Vote and Die!

Has there ever been a serious explanation for why we need to maintain the January 30th Iraqi election timeline? We're now saying that the elections are going to be "less than perfect," a gross understatement suggesting the only thing we have to worry about is voting irregularities on the scale of those that are common in all elections. In reality, "less than perfect" actually means that there is going to be widespread violence, large percentages of the population boycotting the vote, and a sense that the election is nothing but a prelude to civil war. Any one of these things should be enough to seriously consider the merits of postponing the election for a few months, but when all three are highly probable, our obstinence borders on negligence. The actions we've taken, combined with a lack of planning, have created a dangerously unstable environment that is ripe for chaos, perhaps sparked by a botched election. The right thing to do is hold off on elections until we can guarantee greater participation from the Sunnis and provide greater security at the polls. Honestly, though, I've always felt that these elections were more for us than them, and the Bush Administration's actions back this up. If we really cared about fostering democracy in Iraq, we'd never seriously consider rushing into these elections. Instead, the elections on January 30th will be held up as progress and vindicate the President's motivations and rhetoric that lead us into this mess in the first place. In effect, we'll define victory down to the lowest denominator and use it as an excuse to start scaling back our presence, leaving in our wake the Iraqi Civil War of 2005, which ironically will ultimately decide who controls Iraq.