I have included a link to some of the coverage of the election in Iraq here. World Debate also has an excellent list of blogs written by people in Iraq about what's going on there. I have read about 1,000 postings on different websites and blogs calling the election a success, and how Iraq now qualifies as a democracy because of this historic triumph over the forces of evil. If only it were that simple.
No doubt that it is an exciting and historic time for Iraqis. But, to say that having an election is the only requirement of a democracy would also qualify Survivor, American Idol and my high school prom as democracies. Before we start talking about putting a McDonald's on every corner, destroying their environment, and putting aside the well-being of the Iraqi citizen for corporate profits, we need a reality check.
As many of you already realize, Iraq has three different groups fighting for control of the government: Shiite Muslims, Sunni Muslims, and the Kurdish or Kurds. These three groups have been killing each other and fighting for control for hundreds of years. Simply having an election doesn't change all those years of history.
I'm not trying to minimize the importance of the election or the sacrifices of the Iraqi people and our soldiers in making this happen. Conversely, I think that denying the realities that currently face our soldiers and the Iraqi people and making bold proclamations about Democracy is a gross oversimplification and gives the false impression that our mission has finally been accomplished, when really it's only just beginning. And we know how the Bush Administration loves to say "Mission Accomplished".
It's funny to me to hear what Americans say and write about our Democracy. What makes us the experts on Democracy? We've twisted our government into a capitalist theocracy, where only those with money can attain and control power. My hope for Iraq is that they do what we've failed to do, and get this whole Democracy thing right.