Feature

What elections mean in Iraq

New voting will say a lot about Iraqi democracy and the future U.S. role there

Iraq is holding its first nationwide elections “without American training wheels” on Saturday, said Ralph Peters in the New York Post. The balloting “could lead to a reborn Iraq or to renewed violence.” There will be complaints, but Iraq should muddle through. “That’s democracy.”

Maybe, but the Iraqi version is “not a pretty picture,” said Robert Dreyfuss in The Nation. “The elections promise to be marred by violence, fraud, intimidation, vote-buying and bribery, bloc voting by tribes and ethnic constituencies, and undue influence by Shiite clerics.”

Come on, said John Hinderaker in Power Line. Early voting has already begun, and turnout has been high, violence low. “America's armed forces and the leadership of the Bush administration can take a great deal of pride in these developments.”

It’s time for the U.S. to stop fixating on Iraq, said Michael Varga in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Bush administration gave the world the impression that Iraq was the only thing that mattered. The “smart foreign-policy choice” for President Obama is to start letting Iraq stand on its own, so we can pay more attention to regions Bush ignored.

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