Wednesday, February 02, 2005

"It's A Trap!"*

So said Admiral Ackbar after it donned on him and on Lando Calrissian that the Evil Empire could not have been jamming the Rebels' scanners if it had not anticipated Lando, Ackbar, Luke, Han, Chewy and the whole Hee Haw gang's arrival.

Such must be the feeling registered -- at least among those who do not, as I have and do, assume Bad Faith of the adminstration -- when one reads of the screaming kitty released from the Judith Miller's bag:

We now are told, according to my sources, that the administration has been reaching out to Mr. Chalabi, to offer him expressions of cooperation and support and according to one report he was even offered a chance to be an interior minister in the new government.

How can Bush appoint any ministers -- much less unpopular and corrupt ones -- in an "elected" independent Iraqi Government? Is this self-determination by the Iraqi voter? Is this "sovereignty"? Hardly. What it appears to be at very least is proof that the United States will use force majeure to manipulate the "new" Iraqi Government however it sees fit, for how else could they guarantee a cabinet position to Chalabi "not knowing" what party would win the election?

He's a Yankee Doodle Dandy in a gold Rolls-Royce/
He's gonna be [S]Elected/

Anyway, the elections. You simply must read Juan Cole's overview. Kos analogises to 1967 Vietnam, more regarding the coverage and spin of the event, by Government and Press, than anything else. The New York Times does the same thing, earning a non-sequitur reply from Christopher Hitchens, who ignores the accurate analogy of government spin, denial, deceit, hubris all to make the very salient and entirely obvious point that Iraq's and Vietnam's respective resistence movements are from differing historical and ideological causes. Why thank you kind sir! Oh, yes, I know he says a lot more but until he admits that not all of the Iraqis resisting the occupation and Allawi puppet government are Islamic nihilists, until he admits the historical fact that peoples of all ideologies and sectarian persuasions, good and bad, by nature loathe and physically resist those they percieve to be occupiers, he's not worth arguing with. To put it in perspective, even Hitchens's sainted President Dubya admitted on national television that "no one likes to be occupied".

Anyway, this is interesting. It may be a good sign of high demand, assuming that the demand was not "manufactured", not exactly a safe assumption when the areas that ran out were in the Sunni Arab sections of the country.

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraq (news - web sites)'s interim president said Tuesday that tens of thousands of people may have been unable to vote in the country's historic weekend election because some polling places — including those in Sunni Arab areas — ran out of ballots.


The allegation that many voters were turned away could further alienate minority Sunnis, who already are complaining they have been left out of the political process.

"Tens of thousands were unable to cast their votes because of the lack of ballots in Basra, Baghdad and Najaf," al-Yawer, himself a Sunni Arab, said at a news conference. Najaf is a mostly Shiite city but Basra and Baghdad have substantial Sunni populations.

Elections officials acknowledged that irregularities kept people away — including in the volatile northern and heavily Sunni city of Mosul. Security worries in Sunni areas were partly to blame for the fact that some polls did not open and ballots were too few, they said.

On the other hand, if this is true, then the demand was "manufactured" in a wholly different but equally undemocratic sort of way:

BAGHDAD, Jan 31 (IPS) - Voting in Baghdad was linked with receipt of food rations, several voters said after the Sunday poll.

Many Iraqis said Monday that their names were marked on a list provided by the government agency that provides monthly food rations before they were allowed to vote.

”I went to the voting centre and gave my name and district where I lived to a man,” said Wassif Hamsa, a 32-year-old journalist who lives in the predominantly Shia area Janila in Baghdad. ”This man then sent me to the person who distributed my monthly food ration.”

If this is true, it's pretty crappy to hold these often hungry people over a barrel in that way. I smell Karl Rove in this, if there's any truth to the report. Of course a huge showing was beneficial to Bush, and this may be a test run of a new strategery for ol' Karl's next candidate (Jeb?); I can easily see him scheming to flood every fundie trailer court with redeemable McDonalds' coupons in exchange for votes.

*-- No, despite this Star Wars reference, and the Star Trek one in the previous post, I have not turned into Lileks. As proof, I insist that I'm not a nerd, have not made my life's aim consumerism, and am nice to all foriegn people I meet, especially those working shitty blue collar and service industry jobs (the miseries of which I, unlike Lileks, know first hand), whom Lileks insults and degrades** like the provincial little dipshit he is.

** -- Yes, insults and degrades, which I dont mind pointing out even though I had just insulted and degraded the poor fundamentalist nutjobs who stupidly and superstitiously voted for Bush, thus slashing their own economic throats, just because they are bigotted against gays or think that Bush will bring on the Rapture. If you can't figure, then, why I think my targets deserve ridicule but Lileks's targets of speaking-with-accent foriegners who have insufficiently assimilated into Lileks's notions of American consumerism do not deserve ridicule, then you really shouldn't read my blog.