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Sunday, January 30, 2005
Elections in Iraq
Iraq held its first national elections in over 50 years today. I don't have much to add to what has already been said, but I will note that it doesn't surprise me that the insurgents were quieter than expected. One of the big advantages of terrorism is the surprise factor, and on a day like today, security forces are expecting attacks and are much more likely to spot unusual activities and investigate. My guess is that attacks will intensify in the coming weeks, as the insurgents test the new government...
Lots of people are commenting on this so I'll try to perform some of that information aggregation
that blogs are known for, starting with the Iraqi Blogs, then moving on to the rest of the blogosphere...
Moved all the links into the extended entry. Click below to read on...
- Friends of Democracy: Michael Totten is selecting, editing, and posting the reports and photos of Iraqis on the ground in Iraq.
- Zeyad: An Iraqi dentist travelling in Jordan comments on the elections...
- Alaa: Another Iraqi blogger comments:
I bow in respect and awe to the men and women of our people who, armed only with faith and hope are going to the polls under the very real threats of being blown to pieces. These are the real braves; not the miserable creatures of hate who are attacking one of the noblest things that has ever happened to us. Have you ever seen anything like this? Iraq will be O.K. with so many brave people, it will certainly O.K.; I can say no more just now; I am just filled with pride and moved beyond words.
- hammorabi, another Iraqi blogger, has pictures and some other comments as well.
- Iraq the Model: More Iraqi bloggers weigh in: "We had all kinds of feelings in our minds while we were on our way to the ballot box except one feeling that never came to us, that was fear."
- Ali, brother of the Iraq the Model bloggers, comments. He recalls the last time he voted in Iraq:
This was the same place I went in 1996 to cast my vote in a poll asking if we wanted to have Saddam as a president for life or not. I had to go at that time. The threats for anyone who refused to take that poll were no less than the death penalty. Still our district was one of the places were one could vote secretly, occasionally though. They trusted our neighborhood because it's mainly Sunni military officers who live here with their families. I and some of my friends chose "NO" but we were scared to death as we marked the paper and remained so for days.
He doesn't seem as worried about his vote today, though.
- Khalid Jarrar, another Iraqi blogger, didn't vote and isn't too enthused with the less than scientific estimate of 72% voter turnout.
- Kurdo: Pictures! Lots of purple fingers - "All these fingers are up for you terrorist, anti-democracy, pro-beheading, suicide-bombers, Baathiest, Saddamist and anti-peace people."
- Shlonkom Bakazay?, yet another Iraqi blogger, has several posts. He doesn't seem to happy with the way the elections are being portrayed:
I, too, am simply nauseated by the coverage of American news outlets. It's made out to be an exercise in self-help or validation for all the death and misery that has been put directly upon Iraq and America. It is, however, completely understandable that people are tremendously enthusiastic about being able to go through this exercise...even under such draconian lock-down. The next couple months will go a long way to explain what will happen in Iraq. Let us all hope for the best.
- Raed Jarrar has some pointed words for the Bush adminstration:
The cowardly and corrupt bush administration, working along with the dirty allow(ie) government is coercing Iraqis to vote. The allow(ie) puppets are threatening Iraqis who don't vote that they will not get their monthly food rations. ... and this is one of the main reasons of why millions of poor and destroyed Iraqis were dragged out of their homes today and sent to election centers in the middle of explosions and bullets. They don't give a damn about elections, they want food.Besides the food rumor, he is also not too happy about the turnout estimates...
- Baghdad Dweller: "Say it loud and clear: I am a Sunni, I am an Iraqi and I voted" He also has an exclusive picture of Al-Zarqawi and he wants to know why so many Americans don't think Democracy will work in Iraq...
- I wonder if Ahmed voted?
- Abu Khaleel is having some election night jitters:
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.
The elections seem to have gone better than he anticipated (this post was written last night, before the elections). Look for more from him later...
- Xosh 7al, from the Kurdistan Bloggers Union, is making up words. He's got lots more today too...
- No Pain No Gain: Yet another Iraqi blogger...
- A star from Mosul: "We'd all like to vote for the best man but he's never a candidate." Ain't that the truth. Welcome to Democracy, Aunt Najma!
- Ferid has some photos.
- Glenn Reynolds: Duh. Lots of stuff. Just keep scrolling. Lots of links in this post are on Instapundit, and it's provent to be a good starting point (as always), so thanks Glenn!
- memeorandum: This site is great on a day like today. It follows several news stories, and the blogs that link to them.
- Ann Althouse notes a NYT article headline change, with the help of Memeorandum... (Update: Kevin Drum responds) She's got lots more, including a post on Kerry's appearance on Meet the Press.
- John Robb avises caution:
What is the role of elections if the state is in failure? If the elections bring in a new government that can't revive the state, what will that mean? We need to remember that this election is going to be a demonstration of the value of democracy. A failed demonstration would have negative consequences.
- Juan Cole has lots of stuff, and doesn't seem to enthused.
- Belmont Club: Wretchard responds to some of Cole's claims...
- The Indepundit has lots of pictures juxtaposed with quotes.
- David Foster finds himself reminded of the Alamo(!?)
- The Commissar reads the news to his daughter.
- John Weidner comments.
- Ryan Stiles is a security advisor in Iraq and has a few coomments. "What's Next? Well for tonight, I imagine it's dodging the celebratory fire."
- BuzzMachine: Jeff Jarvis has tons of stuff. Just keep scrolling.
This morning, I asked myself whether I would go to vote if I thought I could be bombed at the polling place or shot because of my blue finger. I don't think I'd have that courage. Most Americans would not (hell, most of us don't vote even in the lap of safety). Remember that every single Iraqi who came to vote today is a victory for democracy.
- Fritz Schranck likes the blue finger look, and thinks that Americans should use it in our own elections.
- The Wall Street Journal has a roundup of blogs commenting on the election
- John Cole (not to be confused with Juan) notes some shifting of the goalposts.
- Chester is all over the story, including some live blogging.
1:03 This is Geraldo's finest hour. He can't contain his excitement on the ground in Baghdad -- he just said, "I refuse to speak in measured tones. This is truly exhilirating." And he called this, his sixth trip to Iraq since the war started, as the best one yet. Fox is just letting him go. He just compared the election to the fall of the Berlin Wall and 1776.
Heh. His finest hour? That's not exactly saying much...
- Powerline: They've got lots of interesting posts, as usual. Surprisingly, there's more praise of Geraldo. Maybe I should give the guy a break.
- Donald Sensing notes a courageous act by an Iraqi policeman. "Police Constable Abd al Amir cannot be awarded the [Medal of Honor] by the US government, for only members of the US military are eligible for the award. One hopes he will be appropriately memorialized by the new Iraqi government."
- Ace of Spades HQ has been posting up a storm, and guest poster Dave gives the blogosphere the "Jack Burton Kick-Ass Award for Excellence." Heh.
- Captains Quarters also has lots (the next two links come from him - thanks Captain Ed!).
- Kevin McCullough is blue finger blogging...
- Radio Blogger: Covers Iraqis voting in Lake Forest, CA yesterday...
- Arthur Chrenkoff has a three part live-blogging series of posts(one, two, three)
- Daily Kos: "This Election is simply, in my estimation, an exercise in pretty pictures. Why? Because Elections are to choose governments, not to celebrate the day."
- Scrappleface: "Iraqi Voting Disrupts News Reports of Bombings"
- Iraq Election Newswire: Jeff Garzik is providing an excellent roundup of links to MSM news articles.
- Joshua Claybourn: "Flashback: Following WWII, Germany's first election took four years, and Japan's two."
- Crooked Timber:
The best possible outcome of the weekend’s election is a successful completion of the present government’s term followed by another real election. It’s often said that the key moment in the growth of a democracy is not its first election but its second, because ... a democracy is a system where governments lose elections.
- Paul Cella has some comments concerning the Iraqi elections and some historical analogies (including references to regicide!)
- The Command Post is on top of the story, and also has a great roundup of Iraqi election posts
- Winds of Change has an Iraq Report (a regular feature at WoC, but this one focuses on the elections).
- Dean Esmay has been blogging up a storm, and has thoughtfully created an index of his 14 posts (see the "Related posts" at the end of each entry), and put them all in a category (with a single link), making my job that much easier... Thanks Dean!
- Derek Lowe hopes that Iraqis and other Middle Easter countries step up their scientific endeavors: "Although I generally don't comment on current political events here, I wanted to congratulate the Iraqis who voted in their election this weekend. From a scientist's point of view, it would be a fine thing if they (and the other countries in the region) could have their affairs in good enough order to join the research efforts that are going on in so many other countries. ... I'm showing my biases here, because I think that scientific research is one of the greatest endeavors of the human race. The more hands and minds we have working on the big problems, the better the chances of solutions."
- Iraqi Election Watch includes a roundup of Iraqi Media, Blogs, and more... [via Volokh]
- The Counter-Terrorism Blog has the scoop on today's attacks.
- Michelle Malkin has lots of posts, including one about a ten year old's show of solidarity with Iraqis, one about the lack of leftist blogging about the election (many of the big names don't have much about the elections on their page, if anything at all) and one about women voting. Lots more too.
- Andrew Sullivan has lots, as you'd expect.
I think the anti-war left's failure to believe in democracy is a greater failing than the pro-war right's failure to grapple with some of the serious failings of the endeavor. But I hope today that everyone, whatever their view of the war or occupation, can rejoice in the defeat of evil and terror. It's truly inspiring.
And another one:
I don't want to be excitable, but aren't you feeling euphoric? It's almost a classic tale of good defeating evil. We always needed the Iraqi people to seize freedom for themselves. Given the chance, they have. This is their victory, made possible by those amazing Western troops. This day eclipses - although, alas, it cannot undo - any errors we have made. Only freedom can defeat terror. Today, freedom won.
- Pejman Yousefzadeh: "Those who deride this expression of defiance and this irrevocable march towards freedom will themselves be derided by history--and rightfully so. No one thinks for a moment that Iraq's challenges have come to an end, but for all of the obstacles placed in the way of the Iraqis, this day represents a smashing triumph."
- Joe Gandelman has some comments and a nice roundup of links as well. "The context of this election is unprecedented in recent history -- and perhaps in all of history."
- Mark Slover has some good stuff, including a roundup and an interesting comparison between voter turnouts of several major democracies.
- Kevin Drum wonders how the voting turnout splits between the Kurds, Shiites, and the Sunnies (with a prediction of about 70%/70%/20% respectively). He has lots more too.
- Armed Liberal has a post at Winds of Change:
I've been betting on the existence of the 'silent middle' in Iraq and throughout the Muslim world, and I'll take a stand here and say that what this election proves, conclusively, is that such a middle exists. Now we'd damn well better do a good job of reaching out to them.
More to come...
Gah! Information overload. Many links added, but I think I'm done for the night. The funny thing is that I haven't even begun to scrape the tip of all the good information that's out there. Partaking in an exercise like this is one of the things that really puts the need for good information aggregation into perspective. But this is a start, I guess...
I lied, several new links.