The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Thursday, September 23, 2004


(coming to you live from the 4th floor of the Davidson Library, deep within UC Santa Barbara)

I always knew those boys had a staggeringly huge hope for democracy in Iraq.

If we're to take Rummy's word, then those democracy-goalposts just got very, very wide:
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Thursday raised the possibility that some areas of Iraq might be excluded from elections scheduled for January if security could not be guaranteed.

"If there were to be an area where the extremists focused during the election period, and an election was not possible in that area at that time, so be it. You have the rest of the election and you go on. Life's not perfect," Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Under questioning on prospects for elections amid the rising violence, Rumsfeld first said, "I shouldn't be saying this because I just don't know enough about it. It's something the ambassador is working on."

But the Pentagon chief said there could be a situation where an election could be held in "three-quarters or four-fifths of the country. But in some places you couldn't because the violence was too great."
Is this music to the ears of all those starry-eyed neocons out there? Should it be?

If Rummy is to be believed, we're about to hold elections in Iraq in which very significant chunks of the country will be unable to participate, largely because we haven't secured the damn place. An election with that level of participation would be easily propagandized as bullshit by those who would want to see America and its coalition allies fail in Iraq. Securing the relevant areas further to increase voter participation would be the prudent thing to do. But that would require pushing back the election date a bit. Why wouldn't Bush do that? Oh, yeah, because of OUR elections.

Same pitfall that CBS News fell into: Quick trumps right.

But it gets better.

Let's cross reference those Rummy comments with some from June of last year:
'You got to remember that if Washington, D.C., were the size of Baghdad, we would be having something like 215 murders a month,' Rumsfeld said. 'There's going to be violence in a big city.'
Sooooooo, Rummy was comparing the crime rate in DC to acts of the insurgency in Iraq.

Is it possible, then, that the administration would apply a similar policy to our elections? That is to say, simply not holding them in places deemed too violent to carry them out safely. (in Bush's case, identifying some urban centers that way would be pretty tempting)

That's ridiculous, you say. There's no way they could or would do that, and that would disenfranchise a lot of decent, law-abiding people who want to take part in the democratic process. And you'd be absolutely right.

That's why Rummy's comments today are so fucked up.

If we hold elections in January, a big chunk of the country wont be able to participate, the results will not be viewed as legitimate by many, and the terra'ists win.

If we wait to hold elections until more of Iraq is secure, perhaps enemies of our efforts there will claim victory. But they wouldn't be able to, because they'd be too busy fighting off our armed forces, because we'd be attacking them (that's why we'd put off the elections in the first place). What's the problem, then? Resorting to these tactics on Bush's part would be an admission that the efforts to secure Iraq have not succeeded. And they just can't have that, not with an election here coming up!

Quick trumps right. I hope all the people harping over Dan Rather can grasp this.

And by the way, as of yet, not a word about this from Mickey "faster elections!" Kaus yet.


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