American Elephants

It’s Election Time Again in Iraq, and We Wish Them Well. by The Elephant's Child
January 28, 2009, 8:28 pm
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Freedom, Heartwarming | Tags: , ,

Saturday is the main polling day for Iraqi Provincial elections, but around 600,000 police, soldiers, hospital patients and prisoners were eligible to cast early ballots today, to help avoid logistical and security problems which troubled the parliamentary  election of January 2005 when the vote was held on a single day.

The chairman of the Independent High Electoral Commission told reporters that “Turnout was huge,” after the polls closed at 5 pm.  He said that there were no violations or irregularities.  Security was very tight.

Iraq is holding the elections in 14 of its 18 provinces on Saturday.  About 15 million citizens  are eligible to vote.  Prime Minister Nuri as-Maliki is hopeful of a turnout between 70-80 percent.  They will choose from among 14,000 candidates for 440 seats.

In 2005 many Sunni Arabs boycotted the elections, but this time around they are expected to vote in large numbers to reverse the political imbalance that resulted from their failure to vote last time.   That rejection allowed Shiite and Kurdish parties to take control of parliament which bred resentment among Sunnis and was at least partly to blame for the violent insurgency that took so many lives.

A story from an American soldier told of a very pregnant Iraqi woman standing in line to vote in the last election.  She went into labor, and with the help of an American medic, delivered the baby right there.  She thrust the baby into the arms of the soldier, and went in to vote.

Many doubt that change can really come to the Middle East, but when millions of women proudly vote for the first time, it cannot help but create something of an earthquake throughout the region.

General Petraeus, when questioned about the potential for Democracy in Iraq, said that he called it “Iraqracy.”  Not quite like our Republic, but they seem to be on the right track.

The Iraq War is Over. by The Elephant's Child
November 24, 2008, 4:58 pm
Filed under: History, Iraq, Military, Terrorism | Tags: , , ,

That’s what Michael Yon reports today in the New York Post.  Michael Yon has been reporting on the War on Terror since December 2004 at His latest book is  Moment of Truth in Iraq , and I highly recommend it.  The civil war, he says, is completely over. Muqtada al-Sadr has lost a lot of support among the Shia.  Many view him as one whose influence derives solely from respect for his father.

The Iraqi Army continues to grow stronger and more professional by the month. Even the National Police, who last year were thought of as militia members in uniform and drew attacks, are slowly gaining acceptance and respect.  U.S. soldiers’ mentoring is working, and bonds of trust are being built between U.S. and Iraqi soldiers, police and citizens.  “The United States”, says Yon, “has a new ally in Iraq.  And if both sides continue to nurture this bond, it will create a permanent partnership of mutual benefit.”

Iraqis are tired of war and ready to get back to school, to business and to living life as it should be.

Do read the whole short article. The media have lost interest in Iraq, and prefer to think of it, if they think of it at all, as Bush’s failed war.  It is instead, a great Bush success.  It’s hard now to remember what an awful situation Iraq was in 2003.

I remember the Iraqis voting for the first time. We all remember the purple fingers. U.S. soldiers guarding the Iraqis lined up to enter the polling place noted a very pregnant Iraqi woman in line.  She went into labor while she waited in line, and a U.S. Medic came to her aid, delivered the baby, and the woman planted the baby in the soldier’s arms, and went in to vote.
Do not belittle Iraqi democracy. A people who endured the torture, the terror and brutality of a tyrant like Saddam Hussein could teach us a few things about the importance of the right to vote.

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