans and you will not get an answer, you'll get anger.

What is the X that fills the following sentence?
The elections in Iraq were different than the Soviet-sponsored elections in Poland because X.

Avoiding the question by saying the question stems from a belief in a worldwide conspiracy is no different from avoiding the question by saying the question stems from being possessed by the devil.

Moving on:

The Iraqi government has banned Al Jazeera. When it was first banned, it was widely reported that it was done at the behest of the Americans.

Will the "representative" government keep the ban in place?

It is reported that the Americans are currently staging raids into Iran from US bases in Iraq. Have the Iraqi people agreed to be today's Kuwait?

Will the "representative" government set limits to US military action on Iraqi soil?

There is currently a ban on non-US companies bidding on development contracts in Iraq, a ban that seems to extend to Iraqi companies.

Will the "representative" government lift that ban?

Moving on:

People did vote in this election, but people have voted in a lot of elections that clearly were not democratic. Maybe it means they believe the people behind it, maybe it does not.

But either way, those who oppose this election should offer as clear as possible a choice between real democracy and "guided" democracy.

Those opposed to "guided" democracy, I hope will gather as wide a consensus as possible and determine and broadcast exactly they believe the requirements are for a free and fair democracy. How should the candidates be chosen? How should campaigns be paid for? What limits should be put on what organizations for participation in elections? What issues, if any should be put before the people directly?

Moving on:

Will there be another Fallujah? If there is, will it be blamed on those in Southern Iraq who are cooperating more with the Americans? If it is, will the people of Central Iraq believe them?

If Americans stand for what I think they stand for, the trigger for the long-term destablizing civil war will be another Fallujah - maybe in Mosul.

It is very important for the people of central Iraq to reach out to the southern region as soon as possible to begin reduce the chance of that happening.

Mr. Democracy
 
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@ Mr. Dem

You continue your hand wringing, yet you offer nothing. Much of the enthusiasticly negative inferences you make are just plain wrong.

"Maybe coincidently, it seems that every single one of the people the US chose to lead Iraq will be back in the government. So when leaders were chosen entirely by the US embassy, the results seem to have been just as democratic as when the Iraqis voted."

Since the US did not control who participated on the lists, and the lists themselves represent widely varying visions of Iraq, your implication is faulty. It might also mean that the US chose very wisely, and their decision has been supported by a free election.

"What is the X that fills the following sentence?
The elections in Iraq were different than the Soviet-sponsored elections in Poland because X."

Hmmm. Now that is tough! LEt me see... Maybe they are different because the Iraqi elections included individuals and parties who had different and conflicting opinions?

"The Iraqi government has banned Al Jazeera. When it was first banned, it was widely reported that it was done at the behest of the Americans."

During the US civil war Lincoln banned numerous publications. It is pretty well accepted that the US suffered its worst mass civil liberties violations during his presidency.

"It is reported that the Americans are currently staging raids into Iran from US bases in Iraq. Have the Iraqi people agreed to be today's Kuwait?"

The US "IS" staging raids? They must be pretty small scale if no one in Iran has noticed... Is there any proof?

"Will the "representative" government set limits to US military action on Iraqi soil?"

The sovereign interim government already has this right.

"There is currently a ban on non-US companies bidding on development contracts in Iraq, a ban that seems to extend to Iraqi companies."

Will you feel foolish if it turns out you are wrong? Or that you parrot trash propaganda?

Do you think I would have to look hard to find non-US companies working in Iraq? And you do realise, I hope, that there is a difference between procurements that the US conducts to decide how to spend its own money, and procurements the Iraqis conduct to spend their own money.

"Will the "representative" government lift that ban?"

What ban?

"Those opposed to "guided" democracy, I hope will gather as wide a consensus as possible and determine and broadcast exactly they believe the requirements are for a free and fair democracy. How should the candidates be chosen? How should campaigns be paid for? What limits should be put on what organizations for participation in elections? What issues, if any should be put before the people directly?"

Sure! I'm sure the process will refine itself.
 
_____________________________________________________________________

@ Mr. Dem

You continue your hand wringing, yet you offer nothing. Much of the enthusiasticly negative inferences you make are just plain wrong.

"Maybe coincidently, it seems that every single one of the people the US chose to lead Iraq will be back in the government. So when leaders were chosen entirely by the US embassy, the results seem to have been just as democratic as when the Iraqis voted."

Since the US did not control who participated on the lists, and the lists themselves represent widely varying visions of Iraq, your implication is faulty. It might also mean that the US chose very wisely, and their decision has been supported by a free election.

"What is the X that fills the following sentence?
The elections in Iraq were different than the Soviet-sponsored elections in Poland because X."

Hmmm. Now that is tough! LEt me see... Maybe they are different because the Iraqi elections included individuals and parties who had different and conflicting opinions?

"The Iraqi government has banned Al Jazeera. When it was first banned, it was widely reported that it was done at the behest of the Americans."

During the US civil war Lincoln banned numerous publications. It is pretty well accepted that the US suffered its worst mass civil liberties violations during his presidency.

"It is reported that the Americans are currently staging raids into Iran from US bases in Iraq. Have the Iraqi people agreed to be today's Kuwait?"

The US "IS" staging raids? They must be pretty small scale if no one in Iran has noticed... Is there any proof?

"Will the "representative" government set limits to US military action on Iraqi soil?"

The sovereign interim government already has this right.

"There is currently a ban on non-US companies bidding on development contracts in Iraq, a ban that seems to extend to Iraqi companies."

Will you feel foolish if it turns out you are wrong? Or that you parrot trash propaganda?

Do you think I would have to look hard to find non-US companies working in Iraq? And you do realise, I hope, that there is a difference between procurements that the US conducts to decide how to spend its own money, and procurements the Iraqis conduct to spend their own money.

"Will the "representative" government lift that ban?"

What ban?

"Those opposed to "guided" democracy, I hope will gather as wide a consensus as possible and determine and broadcast exactly they believe the requirements are for a free and fair democracy. How should the candidates be chosen? How should campaigns be paid for? What limits should be put on what organizations for participation in elections? What issues, if any should be put before the people directly?"

Sure! I'm sure the process will refine itself.
 
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Charles , Mr Democarcy --

On the reconstruction business, I feel that I ought to hop in. Mr Democracy, I fear you are rather overstating the case. There is not a “ban” per se. It is merely that other companies are simply not considered when handing out reconstruction and other contracts. For example, the ‘no bid’ contracts doled out to Halliburton etc. Other companies are squeezed out via the bidding process, which appears to be far from transparent.

Just one or two relevant excerpts:

Letter From Poland
by David Ost, September 16, 2004, Warsaw

“ [Polish conservatives] applauded every pro-American turn the government took, talking about how Poland would soon be rewarded for its fealty. "It was bizarre," recalls the veteran activist Sergiusz Kowalski, "to hear about all the benefits sure to come our way." There would be significant Iraqi reconstruction contracts for Polish businesses, new American military-related investments in Poland, and easier US visa requirements for citizens. Two years later none of this has come to pass. "Halliburton again!" has been a regular theme of the Polish press, along with stories about local firms being passed over. The promised investments have not yet materialized. (Instead, in 2004 alone Poland will pay $85 million from its own strapped coffers to fund the occupation, while being allocated only $12 million in military aid from the United States, far less than what Washington gives its other European allies. Even the usually pro-Republican Polish American Congress complains that "a good ally is being treated shabbily.") As for visa rules, they're even tougher: The United States now charges $100 simply for an application fee and still turns down a large number of them. "I just don't understand it," a conservative friend of mine lamented. "It's as if you're trying to drive us away." ”

and:

“Bechtel's Dry Run” - Iraqis suffer water crisis
with Dahr Jamail, April 2004

“On April 17, 2003, after the US Agency for International Development (U.S.AID) had secretly contacted a handful of politically well-connected firms to discuss their roles in reconstruction, a decision was announced. U.S.AID officially awarded Bechtel an 18 month contract worth up to $680 million on a limited-bidding, cost-plus-fixed-fee basis. (In September 2003, U.S.AID announced that, due to the poor infrastructure and deteriorating stability in Iraq, Bechtel would receive an additional $350 million on the contract, raising the contract’s potential ceiling to $1.03 billion.)i This means that the lucrative contract was only tendered to a select couple of companies behind closed doors ii and that Bechtel is ensured, regardless of performance, of profit equaling the amount of the “fixed-fee,” which is kept secret.iii The contract covers assessment, reha-bilitation, and upgrading of power generation facilities, electrical grids, transportation facilities, hospitals, schools and other municipal buildings, major irrigation infrastructure, and municipal water delivery and sewage systems.”

Um, I really don’t see what is left for other people to do, given that the US won’t even let others take out the trash.

Reality check: the US decided in advance, on behalf of Iraqis, which companies would be doing the reconstructing for them, and virtually ALL the major contracts were farmed out to US companies in no – bid contracts.

I recall that Riverbend had family connections in the construction industry, which submitted a quote for reconstructing a bridge, and a US company (Bechtel, I think) was chosen over them at ten times the price. I recall an Arab telecom company that tried to set up shop in Iraq right after the war in true pioneering style, only to have their system torn down, and a US company was given an exclusive. (I don’t know if that situation still holds, given the big stink raised about it)

The fact is, any reconstruction work done by non US companies right now is either mere crumbs or dictated by realities on the ground ( Kurds armour-plating humvees because the US lacks the capacity to do so fast enough, for example). Meanwhile billions in Iraqi reconstruction funds remain unaccounted for.

I’m afraid that I agree with Mr Democracy also about the perilous state of these elections.

Lets face it, they were rotten, and the negligible amount of international observers means that the opportunity to do a bald faced vote rig is there. But also consider the copious campaigning undertaken by Allawi presumably on US funds, and the fact that he is being punted very hard from that quarter. Would the US accept as a presidential candidate an expatriate who has last been in the country 30 years ago, openly backed by say, China or Russia, who buys up all the TV and news time to campaign? Let us put this further in context, by agreeing that virtually all the lists were from unknowns and thus had zero chance of significant support. The well known lists are the ones that will garner votes, which is why there has been such a splurge in promoting Allawi.

If something good emerges from the elections, it will be in spite of, and not because of them.
 
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@ Bruno

"the ‘no bid’ contracts doled out to Halliburton etc."

H had won the competitive logcap(?) contract and much of the early reconstruction projects were simply task orders under an existing contract. Correct me if I'm wrong please. H had been competitively awarded same contract under Clinton. Correct me if I'm wrong.

"Other companies are squeezed out via the bidding process, which appears to be far from transparent."

US public procurement is public. Look it up.

Um, I really don’t see what is left for other people to do, given that the US won’t even let others take out the trash.

Try checking:

http://www.bechtel.com/iraq.htm

Keep in mind that a company like Bechtel has responsibility and accountability. This should be considered in sharp contrast to the critics who parrot false information and have ZERO accountability.

"Reality check: the US decided in advance, on behalf of Iraqis, which companies would be doing the reconstructing for them, and virtually ALL the major contracts were farmed out to US companies in no – bid contracts."

Given the complexities, uncertanties, and risks, don't you think it was 'prudent' for the US to have 'plans' established in advance of the operation?

"If something good emerges from the elections, it will be in spite of, and not because of them."

Considering that there would be NO elections if it wasn't for 'them', its hard for me to take you seriously.
 
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Charles --


This is a very amusing defence to my assertions:

“ "the ‘no bid’ contracts doled out to Halliburton etc."

H had won the competitive logcap(?) contract and much of the early reconstruction projects were simply task orders under an existing contract. Correct me if I'm wrong please. H had been competitively awarded same contract under Clinton. Correct me if I'm wrong.”

No, you are quite right. Halliburton was awarded HUGE contracts under the logcap contract and no other companies were even CONSIDERED for them. (The fact that you feel that Halliburton having the same arrangement under Clinton relates in some way to the freedom of non – US companies to participate in bidding for the Iraqi reconstruction is rather boggling and says more about your questionable logic than anything else.) Iraqis, who happen to be the ultimate clients, had no say whatsoever.

Thank you for agreeing with me.


“"Reality check: the US decided in advance, on behalf of Iraqis, which companies would be doing the reconstructing for them, and virtually ALL the major contracts were farmed out to US companies in no – bid contracts."

Given the complexities, uncertanties, and risks, don't you think it was 'prudent' for the US to have 'plans' established in advance of the operation?”

Hmm … I like your ‘plans’ … basically, the US blows up the infrastructure, then pays itself with (to date) Iraqi funds, through US companies, to rebuild it according to US specs, designs and standards. At prices it sets, at a timetable it decides. If the entire process is a balls – up, the ‘client’ (Iraqis, in case you forgot) has just about zero recourse to compensation. Does that sound fair? Does that sound transparent?

From "Fables of the Reconstruction"
The Nation, August 12, 2004 , by CHRISTIAN PARENTI

“ The Rustimiyah sewage plants are among the few facilities given explicit mention as priority projects in Bechtel's contract-related documents.

Now their daily flow of 780,000 cubic yards of human and industrial waste--a nasty cocktail of organic solids, heavy metals and poisonous chemicals from a battery factory, a soap factory, an electronics plant and other light industry--goes directly into the Diyala River, which joins the Tigris seven miles southwest of the plants.

Rustimiyah South's director is Riyidh Numan, a hospitable and reflective engineer in his early 30s working for the Baghdad Sewage Authority. Since Bechtel took over a year ago, his job has mostly consisted of sitting around and waiting for the foreign contractors to execute the repairs. Numan says the first thing Bechtel did when it showed up was to start painting buildings. He demanded that they stop and switch to repairing the plant's primary functions. Since then work has been slow, and all Numan can do is complain to the Baghdad Sewage Authority, which in turn dispatches impotent letters to Bechtel.

But Iraqi engineers and engineering professors I interviewed at water-treatment plants and power stations and at Baghdad University all claim that the work could be going much faster if the "accumulated knowledge" of Iraqi engineers were put to better use.
"These systems, their repairs, they are not all on some blueprint somewhere," says Gazwan Muktar, a rather intense, highly intellectual retired electrical engineer. "You need to have the people who spent twenty years running these irrigation canals or power plants to be there. They know the tricks; they know the quirks. But the foreign contracts ignore Iraqis, and as a result they get nowhere!" “

Does that sound as if your ‘plans’ take into account what Iraqis themselves think? Or … that they have any power in even deciding what should be done or how fast?

“Prudent” would have been to approach existing Iraqi companies, and get them to do the work required. I mean, it’s not as if they have kept the country running through the last ten years of sanctions, is it? Dumb natives. Like they could rebuild all that stuff. It is always better for Big Brother to do it for them, right?


“ "Other companies are squeezed out via the bidding process, which appears to be far from transparent."

US public procurement is public. Look it up.”


Is this the transparent and equitable process you are referring to:

“Bidding process raising concern”
By Sharon Behn
THE WASHINGTON TIMES

“Iraq's ambassador to the United States said yesterday that Americans risk alienating Iraqis in the workplace if U.S. companies scoop up prime contracts to rebuild the country and leave the locals doing lower-level work.

"We are in danger of creating a feeling of alienation between those who have the money and those who do the menial work," Rend al-Rahim Francke told Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) officials and businessmen at a two-day Iraq reconstruction summit in Washington.

Another commonly heard complaint by Iraqis and some Eastern European companies is that the U.S.-managed bidding process has not been very clear and that information is hard to come by in Iraq.
"You are better informed here than we are in Baghdad," said Falah Wajdi, general manager of an engineering firm. Mrs. al-Rahim acknowledged that the CPA system was initially "opaque" to most Iraqis but said accessibility was improving.”

‘nuff said I think. My point: ALL the BIG contracts are to US companies, and the rest scramble for the crumbs.


“"If something good emerges from the elections, it will be in spite of, and not because of them."

Considering that there would be NO elections if it wasn't for 'them', its hard for me to take you seriously.”

It is likewise difficult for me to take seriously somebody whose grasp of English is so poor that he is unable to understand that ‘them’ refers to the elections. Not to whichever imagined party he is referring to (probably Sistani).
 
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@ Bruno

Ouch!

Honestly, sometimes I just don't read your posts closely anymore. I accept full responsibility for the folly semantic misrepresentations.

Please accept my apologies.
 
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Charles --

No problem. It happens to everybody.

Semantics is to my mind really the least serious aspect of our discussion.
 
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