Click here to go to Opinions You Should Have at tomburka.com.
TITLE: First Free Election in Baghdad Results in Election of George W. Bush; Angry Iraqis Claim They "Intended to Vote For Pat Buchanan"
DATE: 4/18/2003 11:14:00 PM
Baghdad, April 18 - The installation of democracy appeared stalled here after election returns from the first free election in Baghdad appeared to indicate that 100% of Iraqis had voted for President George W. Bush.
The White House seemed perplexed and denied that the administration of the elections by what it called "the independent interim government" was tainted or improper.
Donald Rumsfeld appeared irritated at any suggestion of impropriety. "The voting process was very simple. You punched a hole in a card next to the name of the person whom you wanted to lead Iraq. The cards were collected, and the holes were counted. And apparently, there were a lot of holes in those little cards, all for the same guy. End of story."
Angry Iraqis protested outside of Baghdad's Liberty Square, saying that the ballots had been confusing, and should have been in Arabic, at the very least. Some Iraqis claimed that the ballots that they had been given had only one hole that could be punched. Others said that it was unclear to them, after years of living under Saddam Hussein, whether the hole should have been punched, kicked, or maimed.
Some Iraqis called for a recount, but it was unclear whether the Iraqi constitution and the laws set forth by the interim Iraqi government allowed for a recount, or specified the manner in which a recount could be done. Donald Rumsfeld again commented, "What's the problem? The votes were counted, they counted the holes in the cards. To recount them, you would count the holes in the cards again. In my view, that would constiute recounting. It doesn't need a description. The word itself tells you what you have to do. Re-count. It's that simple. Next question."
President Bush immediately organized a bipartisan committee composed of Republicans to investigate the election and also to render an opinion as to whether a "sitting president can preside over more than one country at a time." Congresswoman Kathryn Harris was appointed to chair the committee; assisting her will be former Secretary of State James Baker, Jeb Bush, Ted Olsen, and at least one Iraqi who had not been to Iraq in the past forty years.
TITLE: Too Soon To Judge the War?
DATE: 4/18/2003 10:57:00 PM
There's an excellent post by "Jkstraw" (Jack Straw?) which led to a spirited debate over at The Daily Rant. Many conservatives jumped on the "lefties were wrong in their doom and gloom outlook" bandwagon, referring to liberal perspectives on the course of the war, the aftermath of the war, and the failure (so far) to find WMD, which they now say was not the justification or goal for the war to begin with, and not proffered as such by Bush. I liked my response there so much I reprint it here:
It's fair to say that the administration trumped up and overestimated both the strength of Saddam Hussein's weapons, his possession of WMD, and his imminent or eventual threat to the U.S. or tot he security of the area to make the case for an urgent war where no such urgency existed. The left, which the conservatives here like to say have been proveed wrong at every turn, said all along that Saddam had been significantly, perhaps irrevocably weakened by the 1991 war and that he posed very little if any threat to our national security. So far, we (I'll put myself in with those lefties, since I said the above many times) have been proved completely correct.
Saddam is the worst oppressor of his people in the world? (as one poster above said) No way. North Korea is a perfect example of a more despicable regime. China is considered not big on human rights. The debate -- when it is justifiable to use military intervention to cure human rights violations -- is an entirely different debate than the one Bush and his pals led the country in when they made the case for war (it was all about WMD -- e.g., Powell's pitch to the U.N.? WMD). When liberating the people from Hussein was thrown into an administration argument for the war, it was in the context of "WMD (and he's a brutal dictator, too)."
If you say it's too soon to judge the need for the war based on the lack of WMD, then you have to admit also that it's too soon to judge whether the war was wise or justifiable. What will the next government be like? Will the region become more or less unstable? 5 or 10 or 20 years down the line, will the Iraqi people (who we claim to be helping) be better off, or worse? Will American security (and let's face it, we were never acting on behalf of anyone's interests but our own) be better? Will our foreign relations be better for us? Will the war damage us domestically?
My position is that the Bush administration's actions are short-sighted, reckless, and dangerous. My opposition to the war was (and still is) based on the fact that the war was an unnecessary gamble that risks too much and stands to gain too little; that it has produced problems which you can see immediately and could foresee yesterday (with the international community and the domestic economy to start) -- and that the administration has not been the slightest bit honest about its aims or goals,so I can't even trust them on their judgment.
Those who blindly support the administration in its claims, moves, pronouncements, wars and other actions are the ones who are being hasty.