Iraq Election Commentary
Earlier this week, something sort of resembling an election (with 175 attacks that killed 44 people) took place in Iraq. While there has been plenty of mainstream coverage of this supposed “turning point” in the occupation of Iraq, much of it has reported Washington’s official position on the election, unlike the alternative press which has provided considerably more realistic information about the election.
- Democracy Now for January 31, 2005 – Lots of good news stories plus and interview with Robert Fisk.
- Sunnis Absent from Iraqi Polling Stations – News Article by Robert Fisk posted on Common Dreams
- Voter Turnout in the Iraqi Elections Follows Washington’s Script – Shortly after the polls closed in Iraq, turnout was estimated at 72% but only 15 hours later that number was downgraded to 57%. The folks over at Critical Montages examine the numbers.
- Ballots, Waterboarding, and Bombs
by Tom Engelhardt
- What They’re Not Telling You About the “Election”
by Dahr Jamail
- Election Parallels Vietnam, 1967; Iraq, 2005
By Bill Christison, Former CIA analyst
- Will Elections Make a Difference in Iraq? By Mark LeVine
Iraq Elections and Media Coverage
Several media critics have looked at the mainstream media coverage of the Iraq election. As could be guessed, corporate news coverage was less than critical, glossing over any problems and discrepancies. In a piece called Iraq Elections: A Mixed StoryJuan Cole looks at the elections in Iraq, the media coverage of the election, and provides analysis of the process that led to the elections. On the radio show CounterSpin, Frank Brodhead, author with Ed Herman of Demonstration Elections: U.S.-Staged Elections in
the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, and El Salvador, offers a different perspective of the election. In a new article, noted media analyst Norman Solomon notes that on the topic of Iraq, mainstream journalists exhibit “too much stenography, not enough curiosity“.
New Iraq Report: n Zunes has just released a new study asking “How Much Power Will the New Iraqi Government Really Have?
With the media focus on the success or failure of election in Iraq, their has been little focus on what sort of government the election might actually produce. Professor of Politics and chair of the Peace & Justice Studies Program at the University of San Francisco Stephen Zunes has just released a new study asking “How Much Power Will the New Iraqi Government Really Have?” In his Report Zunes notes that “While some Iraqis are cautiously optimistic that the election of a national assembly could bring about real improvements to their lives, they could find themselves very disappointed.” Furthermore, he states that if a functioning government is created in Iraq it “cannot be pro-American without being at least somewhat autocratic and it cannot be democratic without being at least somewhat anti-American. The United States can have an Iraq that serves as a key strategic ally and close economic partner or it can have an Iraq with a legitimate representative government. Unless there is a radical change in U.S. policy, it cannot have both.”
Also offering a look at what the future may hold for Iraq, Noam Chomsky recently gave an address on the topic, an excerpt of which is available here. Chomsky points out that if there actually was an independent Iraqi government; “The first thing they’ll do is reestablish relations with Iran. Now they don’t particularly like Iran, but they don’t want to go to war with them so they’ll move toward what was happening already even under Saddam, that is, restoring some sort of friendly relations with Iran.
That’s the last thing the United States wants. It has worked very hard to try to isolate Iran. The next thing that might happen is that a Shiite-controlled, more or less democratic Iraq might stir up feelings in the Shiite areas of Saudi Arabia, which happen to be right nearby and which happen to be where all the oil is. So you might find what in Washington must be the ultimate nightmare–a Shiite region which controls most of the world’s oil and is independent. Furthermore, it is very likely that an independent, sovereign Iraq would try to take its natural place as a leading state in the Arab world, maybe the leading state. And you know that’s something that goes back to biblical times.”
Marine General Says “it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them (Afghan Men)”
Lt-Gen James Mattis, the man responsible for Camp Pendleton’s 1st Marine Division in Iraq, said to an audience at a conference that he had fun shooting Afghan men. “You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So, it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them,” he said to applause. Mattis is quoted as saying: “Actually, its a lot of fun to fight. You know, it’s a hell of a hoot. I like brawling.”
This is not the first time a Marine officer has been quoted in the press making outrageous remarks. In November US Marine Colonel Gareth Brandl justified the U.S> attack on Falluja saying: “The marines that I have had wounded over the past five months have been attacked by a faceless enemy. But the enemy has got a face. He’s called Satan. He lives in Falluja. And we’re going to destroy him.”