Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The Eeyore factor

Jeff Jarvis attributes the Left's relative silence in response to the elections in Iraq this weekend as sour grapes, comparing the liberal blogosphere to Eeyore from Winnie The Pooh. Now leaving aside the fact that he now probably owes a chunk of change to the Disney Corporation (who now owns the rights to W-t-P) just for not only mentioning the downer donkey on his blog but posting an image of Eeyore no less, Jeff is missing the simple point that most of us didn't comment on the election because it was a sham issue, a piece of Potemkin theatrics like the "transfer of sovereignty" meant to take our attention off the fact that American soldiers and Iraqi civilians continue to die at roughly the same rate as when we we first invaded the country some two-odd years ago.

Want to know why I didn't pee my pants when Paul Bremer got out of Dodge two days early last summer? Or when Uday and Qusay were gunned down? Or when we found Saddam himself hiding in his spider hole like a trapped animal? Because none of that shit mattered. Yes, carrying off Iraq's former leader in chains was a good thing, and probably ended the recurring nightmares of millions of Iraqis who needlessly suffered under Saddam's vile dictatorship. But the exorcism of old demons, however unequivocally positive a thing, does not efface the simple fact that to just as many millions of Iraqis we are now the monsters that keep them from sleeping soundly at night.

We can celebrate as many of these Iraqi Hallmark Moments as we can think up, but at the end of the day Iraq will not be free until we are gone. And quite frankly I don't see that happening anytime soon (and neither do Iraq's new rulers-elect, as is turns out). If that makes me an Eeyore, Jeff, then so be it. Let's talk about grounds for optimism when people stop dying.

And while we're on the subject of Western-style democracy, it looks as if the Iraqis may have copied the American model a little too closely:

As reports pour in from thousands of Iraqi poll observers, several political parties are alleging polling violations and logistical problems on Sunday that they say helped depress the election turnout among the country's disaffected Sunni Muslims.

Christian Assyrians, 1 million of whom reside in Iraq, claim that Kurdish officials in North Iraq blocked the delivery of ballot boxes from Assyrian-dominated villages, leaving many Assyrians disenfranchised. They also claim that election officials placed U.S. voting locations in areas that maximized the distance expatriate Assyrians had to travel.

Iraq's leading Sunni Muslim clerics said Wednesday the country's landmark elections lacked legitimacy because large numbers of Sunnis did not participate in the balloting, which the religious leaders had asked them to boycott.

Just a bunch of Eeyores, though, right?

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