Sunday, October 16, 2005
Iraqis Ratify Constitution, US Press Sulks
Iraq’s constitution seemed assured of passage Sunday despite strong opposition from Sunni Arabs, who voted in surprisingly high numbers in an effort to stop it. The U.S. military announced that five American soldiers were killed by a bomb blast on referendum day.Okay, so a reader gets the impression that the Sunnis are totally opposed and were desperate to reject it, while President Bush is trying to spin the result. Later in the article we read:
President Bush portrayed Iraqis’ vote on a new constitution as a victory for opponents of terrorism and a sign that the country was to moving toward a democracy.
Initial estimates of overall turnout Saturday were 61 percent, election officials said. The constitution’s apparent victory was muted, though, by the prospect that the result might divide the country further.We're being warned that more and worse trouble lies ahead. But continuing on:
Rejection appeared highly unlikely after initial vote counts showed that a majority supported the constitution in two of the four provinces Sunni Arab opponents were relying on to defeat it.
Opponents needed to get a two-thirds “no” vote in three of those provinces. They may have reached the threshold in Anbar and Salahuddin, but Diyala and Ninevah provinces appeared to have supported the document by a wide margin.Well! What a surprise! Two majority Sunni provinces supported the document by a large margin! And two didn't. Hardly monolithic in their opposition, are they? All that gloomy interpretation in the beginning of the article, seems to be contradicted by the facts presented later. Why this result would divide the country more deeply we never learn.
The latter three have Sunni majorities but also powerful Shiite and Kurdish communities, which made them focal points for the political battle.
Later on in the article we learn that in the Sunni-majority province of Diyala, 70% of the voters approved the Constitution, and that in Ninevah the early returns are 300,000 for and 80,000 against. What a squeaker - darned near too close to call by RaTHer standards.
MSNBC is not the biggest offender, hower. Just take a look at this Newsday/AP article published yesterday. It struck me as an attempt to slander the population of Iraq:
"This is not democracy," Youssef Ibrahim al-Shimiri, 76, a retired male nurse said after voting "no" in a mostly Sunni Arab area of Baghdad.Gee, stop the presses. Germany and Japan are probably just getting read to riot in the streets! Baghdad voted to ratify.
"There can be no democracy if it arrives on tanks, and children and women are killed every day," he said, referring to the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
In the northern city of Kirkuk, a Sunni Arab woman emerging from a polling station said she had voted "no" because of her Muslim religion and her pride in Iraq.Kirkuk voted to ratify.
"It is against Islam. It's a Western constitution," she said. "Therefore, it is said to be forbidden."
Many Iraqis emerging from polling centers said they had not read copies of the draft constitution that were distributed across Iraq. Others said that even if they had, they would simply vote the way their religious or political leaders told them to.I was flabberghasted at the article. It omitted any mention of all of the determination of the Iraqi people in voting in the first election, any mention of the complicated negotiations on the constitution, any mention of the large numbers of Iraqis who are trying to form a government while being targeted by killers, and any mention of the fact that some large Sunni political organizations were recommending a "yes" vote. It seemed to me to be a determined attempt to convey the impression that Iraqis neither want nor are capable of a representative government.
Not Haitham Aouda Abdul-Nabi, a 23-year-old co-owner of a convenience store. When he showed up at a Sadr City secondary school to vote, he said: "More than 90 percent of Iraq's Shiites support the constitution, but not me."
Why? Because he is tired of the chaos that has followed Saddam's ouster: killings by Sunni-led insurgents, fighting between rebels and U.S. troops, squabbling in Iraq's mostly Shiite and Kurdish government, and nearly daily power outages in the capital.
"Only force can bring results with a people like us in Iraq," he said. "Unfortunately, we need someone like Saddam. This government is too weak."
I had given up any faint hope that the US press might ever concede that the US military might be an effective and humane fighting force. However, the US press now seems almost to have declared a propaganda war against the majority of Iraqis who do want a decent government, who endured great suffering under Saddam Hussein, and who have been doing their utmost to move ahead in the face of determined terrorist attacks. Not a word about their courage, not a word about their suffering, and no willingness to concede the progress they are making. This is disgusting.
Does the media hate the US armed forces so much that they can't even let the Iraqis succeed? They may hate Bush, but they seem to hate the Army, Navy, Airforce and Marines even more.
With an institutionalized aversion to reality and a clearly defined agenda, they are still willing to go down with the ship.
The Iraqis will ignore them- as they do now. A read of the Iraqi bloggers will confirm that.
I was entranced by this quote:
"This is not democracy," Youssef Ibrahim al-Shimiri, 76, a retired male nurse said after voting "no" in a mostly Sunni Arab area of Baghdad."
With all due respect to Mr. al-Shimiri, but an 18 year old American voting for the first time next year has more hands-on experience with democracy than he does, despite his advanced age.
One wonders if some Western reporter didn't have his hand up the old gent's keester to ventriloquize this screed:
"There can be no democracy if it arrives on tanks, and children and women are killed every day," he said, referring to the U.S.-led invasion in 2003."
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