Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Myth Of The "Free Election" In Iraq

Those that support the Bush Administration role in Iraq sometimes use a variety of exaggerated facts, half truths and even outright falsehoods to make their case to support the war. One of the greatest of these myths sold as fact is the myth of the "free election" in Iraq.

But from shortly after the American invasion of Iraq, Paul Bremmer proposed a caucas system designed to be under tight American control that would allow the American controlled Coalition Provisional Authority to have tight control over which parties and candidates would be allowed to rule Iraq. However as an effort to secure American public support, and to promote the notion of "Arab Democracy", plans were made to hold "elections" in Iraq.

While the Bush Administration made a major American public promotion of the coming elections in Iraq, some like Thomas Warrick of the State Department actually worked on a plan to channel covert American funds to candidates associated with longtime CIA associate, Allawi and his associated candidates and parties. Warrick was able to garner support at the State Department, Pentagon, and National Security Council for this plan to rig the Iraqi election in favor of candidates associated with Allawi by the channeling of the covert funds. However, it was an official in the office of Colin Powell that stopped this specific plan.

On the day that the elections were held in Iraq, a major public relations effort by the Bush Administration promoted the "success" of this event, as did most of the American mainstream media. Yet it took a full 12 days to count the votes, a period in which some American officials admitted that "disputed ballots" were kept out of the vote count. The Independent Electoral Commision of Iraq(IECI) found that in the city of Mosul for example, that a full forty percent of ballots could not be "allocated to a specific polling station". And former UNSCOM arms inspector, Scott Ritter claimed that votes for candidates associated with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani proIranian coalition of candidates and parties were pared down, although the vote for this coalition was so overwelming that removing as much as nearly 15 or 20% of their votes made no difference in the overwelminng victory over the Allawi coalition candidates.

And even the outcome of elections are not always accepted in Iraq either. Members of the proIranian Badr Brigade militia hold many positions of power in the Iraqi government. In Baghdad, 120 armed members of this militia replaced the secular Mayor of Baghdad, Alaa al-Tamimi, in their armed coup, with Badr Brigade militia member, Hussein al-Tahhan.

Publicly democracy for Iraq is a popular notion for American public consumption to bolster support for the Bush Administration and the Iraq War. But in Iraq the reality of truly free elections is a myth, and the use of the armed coup by militia members to replace public officials is still popular.


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