I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Our Iraqi allies got some votes, too

There is a glaring and grave contradiction between, on the one hand, this war-justifying claim made by President Bush in the second paragraph of his Sunday night Iraq speech . . . . :

This election will not mean the end of violence. But it is the beginning of something new: constitutional democracy at the heart of the Middle East. And this vote -- 6,000 miles away, in a vital region of the world -- means that America has an ally of growing strength in the fight against terror.

. . . . and these facts about the Iraqi election, after 90% of the votes have been counted, as reported by this morning's New York Times:

Early voting results announced by Iraqi electoral officials on Monday, with nearly two-thirds of the ballots counted, indicated that religious groups, particularly the main Shiite coalition, had taken a commanding lead. The secular coalition led by Ayad Allawi, the former prime minister, had won only meager support in crucial provinces where it had expected to do well, including Baghdad.

The front-runner among Sunni Arab voters was a religious coalition whose leaders have advocated resistance to the American military and have demanded that President Bush set a timetable for withdrawing the American military from Iraq.

These religious Shiite parties which will be governing Iraq, to say nothing of the Sunni religious coalitions which are bubbling over with anti-Americanism, are highly unlikely to be "allies" of the U.S. in any respect. Quite the contrary, as the natural and long-standing ally of the Iraqi Shiites is the Shiite mullahs ruling Iran who, according to the Administration, are hardly our "allies" in "the fight against terror," but instead form one of the two remaining members of the Axis of Evil.

In addition to the embarrassingly low vote total for the secular coalition led by Allawi, the ex-Prime Minister and CIA favorite who was handpicked by the U.S. to rule Iraq, another U.S. ally and neocon favorite in Iraq had an even more embarrassing showing:

Another prominent secular candidate, Ahmad Chalabi, the former Pentagon favorite, won less than a half of 1 percent of the vote in Baghdad, possibly denying him a seat in the Council of Representatives.

Secular parties, and even more so, parties led by candidates who have been associated with the United States, barely showed up on the electoral radar. The perception that a candidate is pro-U.S. seems to be a fatal albatross in Iraqi elections, an ominous sign which bodes quite poorly for President Bush's assurance that these elections will give rise to an American "ally" in Iraq.

All of those wild celebrations over the Iraqi elections to which we were subjected last week (and which were mercifully cut short by revelations of lawless spying on American citizens by the White House) would be far more appropriate and understandable taking place in the governmental halls of Tehran.

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