"I would . . . really encourage people not to focus on numbers, which in themselves don't have any meaning, but to look on the outcome and to look at the government that will be the product of these elections."
That's an anonymous Bush administration quoted in The Washington Post working to lower expectations for the January 30 elections in Iraq. Whole story here.
Here's hoping the turnout is robust and the results seen as legitimate (the Post reports the Bush admin is pointing to a poll saying that 55 percent of Sunnis "intend" or "somewhat intend" to vote, though that's almost certainly overly optimistic).
I don't think a successful election will embolden the neocons or refresh Bush's interest in invading more countries (which is not quite the same as saying they/he have no interest in doing so). But as Contributing Editor Michael Young, the editorial page editor of Lebanon's Daily Star, writes in our February issue, regardless of one's position to the invasion of Iraq:
Why should Iraqi democracy matter? Because, as Bush has haltingly recognized, liberty is not solely an American or Western concept; because in the Arab context it will mean more security for the U.S.; and because many American and many more Iraqis have arleady died in an endeavor that can yet be salvaged, unless the conviction of defeat grabs us by the throat first.
The February issue is not online yet; it is available on newsstands. You can check out the cover, full table of contents, my editor's note, and one of the issue's feature stories, "Crime-Friendly Neighborhoods: How 'New-Urbanist' planners sacrifice safety in the name of 'openness' and 'accessibility'" by going here.
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