Monday, January 31, 2005

Voter Turnout in the Iraqi Elections Follows Washington's Script

The best commentary that sums up the essence of the Iraqi elections is Steve Bell's cartoon below:

Iraqis!  Come Out with Your Votes in the Air!
Steve Bell (2005)

Since the Iraqi elections are typical "demonstration elections," however, the corporate media are duty-bound to ignore such hardball questions as whether the elections were free, fair, and democratic and to hype "a large turnout (indicating voter support for the election itself and thus identifying the election with "democracy")" (Frank Brodhead, "Reframing the Iraq Election," ZNet, January 21, 2005).

Greg Mitchell looks skeptically at the press's reports on turnout estimates, which have already been brought down 15% in one day:
The widely-publicized estimates a few hours ago from Iraq election officials of 72% turnout has already been cut to about 57% from the same officials. Dexter Filkins of The New York Times reported at midday:

"The chairman of the Independent Election Commission of Iraq, Fareed Ayar, said as many as 8 million people turned out to vote, or between 55 percent and 60 percent of those registered to cast ballots. If 8 million turns out to be the final figure, that would represent 57 percent of voters."

The question remains: what percentage of the population chose to register? What percentage of adult citizens participated? Iraq has a population of at least 25 million, plus expatriates were allowed to vote overseas. (emphasis added, "Iraq, the Vote: The Press Sizes Up the Election," Editor & Publisher, January 30, 2005)
All good questions. I'd also ask where the Independent [sic] Election Commission of Iraq got the figure of 8 million voters.

The answer is that's exactly the same number the commission predicted before the elections:
A senior election official estimates that half of Iraq's 15 million eligible voters ["[t]here are 14 million eligible voters inside Iraq . . . plus 1.2 million abroad allowed to vote in 14 countries including the United States, Britain, Iran and Syria"] will take part in this month's national election and says that to encourage a high turnout, those living in insurgency-racked areas will be allowed to vote in safer communities.

Farid Ayar of Iraq's Independent Electoral Commission said he expected 7 to 8 million Iraqis to vote on Jan. 30 in a ballot seen as a major step toward fulfilling U.S. goals of building democracy here after decades of Saddam Hussein's tyranny. (emphasis added, Hamza Hendawi/Associated Press, "Half of Iraq Population Estimated to Vote," January 14, 2005)
What precision! A sign that elections in Iraq have been raised to the level of science, far superior to the 4-billion-dollar election industry in the United States that showed disturbing discrepancies between exit polls and vote tallies? Not! A safer hypothesis is that it's a sign of how scripted Iraqi elections were. If Washington needs about 8 million Iraqi voters to achieve a "respectable" turnout of half the eligible voters (Hendawi, January 14, 2005), the Independent [sic] Election Commission of Iraq has to give that number to Washington before and after the elections. After all, "demonstration elections" are theater -- for the American, rather than Iraqi, audience.


For connoisseurs of comparative propaganda: Peter Grose, "U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote" (New York Times, September 4, 1967, p. 2)


Anonymous said...

Don't believe any of these numbers. Consider that there are 15 million Iraqis eligible to register to vote ONLY if the voting age is 16! If there are 25 million Iraqis and 10 million of them are under the age of 16, then there is no way there can be anywhere near 15 million of voting age. Assuming though that there are 15 million old enough to vote, to suggest that 95-100 percent of those 15 million registered to vote is simply ridiculous. I suspect that if the 8 million figure is correct as to who actually voted, it is closer to the 75 percent level of registered voters - probably more like 80 percent or more. I doubt that there were more than 10-12 million who actually registered - given the fact that there were not even public places TO register in some locations and no-one to do the registering in many. There would be 15 million registered voters only if the Iraqi population is the most fearless bunch of people on the face of the earth and if the Iraqi Sunnis - and a goodly portion of Shia as well - have a whole lot less respect for the advice of their religious and tribal leaders than we have been led to believe.

honkdub said...

hey yoshie if your going to post on could ya do it in the other press area/type and collate/comment it under appopriate stories ie about iraq elections in the elections blog link from the picture on the front page. the Main wire is for original stories written for specifically.


interesting stuff
pc ( 1 of imc)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

The vote is a joke. That's obvious enough. What I found fascinating is the t.v coverage. There seems to have been a change in network policy towards the war since the election of The Grand Imperial Wizard. During the campaign the networks (except fer Fox snooze) were not nearly as willing as they are now to push forward the delusions of the Iraq situation in the Neo-Republican style. Now it seems that the networks have decided that if you can't beat 'em, suck up to 'em. The sheer amount of blatant propaganda (did ya see NIGHTLINE the other night with the "town meeting"?) in an attempt to make the public view the Iraq situation through rose coloured glasses, is more of a story here then the election.

The networks have given up opposing the Bush agenda, the democrats have given up more or less as well, and as weird as it may seem the loudest establishment voices in protest to the war are the folks from the CSIS. Brzeznski, Scowcroft, Kissinger etc.

The founding editor of the CSIS magazine Washington Quarterly Micheal Ledeen is called by many the leading ideologue of the Straussian (Machiavellian) Neo-Con agenda.The former major domo of the CSIS who now presides over at the American Enterprise Institute which is the sister organization of the Project for the New American Century would appear on the surface to have a different agenda then the folks at the CSIS. I for one do not believe it.

The CSIS is the traditional bastion of the political military industrial bigwigs. They have been the guys and gals who shape American policy behind the scenes. Ledeen was their middle east expert. And yet know the CSIS head honchos have come out and become critical of the Iraq situation, as the folks at their sister organization the Council on Foreign Affairs.I don't buy into this scenario.

It looks to me like the Good cop/Bad Cop trick. The cops use this trick in order to fool their prey into thinking that the Good cop is sane and rational and out to be a friend. Whereas the Bad cop plays the part of the out of control irrational guy who can do anything crazy at any moment. This is the traditional interrogation method used by police. First the Bad cop threatens violence and acts as if he will explode in rage at any moment. This scares the detainee. Then the Good cop grabs the Bad cop and shoves the Bad cop outside the room and tells him to cool off. Then he acts as if he is the friend of the detainee, he tells the detainee that the Bad cop is unstable, he can do anything at any moment. The Good cop tells the detainee that he is safe with him, he's a friend and wants to keep the Bad cop at bay, but he doesn't know if he can do that for long. In this way the whole gimmick is about psychological manipulation. First you make the detainee fear for his life, and then you have a hero save him. The detainee is then so relieved to be saved that he befriends the Good cop.

This is what I believe is going on between the traditional policy planners and the new kids on the block. The AIE and PNAC are the Bad cops, and the CSIS and CFR are the Good cops. The AIE and PNAC are the crazy guys that the CSIS and CFR are trying to control.

In reality they are all part of the same police force. Michael Ledeen went from the CSIS to the AIE, and he is the guy behind Bush foreign policy.

From the above website about Ledeen:

"William O. Beeman tells us about Michael Ledeen’s influence. Writing for the Pacific News Service he says:

“Ledeen’s ideas are repeated daily by such figures as Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz…He basically believes that violence in the service of the spread of democracy is America’s manifest destiny. Consequently, he has become the philosophical legitimator of the American occupation of Iraq.”

In fact, Ledeen’s influence goes even further. The BBC, the Washington Post and Jim Lobe writing for the Asia Times report that Michael Ledeen is the only full-time international affairs analyst consulted by Karl Rove. Ledeen has regular conversations with Rove. The Washington Post said, "More than once, Ledeen has seen his ideas faxed to Rove, become official policy or rhetoric.

“Ledeen has become the driving philosophical force behind the neoconservative movement and the military actions it has spawned.”

In 1999, Ledeen published his book, Machiavelli on Modern Leadership: Why Machiavelli’s Iron Rules Are as Timely and Important Today as Five Centuries Ago. (Truman Talley Books, St. Martin’s Griffin, N.Y. 1999.)

“In order to achieve the most noble accomplishments, the leader may have to ‘enter into evil.’ This is the chilling insight that has made Machiavelli so feared, admired, and challenging. It is why we are drawn to him still…” (p. 91)

From The Prince by Machiavelli, in the original Oxford University Press translation by Luigi Ricci.

"When those states which have been acquired are accustomed to live at liberty under their own laws, there are three ways of holding them. The first is to despoil them; the second is to go and live there in person; the third is to allow them to live under their own laws, taking tribute of them, and creating within the country a government composed of a few who will keep it friendly to you. Because this government, being created by the prince, knows that it cannot exist without his friendship and protection, and will do all it can to keep them. What is more, a city used to liberty can be more easily held by means of its citizens than in any other way, if you wish to preserve truth there is no sure method of holding them except by despoiling them. And whoever becomes the ruler of a free city and does not destroy it, can expect to be destroyed by it, for it can always find a motive for rebellion in the name of liberty and of its ancient usage..."

This is the agenda in Iraq. Machiavelli and Leo Strauss (who was an avid student of Machiavelli) have been the guiding lights of the colonial ambitions of American foreign policy [World bank, IMF, WTO included] for a long time. Good Cop Bad Cop is how this is done so that the entire establishment is not discredited. They always need a fall guy to do the dirty work.

The Neo-cons are the Bad cops and the CSIS and CFR are the Good cops. They have the same agenda and have always worked together. The reason there is this seeming difference of opinion on Iraq from these folks is that the AIE and PNAC guys are doing the dirty work of being the Bad cops. The CSIS and CFR folks don't want to look like the bad guys. But they want the American policy to be what it is today. So they have their toadies (neocons at the AIE and PNAC) taking the blame and being the fall guys. They all want the same thing. Brzeznski et al had alreaady written out the scenario of American military action throughout the middle east and surrounding areas as being absolutely necessary. But they know that the actual use of force would be extremely unpopular around the world. So they had to put the onus of responsibility on someone else...the "neocons" at the AIE and PNAC.

It's Good cop Bad cop...again.


Don J. D said...

The spectacle here is the US attempts to export democracy to another country when it does not have a complet democracy of its own.

Politics is basically a discussion and implementation of our social system. It should also include discussion of the possibility that the existing social system has become anachronistic to the stage of economic development reached in the US. The later is completely excluded which gives us one legged amputee politics.

See below for what our organization offers as being excluded from American politics:

Thank you.

Donald J. Donaker
Real Union Of Social Science

Anonymous said...

Very fine article and analysis, and I'll add that some of the posted comments to your article are also of some interest; altogether, providing a blog of considerable information, particularly with the hyperlinks and plain text URLs to additional resource materials on the www.

I'm personally not capable of really adding any information to what's already been posted, here, however can say that common sense leaves this overall material as credible. Common sense also tells us that we should have certainly expected voting fraud orchestration by G.W. Bush et al., and Iyad Allawi et al.

However, I'll add a brief note that the individual who posted a comment stating that if there are 25 million Iraqis and 10 million of them are under 16, voting age, then there could not be 15 million eligible to vote. 25 - 10 = 15, so indeed there could have been 15 million eligible voters; while it nevertheless remained quite obvious that far fewer would vote or even register in that presently explosive, dangerous country.

It strikes me as realistic to think that maybe half or very little more than half of Iraqis in Iraq would vote in this election; not a certainty, but nevertheless realistic.

The Good versus Bad Cop commentary someone posted strikes me as a good complement to your article. It did seem peculiar that Kissinger, Scowcroft, and others all-of-a-sudden began to act like "Good Cops".

Lastly, the link to your article or blog was obtained at; "Website of the Day" for Jan. 31, 2005.

Mike Corbeil