Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Taking a pessimistic view, a senior Jordanian diplomat on Tuesday questioned the validity of the elections Iraq is due to hold at the end of the month if many Iraqis do not vote. More than 40 percent of Iraqis will be unable to participate in electing an interim assembly, said Karim Kawar, Jordan's ambassador to the United States, adding, "This raises questions about the authenticity of the elections." (AP)

And several opinion pieces:

David Brooks: Iraq vote opens way to succeed. Is there any way this can still work? Is there any plausible scenario for how Iraq can turn into a functioning society? These are the questions I've been throwing at government officials, military analysts and other wise heads over the past few weeks. Their answers, both uplifting and depressing, suggest that if we are lucky, the near future in Iraq will come in three phases. (New York Times)

Mort Kondracke: As Iraq's Jan. 30 elections approach, a dense gloom is descending over public attitudes about U.S. prospects in Iraq. But the Bush administration is right to push for the elections to take place on time. A delay would only reward the savage insurgents who want to reduce Iraq to utter chaos. What really counts is what happens after the election - whether majority Shiites treat minority Sunnis well and whether the Iraqi security forces fight for their country. (RealClearPolitics)

Tod Lindberg: Great Iraqi expectations. Would-be tyrants and freedom fighters alike take note: The essence of democracy is not simply an election. It's an election held in the expectation that there will be a subsequent election. In a mature democracy during election season, each side campaigns as hard as it can. But each side does so in the knowledge that, win or lose, victory or defeat is subject to reversal at the polls in the next election. You win some, you lose some. (Washington Times)

Ralph Peters: When democracy fails. Democracy is the most humane and desirable form of government yet devised by humankind. From Afghanistan to Ukraine, democracy's recent successes have exceeded expectations. It deserves American support wherever it has a chance of taking hold. The problem is that it doesn't always work. (USA Today)

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