DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE
The Iraq elections would be really great except for the following reasons:
1) It's cost you and me $150 billion and counting, which might not be so bad had the war been necessary for the preservation of the liberty of American citizens here in the borders of the United States. But in fact, you know how Bush said recently that he's "firmly planted the flag of liberty" in the Middle East and all that horseshit? Where do you think he got that flag of liberty? He wrenched it out of our hands...
2) Over 10,000 U.S. soldiers dead and wounded. Is 9/11 avenged yet? And let's not forget the 100,000 + dead Iraqis.
3) The "campaign" was shrouded in anonymity, and one can hardly say that a vote is "free" when private vehicles are banned from the roads and other "freedoms" listed in this op-ed.
4) It's obviously a propaganda stunt, as turnout figures were placed very high at first and then began falling and falling. And oh, the "moving" pictures of the Iraqis holding up their fingers stained with indelible ink to "prevent them from voting more than once"? It took me a while to figure out what galled me about the ink, aside from the fact that it's one of those goddamned brilliant PR moves like when the Kuwaitis waved American flags as the troops entered that country in 1991. And what bugs me is that obviously some pains were taken to see to it that fraud was minimized in the Iraqi elecion. Someone realized that there might need to be some way to prove that someone had voted, and so they devised an unmistakable way to prove that someone had voted--the damn ink.
But where was all that concern for our own election last year when millions of Americans voted on electronic machines that produced no record of a vote cast? Where was our indelible ink? Why do we let the press and the government get away with foisting this bullshit on us?
It Can't Happen Here
Well, it's because of the "It Can't Happen Here" syndrome. The U.S. is always written about as a "developed" nation that is a "democracy" with the most "freedom" in the world. We've convinced ourselves we're the "greatest country in the world" and that we can't do anything stupid, immoral, illegal, or against the will of almighty God.
And that is a big, overall "frame" that makes people reject the idea that of industrialized nations, the United States leads in poverty. But it does, and because of that we have"the highest infant-mortality rate, the highest child-poverty rate, the highest teen-pregnancy rate, the highest child-abuse death rate, and so on, among all rich countries" according to this article.
As for our "democracy," let's not forget that a court appointed the president in 2000. And as for our "freedom," let's of course not forget the Patriot Act, Jose Padilla, and not being allowed to get prescription drugs from Canada (so much for the "free" market), among many other things.
And then there's this depressing story about today's student's don't care about the First Amendment...and Justin Raimondo has a great article about the real mastermind behind the Iraqi election