-a few days before the election bush said u.s. forces would withdraw from iraq if asked by the post-election government.to make my point even simpler, a disconnect between what people believe they are voting for and what they actually get is dangerous, especially in a fragile democracy (assuming it's not premature to call iraq that at this point). the risk of such a disconnect occurring from last weekend's iraqi election are particularly great considering that the identities of the candidates were mostly concealed from the voters.
-unembedded journalist dahr jamail reports that "Every Iraqi I have spoken with who voted explained that they believe the National Assembly which will be formed soon will signal an end to the occupation. And they expect the call for a withdrawing of foreign forces in their country to come sooner rather than later."
-interim president sheik ghazi al-yawar and interim prime minister ayad allawi both rule out withdrawal of u.s. forces, as they jockey for power in the post-election government, before even preliminary results are announced.
whether this election is ultimately viewed as a success or failure will depend on things that we don't know yet. so far, so good. it hasn't blown up yet. but that does not mean it never will. dipping your finger in purple ink to watch the president speak is all well and good if you're into political theater.* but the ultimate success or failure of this enterprise is by no means decided yet.
* i disagree that the finger dipping makes republicans who do it morons. i happen to like political theater when people i agree with do it, so i can't in good conscience object when people on the other side get into the act. that is not to say that they may not look stupid in retrospect at some future time. but right now, they exist in a state of quantum-like uncertainty, potentially both moron and non-moron. it's only later, when we open the box, that we will know if this particular cat is dead.