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The Wapo and others are reporting on the high turnout on a relativity peaceful day in Iraq.

BAGHDAD, Oct. 15 -- Millions of voters in Iraq ignored the threat of attack and cast ballots Saturday in a constitutional referendum that was remarkably calm, with isolated insurgent attacks on polling stations and sporadic clashes with U.S. Marines west of Baghdad, but no major bombings or mass killings.

Setting the deadline actually seemed to work as the Shiites came back to the table at the last minute.  Even though many voted no, the fact that they voted gives more legitimacy to the process.  So, can't we just admit that Bush's plan is working?  I'll make this a dkos diary below the fold.

Going into '06, we need to remember that Bush and the Republicans have had an unimpeded ability to carry out all of their plans, at home and in Iraq.  Whether it is transferring power to an interim government, having the country's first elections, building the army (this is coming slowly, yes), or drafting and now voting on an Iraqi constitution, the CPA and Iraqi's have met most goals, and usually within the timeframe alotted.  And here is the important part: Nothing has improved.

We shoot ourselves in the foot when we talk about incomptetence in the CPA, cronyism, or that deadlines will never be met.  This is the wrong talking point for Dems.  George W Bush's plan was exectued flawlessly in Iraq and it didn't work.  The incompetence is not in the execution, but in the planning and the stubborness that kept them from ever changing their plan.

Why is it so important to place our critique correctly?  It is, because incompetence at the individual level is fixed with new individuals, icomptence in the policy is only fixed by changing policy, changing course, ultimately-changing parties in power.

In a brilliant article in Harpers, Naomi Klein described, Baghdad Year Zero.  "Year Zero" is the concept of Iraq as a clean slate to finally inact conservative economic and governmental principles.

In one place on Earth, the theory would finally be put into practice in its most perfect and uncompromised form. A country of 25 million would not be rebuilt as it was before the war; it would be erased, disappeared. In its place would spring forth a gleaming showroom for laissez-faire economics, a utopia such as the world had never seen.

This article is from Sept. of 2004, but is important to remember on these days where the Adminstration will gloat.  They have had their chance to do it their way, their goals are being met, yet nothing improves.  This is an important indictment on not only this Adminstration, but the entire Conservative philosophy.  But, to place the blame where it belongs, we must give them their small purple-fingered victories.

It is not enough to accuse Team Bush of conryism.  Cronyism is just a minor symptom of a political philosophy that is morally bankrupt and literally dangerous (Katrina).  Bush hating might give Dems some purple-fingered moments of their own in '06, but it, like Bush's Iraq plan, is a losing policy.  

The middle ground between the Cindy Sheehans of the world and the Barak Obamas, is in attacking the entire Conservative philosophy and proposing Democratic principles with strong convictions (I'm digging on Edwards' poverty center).  Bush, Rove, Delay -- all trees, let's not forget the forest.

Originally posted to jasonwhat on Sat Oct 15, 2005 at 10:56 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The money quote (none)
    Why is it so important to place our critique correctly?  It is, because incompetence at the individual level is fixed with few individuals, incomptence in the policy is only fixed by changing policy, changing course, ultimately-changing parties in power.

    And what were the policy failures?

    • Deciding to go to war in Iraq
    • Ignoring every piece of advice about what it would take to win
    • Endangering American troops by not sending enough troops, enough of the right equipment, and by engaging in a policy of torture and violation of the Geneva convention
    • At every point, doing what would advantage Ahmed Chalabi

    Those failure are from one source--the President of the US and his advisors

    The revolution starts now--in your own back yard, in your own home town

    by TarheelDem on Sat Oct 15, 2005 at 11:07:30 AM PDT

    •  Almost... (4.00)
      Those failures are not just from Bush, they are failures of a whole ideology.  It isn't enough to point out the flaws in Bush, that will only win us so many seats.  It is time to take on the whole radical Conservative agenda.

      Bush wasn't acting on his own, he was giving the whole movement the utopia it wanted.  That utopia has proven to be hell-on-earth because their whole ideology is wrong.

    •  What about us. (4.00)
      I think americans are waking up to the fact that they are being harmed in a big way financially due to the Iraq War.  Keep in front - how much it is costing us.  And what are its benefits exactly?  

      The beneficiaries are likely to be...large corporations and development firms. (O'Connor, J. dissenting in Kelo). God bless you, J. O'Connor.

      by xanthe on Sat Oct 15, 2005 at 11:15:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Failures Not From Bush-- (none)
      It may be good campaign politics to blame them on the man with whom the buck is supposed to stop. But most of them are specifically failures of the neo cons who dreamed up this approach how-many-years ago. Or is it actually millennia?

      Oh--one other bullet point for you:
      Ignoring every piece of advice about what it would take for security after the win.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat Oct 15, 2005 at 12:17:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  At the heart of it all... (none)
    Is this stupid American black/white idea that "things are getting better" - if you push our brand of democracy on a group of people, things will someday get "better" - well, it's not that simple

    Ok, Communism "fell", the Soviet Union fell apart yet life for the vast majority of Russians has not gotten better, in fact it has gotten worse - try being a school teacher in the provinces - the country is taking over by corrupt companies and a corrupt government - so call it a "free market economy" or a "purple elephant" - things are NOT better for most despite the change in nomenclature. And even thr shreads of free speech they had are now gone.

    How about South America - we got rid of a lot of Communists there - things had to get better, right? Not that simple. The alleged communists were taken over by dictators, hundreds of thousands died, torture squads took over, many countries were condemned to being the handmaiden of the US forever, without a sustainable industry of their own.

    And then we have Iraq. Well, they have elections. They have a Constitution. Things must be getting better, no? It's not that simple. Stalin had elections too. Nor is a constitution worth shit if  
    a) it can be circumvented at will to suppress minority groups b) it supports a state that spits on women's rights and an moderate thought and expression.

    So once again we have the A-B-C syndrome - set up fake milestones and celebrations and the stupid people will believe it. How many dozens of fake Soviet victory parades did it take for people there to wake up and read between the lines?

  •  Bush's 'Plan' Is Not Working (none)
    There is no 'plan,' never was, just a bunch of short-term schemes that have produced problems that were tackled with other short-term schemes that didn't work any better than the earlier ones.

    There is no Iraqi army, just a bunch of Shiite and Kurdish militias in new uniforms being called the Iraqi Army.  They are worthless as a fighting force, and have no alleigance to what passes for a central government.  

    "L'enfer, c'est les autres." - Jean Paul Sartre, Huis Clos

    "L'enfer, c'est le GOP!" - JJB, from an idea by oratorio

    by JJB on Sat Oct 15, 2005 at 11:15:51 AM PDT

    •  Agreed, but... (none)
      Bush isn't running again.  I feel like all the comments are just off the mark of the point of this diary.  We can't just indict Bush and his henchman, we have to go after the entire political ideology that allowed them to flourish.  "Tax cuts for the rich," "Corporate welfare," "Cronyism," "Dismantling FEMA," "Destroying the EPA," "Breaking non-proliferation treaties," "Fuel ineffecincy," "Global warming," these are issues bigger than George W. Bush.  They are about how a whole segment of Americans wrongly view the world and the governments place in it.  If we just say "Bush is bad," we let people forget that the "Radical Right is bad."  He is a product of a political ideology that needs to be stopped, not one bad apple, even if he is at the top of the apple tree.
      •  Straw man (none)
        You are cticizing something that does not exist.

        Who is saying ONLY "Bush is bad"? Nobody. Just you in your straw man construct.

        The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

        by Armando on Sat Oct 15, 2005 at 12:19:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I Agree About Not Simply Saying 'Only Bush Is Bad' (none)
        But I'm not doing that, and I don't think anyone else is either.

        And as Dim Son is still going to be President for another 3 years and 3 months (scary thought, that), there is still a great deal of benefit, as well as justice, to criticizing him.

        What we are seeing is the bankruptcy of the entire GOP/Neocon theory of using aggressive militarism to sponsor American hegemony over the rest of the world that has been the most dynamic force in US foreign policy since Reagan took office.  Under Bush II, there have been no checks on it -- even Reagan had the likes of George Schultz to act as something of a brake on their madder impulses, and Bush Daddy was never in sympathy with them.

        "L'enfer, c'est les autres." - Jean Paul Sartre, Huis Clos

        "L'enfer, c'est le GOP!" - JJB, from an idea by oratorio

        by JJB on Sat Oct 15, 2005 at 12:51:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Only two real measures of success (none)
    The first:  What happens in Iraq when our forces aren't there to keep (some semblance of) order.

    The second:  Whether No. 1--be it a shining democracy or a satellite of Iran or turmoil--is worth the cost.

    I can already tell the answer to No. 2, and I saw it before the war:  Whatever good comes to Iraq from our intervention won't be worth what it costs this country.  

  •  Huh? (none)
    Earth to diarist - holding an election is not success.

    Being able to govern the country is.

    This "success" is the equal of the January elections - an abysmal failure.

    Sunnis no doubt voted against it and it will become the Constitution anyway.

    As for the "panel" - sheesh. 2/3 of the PArliament has to approve changes. Fat effing chance.

    The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

    by Armando on Sat Oct 15, 2005 at 11:44:40 AM PDT

    •  Earth to Armando (none)
      I'm not being literal.  The point is that Bush has done everything he wanted in Iraq.  They have accomplished what they wanted to in terms of "democracy building" and it has been worthless.  They said it would get better after Saddam's sons were dead, after Saddam was captured, after the transfer of power, after the elections, after the constitution....

      My point is they are running a Fullback dive on 3rd and 30.  They might execute the dive perfectly, but will still only get 4 or 5 yards.  They are calling the wrong plays, not just because Bush is an idiot or ass, but because they have the wrong fucking playbook.  Bush can be replaced by someone else who will run the same plays.  We have to make our attack about the playbook (Racdical Conservatism) not the  players.  That is my "we aren't seeing the forest for the trees point."  Sorry if that wasn't clear.

      •  No he hasn't (none)
        That's simply false.

        Chalabi. Remember him? He was supposed to be President.

        They have been blundering from one ridiculous policy to the next.

        They are clueless.

        I utterly reject the premise of your diary.

        The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

        by Armando on Sat Oct 15, 2005 at 12:18:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What do we gain? (none)
          Fine.  I'm not talking about the facts on the ground I'm talking about perceptions.  Is it better if when all is said and done American's blame the utter failure that Iraq is (and becoming more of each day) and the disasterous response to Katrina, or the high gas prices, on Bush or on the whole political philosophy?

          I don't get why you are so incredulous about me wanting to use this as an opportunity to impune the whole neo-con agenda rather than one man.

          •  I see logic in both Armando and jasonwhat's words (none)
            I understand both Jason and Armando here.

            It's all about perception.

            You already see how the media is shaping this Groundhog-Day election (purple finger redux).

            But this election is not going to bring success to a shipwreck of a course or sustained approval ratings in the polls - not when Americans realize this is virtually a meaningless way to proceed toward ending this disaster of a war. If you think about it carefully, you'll see that the war is just beginning.

            'Last throes' my ass!

            As Phyllis Bennis said "this election is not a sign of Iraqi sovereignty and democracy taking hold, but rather a consolidation of U.S. influence and control. Whether Iraq's draft constitution is approved or rejected, the decision is likely to make the current situation worse." -[Democracy Rising]

            See my comments here.

        •  P.S. (none)
          You are right, he wanted Chalabi and didn't get him.  But overall I think it is better for us to call their "success" bluff and say, "This is what Republican success looks like," then, "George Bush doesn't care about black people."
  •  Iraqi election success? (none)
    Bush could have a purple finger up his backside and it will never accomplish a positive outcome for this misguided and dishonest war.  If Bush were the devout Christian he purports to be, he would know God never allows anything based on lies to prosper ultimately. There might be an immediate rush for the liars, but in the end they are revealed. And thousands of people have died as a result.  A travesty, in every sense of the word.  
  •  No accounts I've read (none)
    have been overly optimistic, as you fear.

    They've been reporting the facts. High turnout is a fact. They've also reported that one reason for the high turnout, especially among Sunnis, is because they want to defeat the constitution. So even the high turnout has a negative connotation.

    I realize there's a lot of frustration out there, but it gets a little ridiculous when people expect the headlines to say, "Iraqis Vote Today, But Who Cares Because It's Still All Fucked Up."

    Let them report the news that people voted today. Let's admit it's the day's major news story. As for whether it'll make one bit of difference, that's still to be determined.

    "I told them on Inauguration Day. I said look into my eyes: no new enhancements." - President Johnny Gentle (Famous Crooner)

    by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner on Sat Oct 15, 2005 at 12:05:54 PM PDT

    •  A bad place for women (none)
      I was watching the morning coverage of the vote on CNN and saw a shot of Iraqi voters standing in line, and nearly all the women present were wearing chadors.  I hadn't been paying close attention to the coverage and didn't know if it was a scene in Southern Iraq or what part of the country, but I didn't see a single woman in Western garb, except for Christiane Amanpour.

      There's been relatively little U.S. media coverage of what's been going on in Southern Iraq, but the religious Shi'a parties have taken over local administration and control for the most part from the Brits, and they are enforcing an Iranian-style Sharia regime.  Women are being pressured to wear chadors and not work outside the home, and businesses offering Western style entertainment, alcohol, or barbering services are being attacked or their owners intimidated.

      •  yup (none)
        Funny how the Adminisration ceaselessly trumpeted the new women's freedoms in Afghanistan but has remaind suspiciously silence about Iraq. What was once the most secular and women-friendly nation in the Middle East is now reverting to a typical fundamentalist regime.

        But hey, forget women's rights--look over there, a purple finger!

        "I told them on Inauguration Day. I said look into my eyes: no new enhancements." - President Johnny Gentle (Famous Crooner)

        by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner on Sat Oct 15, 2005 at 02:47:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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