Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The vote in Iraq

About a week ago, Larry Diamond argued that not postponing the Iraqi elections will hold democracy back in Iraq. This is largely in line with the MSM’s unstated but pernicious assumption. I disagree, and rather think that the upcoming elections will go a long way toward legitimizing the rule of the people (and law). Furthermore, I think the elections will go more or less as planned, and even the MSM will be forced to give the Iraqis (and us) some long overdues credit. I expect turnout to be around 60%, with perhaps as high as 25% in Sunni areas. While it is true, as Diamond argues, that it may be possible for moderate Sunni leaders to, say, over the next three months, to talk their people into reducing the level of violence, and then to have elections that are more likely to be violence-free, I don’t think the Sunnis ought to be trusted enough to be given the opportunity. We have given them every opportunity to participate, and have even set up a kind of proportional representation for them even if they don’t! Enough is enough. If the Kurds and the Shiites become full participants in the process (as they are), and if the Sunnis only partially participate (say 25% of them vote), I think that is enough for legitimacy. The Sunnis are quite put out, I know. On the other hand they have been running the country for generations, and they think they have a natural right to it. They are only going to give that idea up if there is a legitimate Iraqi government in place that can claim to speak for the whole country, and even this will not come overnight. Diamond thinks that the election will lead to further polarization. I don’t. And if it does, it doesn’t matter; things can’t get much worse unless every Sunni takes up arms, which they won’t. It could also get worse if every neighboring Sunni state gets into the act on behalf of the Iraqi Sunnis, but this we are preventing. The Sunnis have been placated enough; it’s time to vote. The Belmont Club has some thoughts on this matter. Note the importance he gives to the city of Mosul (and Nineweh Province), where the elections can be held only with great difficulty; electoral workers have been intimidated and what’s left of them need protection. Mosul has about two million people and is one of Iraq’s most ethnically diverse urban centers, about half Sunni; it is surrounded by Kurds, but--obviously--Kurds cannot be brought in to fight the Sunnis. So there are over 10,000 American troops in the city to try to stabilize the city. Worth watching.

Discussions - 4 Comments

Why would the MSM give credit to Bush, or the Iraqi people, when they have largely ignored the success in Afghanistan?

Instead of waiting for MSM to catch up to present realities, we ought to double our efforts to reduce MSM into the extremist fringes of Blueland, where they belong. I believe Safire is wrong, MSM has lost whatever credibility they had left during the last election cycle. Let us. at last, push her over the edge she so willingly dangles on.

Courage, my No Left Turn friends, courage. :)

Thank God Hussein is gone. Let’s hope the election goes alright. I think it will.

Any delay in the election and forget it. The early turnover was a big win for us and a big defeat for the enemy who still try to pretend we want to be there and in charge forever.

Good post, Peter, but there’s another problem w/ Diamond’s analysis as well, namely, what makes him so sure that the postponement he calls for will be only a "one-time" phenomenon?

Once Diamond’s putatively "moderate" Sunnis see that they can toss a spanner into the works and stop the process, what’s to stop them from doing it again (perhaps in implicit or explicit cahoots w/ the actual terrorist Sunnis?).

This is the Middle East, after all--the homeland of the souk and a region where a traditional principle of negotiation is "all deals are off, once I think I have an edge" (see under "Arafat, Yasser" and "Palestinians, the").

Diamond means well, no doubt--he spent months in Iraq at Condi Rice’s request and had colleagues killed--but I think he’s naive about there being some huge slice of Sunnis who really really want to be moderate and democratic right now, but just have qualms about the way the rules are written (as opposed to being terrorized, or wanting to wait to see if the US will bug out and let the Sunnis get back to their centuries-old game of dominating all of Mesopotamia).

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