Saturday, January 29, 2005

How Can We Judge if the Terrorists Failed?

Iraqi polls open at 11pm EST, less than three hours from now. There's been a lot of talk about what constitutes success for the U.S. and for the Iraqi Interim Government. But just as important, what constitutes failure for the anti-democracy forces?

The Bush Administration has downplayed expectations to such a degree that if most eligible voters cast ballots it will be considered a huge success.

The 'insurgents' have taken the opposite tactic. They have raised expectations for day of nearly omnipresent violence. "Insurgents threatened a bloodbath on Sunday when Iraqis go to the polls." They have posted signs threatening attacks at polling places, calling lines to vote "the queues of doom and death," and promising to "wash Baghdad streets with voters' blood."

Wash the streets? Quite a threat. Remember the Afghan elections? The Taliban threatened the same thing and then evaporated on election day. No one thinks that the Iraqi election will be as calm. Nevertheless, they anti-democracy thugs, whether Ba'athists or Islamist, have a lot riding on a low turn out. It won't be enough for them to murder lots of Iraqis if 75% still cast ballots. I think they need a substanial body count and low turnout to be successful from their perspective.

The terrorists need to keep people from going to the polls. That means they need to scare people enough that they don't vote. Blowing up a polling place 10 minutes before the polls close won't do it. Too many will have voted by then. The terrorists need lots of big, widely-publicized attacks early in the day to terrorize the populace.

Turn on the news at 11pm tonight. If the Coalition Forces can keep the level of violence to what is sadly a norm by Iraqi standards, it will be a huge defeat for the villains, regardless of who wins at the polls.

Update: Welcome Instapundit readers. Pajama Hadin has compiled a list of Iraqi Election links. Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave comments. Additional Iraqi election thoughts, here. Updates on election violence, here.
tags: / /


Blogger PajamaHadin said...

I hope that the Coalition and Iraqi forces are able to do just that. I have some reasons for optimism since more and more of Zarqawi's top aides are being captured. Also, it seems that the Iraqi people are quite determined to make it to the polls and vote. Perhaps this will result in Coalition and Iraqi forces receiving more of the intel the need to round up many more terrorists and keep the violence to a minimum. I'll take you advice and see what's happening on the news tonight.

I'm trying to keep up with events on my blog.
You can also find my repository of related Iraqi Election information and news at the link below:

Iraq Election Facts, Military Blogs and News on the Ground

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree somewhat. The insurgents would obviously have liked to see a low overall turnout. (For one thing, it means that they have failed a public trial of their strength.) But the insurgents (or at least the Zarqawi/Ba'athist types) have a Sunni Persecution Strategy to fall back on. As long as they can keep a significant Sunni constituency out of the political process by hook or by crook, they have a base in which to hide, support and reinforce themselves. A large Sunni turnout in all parts of Iraq would have been a real disaster for them. It's now pretty clear that that isn't happening, so they still have their base. This isn't to say that the elections are a failure, it just underlines the importance of the efforts that will continue in the coming months to coax more Sunnis into the political tent.

6:09 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home