The Vote

An excerpt from a CNN story about the Iraqi vote.

One of the first to vote was President Ghazi al-Yawar, a Sunni Muslim Arab with a large tribal following, who cast his ballot inside Baghdad’s fortress-like Green Zone.

He emerged from the booth with a smile, his right index finger stained with bright blue ink to show he had voted, and was handed a small Iraqi flag by an official. “Thanks be to God,” he told reporters. “I hope everyone will go out and vote.”

There is something very powerful about casting your vote which is your opportunity to weigh in on your nation’s future. I kid people that when I vote it’s because I want the little sticker but I haven’t missed a chance to vote for president ever since I was first eligible in 1988 and as long as I am able I don’t think I ever will. I can only imagine how good it must feel for for the Iraqis to finally get a chance to weigh in on their own destiny. And for those who still think it’s not legitimate, this is from a TIME story.

It may be easily forgotten in the post-election spin that Sunday’s vote was not the Bush administration’s idea—quite the contrary. The U.S. had never intended for Iraqis to democratically choose the body that would write their new constitution; Washington had envisaged an election only after a constitution had been written by a body appointed by, and under the tutelage of the U.S.

Initially, the plan had been to hand power to returning exiles after toppling Saddam Hussein. When the exiles proved too unpopular, the U.S. then sought to have its handpicked Iraqi Governing Council write the new constitution. Even after the IGC proved incapable, the Bush administration consistently rejected Sistani’s demand for democratic elections. Instead, U.S. administrator J. Paul Bremer proposed, that a constitution-making body be appointed by a series of caucuses comprising handpicked elites around the country. Sistani was having none of it. He insisted on democratic elections, used his influence among Shiites on the Governing Council to block Bremer’s scheme, and then brought his supporters onto the streets to warn that anything short of democracy would be deemed illegitimate by the Shiite majority.

The prospect of a constitution written by handpicked appointees would have been illegitimate and unnacceptable. A nation’s constitution must spring from the values of the general populace or it will be doomed from the start like a body rejecting an organ transplant. It is better that the idea was scrapped, both for representational legitimacy and for the Iraqi people.

Hate Bush if you want to but these things are certain: The world is better off without Hussein, Iraqis have more legitimate representation than they had when Saddam was the only candidate, and any Iraqi constitution will be created by elected representatives rather than American handpicked stooges. This is legitimate, this is real, and this is a huge victory. It’s Bush’s victory but if it makes you feel better then try to just think of it as a victory for the Iraqi people.

Or would you rather they were still suffering under both Saddam’s rule and starving under US sanctions?

17 Responses to “The Vote”

  1. MiAn says:

    I’m gonna go out on a limb and predict that the US won’t be adopting the finger-painting voter congratulatory model. If you’re thinking about dumping your stock in the company that produces the “I voted” stickers, sleep on it.

  2. Mexigogue says:

    There is a really cool picture of an Iraqi woman smiliing and showing her blue finger that shows that she voted. Either that or she just penetrated Smurfette. Either way there are no losers!

  3. guy in the UNLV jacket says:

    The Iraqi’s are running around like a bunch of 16 year old boys who just fingered Mary Jane Rottencrotch for the first time. I believe the proper term is stink finger….

  4. Mexigogue says:

    Remember when the war started the left really cared about the Iraqi civilians and they were worried over every casualty? But now that something good happened for the Iraqi people the left is really silent. So they only care about Iraqis when it’s convenient?

  5. Phelps says:

    Silent hell. Take a look at DU (if you can.) They are absolutely livid that the Iraqis are “falling for this democracy bullshit.”

  6. guy in the UNLV jacket says:

    They only care when they can blast Bush. If Kerry would have won the election and these same elections happened in Iraq, the left would be all excited that only under John Kerry could these elections have taken place and gone as smoothly as they have. I think there are to many people talking for and making decisions for the Iraqi people. First you got the conservatives saying the people want this or that and should have this or that. Next you have the Liberals saying what the people should have. After that you have the Militants saying the Iraqi people want this or that. Next you have the non-Iraqi Arabs throwing out an opnion. Last but not least you have the other Arab gumments putting in their 2 cents. I think the elections were a chance for the individual Iraqis to let their voices be heard…..

  7. Mexigogue says:

    The truly sad thing is that I think many of the people who hate Bush would rather see everything fail so they can say “I told you so” rather than to have the nation succeed under a republican President. Can you imagine working against your own team because you didn’t like who had been selected for quarterback?

  8. guy in the UNLV jacket says:

    You can see some examples of that in the NBA…..Mainly Tracy McGrady last year and Vince Carter this year. Working agianst the team to force a trade…….

  9. R says:

    I’d rather we have kept those hundreds of billions of dollars to help our America asses out first and foremost.

  10. guy in the UNLV jacket says:

    Long term thinking my man “R”. You gotta think more than 6 months out….Plus alot of those $s are to going to American companies which in turn goes to American workers and American shareholders…..

  11. Mexigogue says:

    Plus the sanctions against Iraq really only benefited the nations that violated them. It seems rather silly for us to punish Saddam by not engaging in trade when ultimately that hurts us as well as him. So the peace with Iraq wasn’t exactly cost-free either.

  12. Phelps says:

    It is worth noting that France, Germany and Russia seemed to be the countries with the biggest violations. Those were also the countries that argued against the war that has ended the sanctions, and argued for the status quo, which was more sanctions than before.

  13. guy in the UNLV jacket says:

    The Europeans like to get paid too!!

  14. guy in the UNLV jacket says:

    WHat about Koffi Jr.? He was getting paid to

  15. guy in the UNLV jacket says:

    If the communists take over I am opening a barber shop…Oh wait I’ll work at a barber shop owned by the gumment

  16. Mexigogue says:

    Do not let the capitalists sway you with their materialistic luxuries like long hair and. . .. food!

  17. Phelps says:

    Remember, we are all in this together! (The stew pot, I mean.)