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W. David Jenkins: Looking Past The Ink

Looking Past The Ink

By W. David Jenkins III

By now, we’ve all seen and heard the praise and adulation for the Iraqi people after what happened on the last Sunday of January. The media fell all over themselves in amazement as they reported the bravery displayed by a long persecuted population who were voting for a change in their lives and their country. They thumbed their noses at those who would threaten them and raised an inked finger for the world’s TV cameras in a heroic display of strength and defiance. They want freedom and they want it bad.

I don’t think there’s a one of us who can identify with what these people have been through since we invaded their country with a shock and awe they couldn’t possibly have dreamed of. They have been forced to trade one version of fear and dread for another. They have gone from loathing the power of one bad guy to loathing the power of many bad guys as well as the actions of their “liberators.” And they want it to stop – now. That’s what they were saying that Sunday. Who can blame them?

The memorable and admirable action taken by these people was looked upon by the world community and its leaders as inspiring. Those purple fingers raised skyward were an announcement to everyone that the Iraqi people had had enough and they were ready to risk their lives to make that announcement.

What happened that day was a testament to the determination of not only the Iraqis, but of the brave men and women of our military who did the best they could in order to insure this day would be a success of sorts.

It was not a vindication of the disastrous policies of George W. Bush and his flunkies! But no one could tell them that.

Right off the bat, the Bush/Rove propaganda machine went into overdrive that Sunday. “72% voted!” they howled. Then they had to lower the number to 60%. Then it was 60% of registered voters, which was about 10-20% of eligible voters. This turned into 8 million voters out of 25 million people with 1.5 million votes coming from outside the country. Sounds like a Bush kind of “mandate” to me – how ‘bout you?

Although this was written before Bush’s State of the Union gloat, I am confident that the actions of January 30 will be exploited to the furthest degree. Bush already feels that the second most questionable election in this country’s history absolved everyone in his circle from responsibility for their reckless and unlawful actions during the first four years of his accidental presidency. I’m sure he will take the bravery of the ink-fingered Iraqis as a vindication for his biggest mistake – his biggest and bloodiest lie. Bush is notorious for taking credit not due him, but what else is new? And like the “capture of Hussein” that was supposed to be another in a series of fixer-uppers – the past four years have taught me to wait for the other shoe to drop.

As far as reality in terms of Bush’s lie and its consequences is concerned, January 30 changed nothing.

A lie is still a lie. A failed policy is still a failed policy. No plan is still no plan.

Bush did not go into Iraq to have this election. He went into Iraq to get those WMDs and to make sure that Hussein and al Qaeda stopped working together. That is why he invaded and that is why this election does not “absolve” him from anything. In fact, this election was little more than a “collateral blessing” resulting from the new hell he has created in Iraq .

Yet Bush conservatives will insist that the world is safer with Hussein captured and that the election proves Bush was right in invading and things will be better in Iraq now. The world is a safer place now. We’re already hearing this nonsense perpetuated by the “liberal” media and the crooks in the White House.

Uh-huh . . . sure, whatever.

This is the Bush conservative strong-hold. The world is safer with Saddam in jail. Well, sure . . . the world is safer from Saddam, but not “safer.” Just ask the multiple intelligence agencies reporting that Iraq has become a breeding ground and a posterchild for terrorists pouring into Iraq . And, sure, the Iraqi people don’t have to fear Saddam anymore but, as I stated, they have a whole new set of problems now – just as lethal. More than 100,000 Iraqis have been killed, maimed or orphaned since we showed up almost two years ago. I wonder if Hussein’s casualty rate was the same in 2002 or 2001.

And what about the election? What will be the actual outcome?

We already know that Sunni participation was pretty much non-existent due to fear or voluntary boycott. Most of the votes came from the Shiite population and the Kurds. Whatever the results, Iraq has arrived at a place in its history where diplomacy is going to be needed almost as much as security. And we also know from past experience that the Bush administration suffers from a terminal case of diplomatic retardation. Especially now that Condi “mushroom cloud” Rice is Secretary of State.

One of the major complexities that will arise post- election is the Kurdish insistence for autonomy. The Bush administration has for the most part ignored this little “problem” (Bremer refused to meet with Kurdish leaders armed with a petition about this a year ago) but the situation is not going to simply disappear. The desire of the Kurdish people is a threat to Iran , Syria , and especially Turkey and promises to throw a wrench into a “unified” Iraq . If Bush doesn’t take note of what happened in Yugoslavia a few years back, he risks stability in a region whose stability is little more than a dream.

Of course, the other problem is the new-found power of the Shiite population and the volatile effects that power could have on the Sunnis. With the formerly oppressed now wielding power over their earlier oppressors, it will take the diplomatic efforts of a third party (namely us) to promote fairness and inclusion in order to promote and preserve minority rights in order to secure any semblance of a democracy in Iraq. Not to mention that a Shiite majority might lean towards more of a theocratic form of governing than the Bush gang might like.

These predicaments barely touch on the complexity of the diplomatic challenges that now lay ahead for those who will be responsible for laying the groundwork for cooperation between multiple tribes who don’t exactly have a history of getting along with each other. Worse still, the factions of jihadists who couldn’t care less about Iraq — and, instead, have chosen that land to challenge us simply because we are there — doesn’t make the next few years look any more promising. In fact, it’s just one more thing that has been brought about by the irresponsible actions of the man who will gloat about “freedom” during his State of the Union address.

The election scenes we all saw coming out of Iraq on that Sunday were memorable and something that every American or anybody else could take pride in. But it was in no way a “vindication” for an illegal invasion. Iraq will pose a new problem now to be faced by an administration that has tended to “cut and run” when things get complicated. Bombs and bombast will not carry out the will of those brave Iraqi voters. I fear that post-election Iraq will experience the same fate as Afghanistan and become another unfinished mess created by this irresponsible administration. Heck, the Bush gang is already gearing up for Iran .

This administration has a big issue when it comes to Attention Deficit Disorder Syndrome and Iraq may very well be its next unfortunate victim. If this president’s history in dealing with complicated situations is any indication of things to come, then I fear that the Iraqi voters' pride of ink on their fingers will soon be replaced by egg on their faces – and more blood on their doorsteps.

Maybe then the Iraqis will learn, as have many of us, that a vote is no guarantee that the will of the people will be recognized.


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