Iraqi Elections

I'm with Matt on the Iraqi elections, a day that will go down in history but be forgotten the morning after. Like the June 30th handover, this is a largely symbolic event whose success -- given the constraints of Sunni non-participation -- will be forgotten by nightfall. At the moment, the streets seems blissfully clear of shrapnel and gore, and I think they'll probably remain so. The insurgents realize that, with or without attacks, tomorrow's elections will produce a government. So why expose themselves to the elevated risk promised by the day's enhanced security? They can lay low for a day, or even a few, waiting for the heads of government to shift (or, if Allawi wins, emerge codified) and the new leaders will find themselves no more protected than the old. After all, an Iraqi-led government has been "ruling" for months now, what do the insurgents care which Shi'ite is at its helm?

Americans, for our part, will spend the morning watching CNN say the same thing a thousand ways. We'll exult in the mystical power of voting, but next week, it'll be back to the news ticker's impersonal body counts. So elections? Count me in, I think they're great. But with the rebellious, terrified minority that's driving the insurgency boycotting the polls, let's not pretend that the Ballot Fairy will sprinkle constitution dust on this razed country and out of the ashes will emerge a stable, pluralistic democracy. Iraq's task is monumental, and its solutions anything but telegenic. In fact, odds are neither our military nor cable bureaus will be playing a big role in them...

Update: Well scratch my predictive powers, there was plenty of violence.

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