More unhappiness about the Iraqi elections

I wonder how long the Bush boosters will continue to peddle the fairytale that the Iraqi elections were a success? The folks nearer the action don’t seem to think so.

Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad is trying to put a good face on the Iraqi election results, but he doesn’t seem to be willing to just make stuff up. He’s pointing with pride to the process:

Overall, from what we know so far, the election went very well. It’s too soon to speak definitively about the results, but everyone, all the communities, participated. That was very important. That was a significant step.

but he’s not happy about the outcome:

It looks like people preferred to vote for their ethnic or sectarian identity. But for Iraq to succeed, there has to be cross-sectarian and cross-ethnic cooperation. At this point, it seems sectarian and ethnic identity has played a dominant role in the vote.

The really bad sign is that the losers aren’t taking the results at all cheerfully. Here’s Salah Mutlak, who ran an independent slate against the religiously-dominated coalition that took must of the Sunni Arab votes:

I don’t think there is any practical point for us for being in this National Assembly if things stay like this. This election is completely false. It insults democracy everywhere. Everything was based on fraud, cheating, frightening people and using religion to frighten the people. It is terrorism more than democracy.

Of course it’s impossible to tell, at this distance, how valid his complaints are. But valid or not, his language is not the language of a politician in a country where democracy is likely to work.

Footnote “Fraud, cheating, frightening people, and using religion to frighten people.” Sound familiar? Hey, I didn’t know Karl Rove had even visited Iraq.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: