General discussion


Will Iraq elections be held?

By Aldanatech ·
A day after an explosion killed eight of its soldiers, the government of Ukraine just announced that it would withdraw its 1,650-member force by the middle of 2005. This decision was made after a meeting between President Leonid Kuchma and his defense and foreign ministers. Ukraine's contingent is the fourth largest in the U.S.-led military coalition and operates under Polish command in southern Iraq. Other troubling news are the fact that Baghdad?s deputy police chief, Brig. Amer Nayef, and his son, were assassinated by gunmen on Monday, Baghdad's governor was killed last week; and in Baiji, 142 Iraqi National Guardsmen have resigned in the face of insurgent attacks before the elections.

Speaking of the January 30 election in Iraq, Iraq's Kurdish parties (15% to 20% of the population) now favor pushing elections back. Even Iyad Allawi, Iraq's Shiite prime minister who has previously been a staunch supporter of the January 30 vote, has begrudgingly provided a window for postponing the vote. Iraq's Defense Minister Hazem al-Shaalan and elder Sunni statesman Adnan Pachachi also support a postponement of the election. Now that Ukraine made its decision, do you think other countries will follow? What about the election? Do you think it can be held among all this violence?

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Thank you, Max

by Cactus Pete In reply to Yes...

First, the thank you: I greatly appreciate the tone that came across in that last post.

Second, I'll take time next week to read through more of the books you suggested.

Finally, one complaint - you're using a tactic [best word for it] in this discussion where you compare my beliefs and thoughts against some of those in power, some experts. You know there are as many experts who state the same things I do, so I don't think it's quite suited to move the discusison to a "dpetrak v. experts". I don't know if you consciously are doing that, but you are. I don't expect you to trust dpetrak when it's just me put up against some experts.

I'll look for some references to post of other experts who disagree with this administration, but you've probably already read or heard them... I'll get to that later in the week...

Oh, and there are other reasons why the president might not say anything one way or the other - he's a politician. They are trained how to not answer questions. I don't think any particular party has a lock on that claim, either.

Of course, there will always be items of national security which are best left unsaid, and we can't know for sure that the greater good isn't being served. However, I know that humans are in power, they are in control, and htey have a tendency to be a little corrupt. I'm not saying any particular entity is lying, but that I wouldn't trust even my own government with 100% of everything. Heck, after last night, I'm not even particularly happy with the way my local police station works...

But I cannot stress enough, thank you for the decency of the discussion.

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dpetrak - I suppose we've taken this about as far. . .

by maxwell edison In reply to Yes...

. possible, since neither one of us is likely to change his opinion based on what the other might say. It's not like a weekend of football watching, where the games played on one day might change a person's pick for the Super Bowl. Going into this weekend, for example, I would have picked the Steelers and the Eagles to make it to the big game -- a real Pennsylvania event. But now, I think I like the Falcons and the Patriots to make it. (Man, Falcons beating Eagles?)

And you're right about your reply on "experts". I guess you believe yours and I believe mine, for whatever reasons. But are we, perhaps, both working from a desired conclusion, working backwards to find the justification? I'd like to think I'm not, as I think I've laid out my reasoning pretty well, but.....

However (you just knew there had to be a "however", didn't you?), define an "expert". In this case, I don't consider a journalist, or a reporter, or a political pundit, or most politicians "experts" -- not even close. My two "experts" are an Army four-star General and a Marine three-star General, both of whom were in the optimal position to really know. If you could call my Generals, and perhaps raise me an Admiral or two, then your "experts" might have a little more credibility in my eyes. (A little Poker lingo, there.)

Nonetheless, do you think you and I could get together in thirty years, give or take a half-dozen, and look back, one of us saying, "See, I told you so"? Or would we still disagree?


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We agree most of the way..

by Cactus Pete In reply to Yes...

But we have slight differences - seems the slighter they are, the harder they're fought sometimes, no?

As I said, there wer esome generals in there disagreeing with the administration early on, they no longer work there. Same with the CIA bigwigs. But, then, they wer eCIA bigwigs, who trusts them anyway, right?

Got you poker lingo, I play with a group of guys who will be disappointed with me this Friday night for working instead of playing. Seems we fired a director in Chicago when I took a day off last Friday. I'll be changing passwords and auditing the weeks' security all night...

But in 30 years, if you're still alive and I'm still alive, I'm sure we'll find something to disagree about - just for old times' sake.

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The media and sensationalism

by jardinier In reply to A media beef

Give it a rest. The media supplies what the public wants. The GP THRIVE on sensationalism, murder, fires, disasters, murders, plane and automobile accidents, abducted children etc. etc.

The emphasis on sensationalism has increased dramatically since the advent of TV, with direct telecasts via sattelites adding to the mischief.

TV is VISUAL medium, and accidents, disasters and so forth make for MUCH MORE attention-grabbing pictures than "good" news.

Of course I can't speak for other countries, but in Australia there are ALWAYS several "good news" items included in every 1/2 hour newscast. Sport gets a very thorough coverage also.

And whilst I am in this discussion, this week I spoke with a lass who has been in regular contact with friends in Baghdad via telephone (until the phone line was cut). Her friends said that the number of incidences of violence in Iraq reported by the media are FAR FEWER than the reality.

But of course some people would prefer to believe the watered down Bush administration version of the violence.

Time will tell, but as long as the occupying forces remain in Iraq, blood will continue to flow.

I am not a doomsayer. I am just stating what appears to be the reality of the situation.

And a word of warning to the ostriches: be careful you don't get too much sand in your eyes, because that will blur your vision even further.

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If there are only some isolated instances of disruption...

by Aldanatech In reply to It's inevitable

then how come both Iraq's Defense Minister and elder Sunni statesman themselves support a postponement of the election?

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Your premise is not only out of context, but wrong

by maxwell edison In reply to If there are only some is ...

They don't both "support a postponement of the election". I don't know where you got that idea.....wait a minute, I do know where you got that idea, but it's wrong, nonetheless.

The Sunnis, to whom you refer, have threatened to simply boycott the election. And it's the predominantly Sunni areas of Iraq that have seen most of the violence in recent weeks and months. Iraqi Defense Minister, Hazem Shaalan, has said that he could (that's could, not would) support a postponement of the election if -- and this is a big IF -- it would persuade the Sunnis to participate in the election. But it's not his decision.

Iraq's Independent Electoral Commission says no delay is planned, insisting: "The commission is still working on holding the elections on schedule."

But in a free country, people are free to choose to not vote if they don't want to. And rest assured, a free Iraq will indeed happen -- regardless of how much you naysayers don't want it to.

Keep trying, Aldanatech. But, for some reason, you keep getting it wrong.

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You make it sound like...

by Aldanatech In reply to Your premise is not only ...

You make it sound like democracy is a panacea for a country in such critical condition as Iraq. But can it really ensure freedom to Iraq? Don't get me wrong. I don't deny the benefits that democracy brings, but there is still so much to do before we can reach that point in Iraq. The president often indicates that it would not be easy for this election to take place. He even compares it to our own struggle for democracy, but even our case was much different. We first won the war and then got our first elected president. We didn?t cast ballots with redcoats crawling all over the place. True, elections are about choice. But even if they do choose to vote, how can they exercise that choice without the major risk of getting shot at?

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How do you keep getting it wrong?

by maxwell edison In reply to You make it sound like...

Iraq is not a country in "such critical condition". Only about 10 percent is. And I haven't heard anyone else, who's really in a position to know, call it critical.

And you need to study your American history.

There were indeed election boycotts in the US election of 1864. And in the election of 1789, the USA's first, there were plenty of issues. New York didn't even assign it's allotment of electoral votes, while the residents of Rhode Island and North Carolina didn't vote at all because their states had not yet ratified the Constitution. That's three out of thirteen states -- almost 25 percent of the country -- that didn't, or couldn't, vote.

Moreover, George Washington pretty much ran unopposed, some might even call him "appointed", and there was indeed an absolutely huge level of support for remaining under British rule. There may not have been "redcoats crawling all over the place", as you analogized, but there were plenty of "redcoat sympathizers". Moreover, by using such an analogy, you're comparing the coalition forces to the British redcoats of the 18th century. That clearly illustrates that you don't understand. The redcoats were trying to prevent a country from achieving freedom and liberty, while the coalition forces are trying to guarantee it.

Are you trying to fool other people, or are you trying to fool yourself?

Give it up, already.

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by Aldanatech In reply to How do you keep getting i ...

No, I don't compare the British forces of the 18th century with the coalition forces. I compare them to the Iraqi insurgent forces.

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?Don't forget the lesson we should have all learned by now"

by jardinier In reply to It's inevitable

Actually Max, I have not learned this lesson because there is absolutely no way you could verify your fanciful ratio of 1:10.

Sure, you could spend a couple of days on the web and find several hundred "nice" stories, but that would prove nothing, would it.

The only people who might have some idea of the ratio of bad to good stories would be the military command in Iraq, and they are not about to tell us, are they.

And as we now know, US "Intelligence" has proven to be so unintelligent that President Bush
has taken the very drastic step of reorganising the whole Intelligence system.

But then of course if you have some private source which can vindicate your 1:10 ratio, then of course no doubt you will share that with us.

As to the upper limit of your assessment "99 per cent of Iraq is functioning just as planned," could you please tell me in which book of fairy tales you found that little gem?

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