Blogging the Iraqi elections

This is probably the end of the middle-game. The end-game will take at least a generation to succeed.

Blogger coverage and round-ups:

Too bad we didn’t pull the troops out before this disaster, huh?

UPDATE: Oops. Forgot that I wanted to repost this pic:


This pic was updated by me in January. Compare it to the original, un-altered version from April of 2003.

Also, I mentioned this in January but it bears repeating. Ronald Reagan said this in his first inauguration speech:

Above all we must realize that no arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today’s world do not have. It is a weapon that we as Americans do have. Let that be understood by those who practice terrorism and prey upon their neighbors.

I’ve got to believe that somewhere, the “Gipper” is smiling.


  1. Funny, I just looked at the latest Bookings Institute Iraq Index and I don’t see strong evidence of an increase in American deaths in Iraq. Certainly not over the last 18 months. If I fitted a curve, there might be a tiny rise over the last 30 months. But eyeballing it, it seems pretty flat, although it jumps around a lot. Similar with WIA. Perhaps a small increase overall in the 30 months but it’s been flat for at least a year now and is down over the last two years. I also note steadily declining Iraqi police & military casualties since July and a dramatic drop in civilian deaths since the terror campaign in August. Overall civilian death rate has been pretty steady for the last 2 years except for three spikes, presumably terror campaigns. I think the only way to read gloom into the events in Iraq is if that’s what you’re looking for. The statistics are, as I have said in the past, mostly indicative of either no change or steady improvements. As for the political process, it seems that most Iraqis don’t give a rat’s ass about Sunni, Shia, Kurd, etc. It’s only the extremists that see clear delineations along those divisions. At least, that’s according to Iraqis. But I guess you’d say they’re wrong? I certainly never said that after today, everything would be rosy, and I don’t know anyone sane who would be claiming that either. But as far as I can tell, it should get easier for us from here on and harder for the nasties. If this is not a victory.. then what WOULD be? Frankly I think this sort of progress, where the average Iraqi feels proud and empowered, is far more critical than capturing any terrorist mastermind or anything like that. For it strikes at the root of the problem.

  2. Aaron: Stop it, man. Readers are going to think I’m making you up to keep the controversy going. Face it. You lost. You were wrong. The Iraqis are not voting because they love America, but they sure voted against you.

  3. yes, its a stunning victory. the sunni’s have voted and its to get us out. the shiites voted and its for more US support in keeping the life support on for the failed government while they await a military buildup that will really allow them to go in and really build some national unity (kill some sunnis). And of course the kurds have voted to have even less to do with the central government while they negotiate their own oil deals… Clearly the light at the end of the tunnel is just around the corner. yet again. Perhaps, the fact that they had to paralyze the country by stopping all vehicular taffic for how many days beforehand(?) and the steadily RISING DEATH RATE of AMERICAN SOLDIERS tells us what we really need to know about the security situation. In conclusion, nice democracy related program activities ya got there.

  4. wow you guys on the right are really psycho. ‘you lost’- No, the American soldiers who keep getting killed are the loosers. so are the american soldiers who come home missing limbs. so are the Iraqi people who are left without public security, a government that is both completely corrupt (thank you bush cpa) and completely innefectual. Again you show how twisted you all are. ‘They sure voted against you.’ Was I on the ballot? no, obviously your somehow pulling the notion that the Iraqi people voting is voting against me (‘you’). well its great that you can pull such non sense out of where ever it is that you keep it- presumably your backside. the fact is virtually everyone, including people like you think its great that the Iraqi people are voting and engaging in democracy related program activities. unlike you, I just dont see any evidence that it means anything. Nicholas, looked at your Republican Brookings Institute fact sheet. Interesting. Given the security situation where reporters are unable to go anywhere, all the internal numbers are highly speculative and subject to the author’s bent. As for what constitutes a victory? the ability to move around the country safely. a reduction in the number of daily attacks. a reduction in the US casualty rate. a government that commands the loyalty of the army (of Iraq). a government that provides effective services. a government that isnt corrupt. any of the above. maybe im just being picky.

  5. Uh, I don’t know much about the ‘Brookings Institute’ but last time I checked they were described as a ‘moderate left-leaning think tank’. What constitutes a victory is that Saddam is gone and no longer oppressing the people – they have freedom now. The majority of them seem to be happy about it. Why aren’t you? Reduction of daily attacks – from what? It just went down from October to November, according to Brookings. Are you happy now? Reduction in the US casualty rate? Again, that’s down from a year or so ago. Does that meet your expectations? We’ll have to wait and see on the government but I think it will turn out fine. The current one certainly seems LESS corrupt than your average government for the region (i.e. it’s very corrupt, as opposed to incredibly corrupt). And with luck in a year or so it will be no more corrupt than say, the US government. The American soldiers who are injured/killed may ‘lose’ but you see, they have this thing called ‘selflessness’ where they put themselves in danger to benefit others. So while it may suck for them to get hurt, most of them are glad that their efforts are improving Iraqis’ lives and Americans’ security. Remember, the military is a volunteer force. So if they didn’t want to be in harm’s way they wouldn’t join it, right? So how about we let THEM decide if they’re willing to take the risk? A lot of them are re-enlisting so they must not think it sucks as much as you do.

  6. Aaron: No. Your name wasn’t on the list. But by voting at all they’re casting votes against those that would keep them in the middle ages. From your comments here and previously, you’re obviously one of those people. Thank goodness that you and people like you aren’t running things. As for ‘security situation where reporters are unable to go anywhere‘, I think that says an awful lot about how informed your opinions are. There are many many reporters reporting from all over the place. It appears that the reporters you’re paying attention to are the ones holed up in the Green Zone (or a different country altogether) whining that it’s too dangerous to go outside. If all you’re doing is listening to uninformed journalists, it’s no wonder that you think the things you think. The people who opposed democracy and freedom in Iraq are losing and losing big-time. They just can’t admit it, because it would mean that almost everything they’ve said for the past three years has been wrong.

  7. Yes, a round of applause all around. Bush has succeeding in bringing a radical islamic government into power in Iraq. You guys can pat your buddies, the Iranian government, on the back. And they can pat you guys on the back for getting rid of their worst enemy, letting them go nuclear, destroying Americas army, and Americas standing in the world! well done!

  8. Aaron: Linking to Juan Cole explains an awful lot. And why didn’t you ever respond to the pattern of news releases following ‘US mass casualty reports’ you pointed out a couple of weeks ago? Why is it that you almost never respond directly to anyone’s response to your comments? You just pop in drop a few links or a couple of talking points, and then pop out. I try to take the time to take commenters on my site seriously, and if you read through the comments sections you’ll see that I spend an awful lot more time responding to critics in a sensible, conversational manner than I do responding to those who agree with me. Why does discussion with critics almost always seem like a one-way street? I’d really like to know what you think are fair standards to use when trying to determine whether there’s a pattern of ‘good news press releases’ immediately following ‘US mass casualty reports’.

  9. OK, now I know Aaron is not in touch with reality. ‘…destroying Americas [SIC] army…’ I may not know much but I know an army of veterans is vastly more effective than an army of newbies. Plus, being able to optimise tactics with real time feedback on a battlefield is something which can’t be provided any other way. China and friends may be talking big but I bet secretly they’ve bumped up the threat America’s army would pose to them in a conflict up a notch as compared to a few years ago. If they’re smart – and I don’t see any reason to assume they’re not. Plus I doubt the votes have actually been counted yet, so how do you know what kind of a government Iraq is going to be getting? I was under the impression we wouldn’t know for a couple of weeks. As for Iran going nuclear, the USA and Israel are the only people who seem to care enough to even try to prevent them. France and Russia are slobbering all over themselves at the thought of selling them more nuclear technology… although I have to give Russia credit for offering to reprocess the spent fuel for them. If Iran actually wanted nuclear power for peaceful means they would have accepted that offer I think.