Another Demonstration Election
Juan Cole has a pithy run down of what to expect from today's election.
The LA Times probably reflects the thinking of a lot of Americans in hoping that these elections are a milestone on the way to withdrawing US troops from Iraq. I cannot imagine why anyone thinks that. The Iraqi "government" is a failed state. Virtually no order it gives has any likelihood of being implemented. It has no army to speak of and cannot control the country. Its parliamentarians are attacked and sometimes killed with impunity. Its oil pipelines are routinely bombed, depriving it of desperately needed income. It faces a powerful guerrilla movement that is wholly uninterested in the results of elections and just wants to overthrow the new order. Elections are unlikely to change any of this.As Edward Herman noted about the Iraqi elections earlier this year, these elections follow a well established pattern.
...such elections were mainly designed to placate (and mislead) the home population of the United States rather than to decide anything important in the countries in which the election was held. In each of the earlier cases the election did help consolidate the power of the U.S.-chosen leaders, but its most important function was to demonstrate to the U.S. public that we were on the right track in the occupied countries, helping them on the road to democracy. The fact that the peoples there came out and voted was interpreted as proof that they approved our occupation and wanted us to stay and finish the job.