Wednesday, January 26, 2005

 

Freeom on the march!

Hey, I'd be happy with 50% turnout in US elections!
Insurgents Vowing to Kill Iraqis Who Brave the Polls on Sunday

Officials Are Still Hoping Turnout Reaches 50%


By DEXTER FILKINS

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Jan. 25 - The black sedan made its way down Madaris Street, the young men inside tossing leaflets out the window.

"This is a final warning to all of those who plan to participate in the election," the leaflets said. "We vow to wash the streets of Baghdad with the voters' blood."

Thus was the war over Sunday's nationwide elections crystallized in a single incident on Tuesday in Mashtal, an ethnically mixed neighborhood on the eastern edge of Baghdad, where many Iraqis say they would like to vote, and where a small, determined group of people are doing everything they can to stop them.

The leaflets, like many turning up on sidewalks and doorsteps across the capital, were chilling in their detail: they warned Iraqis to stay at least 500 yards away from voting booths, for each would be the potential target of a rocket, mortar shell or car bomb. The leaflet suggested that Iraqis stay away from their windows, too, in case of blasts.

"To those of you who think you can vote and then run away," the leaflet warned, "we will shadow you and catch you, and we will cut off your heads and the heads of your children."

The effect of such intimidation across the country will not be known until Sunday. Estimates vary, but Iraqi officials say they will be pleased if the nationwide turnout reaches 50 percent of the 14 million eligible voters. In some areas, like the Sunni-dominant cities of Ramadi and Falluja, even a meager turnout would be welcomed.
Seriously, though, despite the fact that we opposed the invasion and oppose the war and think Bush invaded Iraq not to bring "freedom and democracy" to the Iraqis but for rather less savory reasons of his own, the actions of the insurgents are inexcusable and must be condemned, especially by those of us who opposed the war. Because the fact is, we broke it and we therefore most definitely own it.

We are the ones who insisted upon invading and destabilizing Iraq (admittedly, destabilizing a vile and gruesome dictatorship). We insisted on these elections. We are screaming to the world that these elections are a key milestone in Iraq's recovery from the war we caused. We therefore have an absolute, 100% unavoidable responsibility to make sure these elections are carried out fairly and freely. And we're not doing it. We're not coming close. We're already making excuses and spinning the undeniable fact that these elections are not going to be truly free or fair. Jokes aside, that is despicable, and it is disgraceful that Bush is getting away with it.
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