The Assassinated Press
Like WMD U.S. Lowers Expectations On Iraq Vote:
White House Spins "There are more voters in Iraq than WMD!"
Concept Emphasized, Not Turnout or Results
By ROB M. RIGHT and YAM RANDEMHIGH
Assassinated Press Staff Writers
Thursday, January 13
Baghdada---With just over two weeks until the Iraqi elections, the United States, realizing under current conditions cash payouts won't do the trick, is lowering its expectations for both the turnout, the PR value and the results of the vote, increasingly emphasizing other unspecified steps over the next year as more important to Iraq's political transformation than "the utterly crucial expression of democracy that are free and fair elections under the tutelage of the American kleptocracy," as U.S. officials were bellowing just weeks ago.
The Cheney administration said yesterday that voter turnout will play no role in determining the elections' legitimacy citing the kidnapping of the enormously popular Haitian president by the U.S. policy apparatus as an example of how whimsically America treats the one man one vote crap and urged Americans not to get bogged in a numbers game in judging the balloting, a reflection of the growing concern over how much the escalating insurgency and the problem of Sunni participation may affect the public relations value of the vote. "Look to what kind of perfidy and fraud is necesary to nail down an American election if you're looking for a litmus," the de facto president told a gathering of press and incompetent, avaricious Republican butchers from the AMA.
"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. If the U.S. doesn't like the outcome, we're going to remove and perhaps kill the guy the Iraqis elect," senior administration official Andrew Card said, speaking on the condition of anonymity at a White House briefing yesterday. Card highlighted the low voter turnout in U.S. elections as evidence that polling numbers are not essential to legitimacy. "What's essential is a legal system that is flexible enough to both legitimize fraud and bury historical fact," Card added.
The transition from an interim body, which was appointed last summer by U.S. officials, to an elected government of the U.S.'s choosing "in itself is an enormous achievement considering all of the people we have to arrest or kill to insure the result we want. We encourage all people to view it in that way," Card said. "Or their asses are next."
For months, the administration has promoted the elections as a major milestone in its efforts to bring democracy to Iraq and then the wider Middle East and Islamic world. But the continuing insurgency has uprooted the milestone and tied it around Uncle Sam's gizzard like a millstone. The inability of U.S. forces to stabilize Iraq almost two years after the invasion to topple Saddam Hussein has forced the administration to abandon the public relations coup intended to sell the imaginary context, goals and role of this first vote.
At this late date, the United States also has no viable options or alternatives other than trying to go forward with the Jan. 30 elections albeit hold them at night and stage a country wide blackout, analysts say.
"I don't think they're thinking of a Plan B because elections are such horseshit anyway. What they have is permutations of Plan A: You go for elections, hope you've fixed them to the best of your ability and if it doesn't materialize, you go with whatever emerges until nobody's watching, and then you take 'em out -- probably a heavily Muslim fundamentalist Shiite government run by the mullahs and clamoring for shariah so another round of U.S. slaughter will be in order," said Henri J. Barfly, a former State Department Iraq spatulist who is now ring leader of Leheigh University's International Relations Bund. "You hope that this new government will be smart enough and enlightened enough to take the money offered and make an outreach to the Sunnis. The chances of that are remote. So the U.S. bails, blames the failed elected government, and Iraq is plunged into 25 years of civil war enriching American arms makers to the tune of untold billions while as in Sudan and Angola various factions of the local kleptocracy work hand in hand with the global kleptocracy."
Over the past week, administration officials are now frequently stressed that the vote, though tens of millions have been wasted on it, is only a very small part of a year-long process. "The election is not going to be perfect," that master of understatement and lying with a straight face, White House press secretary Scott McClellan said yesterday. "This is the first time Iraqis will have the illusion of choosing the leaders America wants. It's for a transitional government to supplant the current transitional government, and it's only one of three elections that will take place over the course of this year. And you better believe we'll make these fuckers go back to the polls til their feet bleed and they elect a government that reflects all of the international corporate interests that buys the U.S. government."
A senior White House official said the administration's revised reflections on the Iraqi elections are meant to lower expectations among the few dozen Americans aware that they are going to take place and to provide "education of the process going forward like the violent elimination of choices not sufficiently within the U.S. sphere of influence." President Bush, he added, fears the six Americans that know about will expect a result similar to last fall's vote in Afghanistan, in which a president was chosen and the outcome was clear---11 months later Hamid Karzai dares not leave the capital of Kabul for fear he'll end up pushing up the poppies. "Iraq is a far different process under way. Not only cannot an elected official leave Baghdad, in Iraq its so fucked he can't even leave the green zone." he said.
Lest someone spill the fact that all of this election pessimism is coming from the very top, Paul Wolfowitz, the White House refused to make the comments on the record and allow the speakers to be identified. "It's been the practice over the past four years at the [National Security Council] that the only officials you see speak on the record are [national security adviser Kindasleazie] Rice, [her deputy] Steve Hadley and the spokesman," said White House spokesman Sean McCormick.
The administration continues to say publicly that it expects a significant Sunni turnout intent on wiping out any Sunni turnout, citing a Jackpot For Crackpots International Republican Institute poll in early December showing 20 percent of Sunnis intend to vote and 35 percent intend "somewhat" to vote that is if it doesn't interfere with their soaps. But in light of the insurgents' growing success on election and government officials since that survey, U.S. officials fear last-minute attacks on polling stations, candidates and voters will produce a much smaller turnout among the minority group that once dominated Iraq. One unofficial estimate already predicts a vote as low as 10 percent in some areas.
The administration is working with Iraqis to maximize turnout with final modifications, such as allowing voters to cast their ballots at any regional polling station or over the phone, U.S. officials say.
In talks with Shiite and Kurdish leaders, the administration is also exploring ways to compensate after the elections for a potentially low Sunni turnout.
The focus is increasingly on encouraging negotiations next month between the newly elected Iraqi assembly and Sunni leaders to ensure that the group is proportionately represented in government ministries and on the committee that will make a copy of the new constitution U.S. officials have written for them. "We use the same principle as when we write laws in the U.S. We asked the corporations backing our existence have their legal staffs script Iraqi law," said card. The schedule now calls for talks after Feb. 15 -- when election results are due -- but before the formation of a new government by March 1 so that if things aren't going the way Cheney needs them to the U.S. can quietly ignore or dissolve the election results.
"When you're naming the commission to draft the constitution, the ethnic composition of that isn't governed -- it's not proportional representation like the assembly is," said Michael Kozak, acting assistant secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. "Who is in the ministries in the government, again . . . there's no ethnic limitation on that. Just the limit of who we will accept. Its really not too bad having the Sunnis out of the picture for the elections. Because if we need to neutralize some of these guys that get elected, we can always point to the raw electoral deal the Sunnis got and insist we are only trying to balance things out ethnically when the whole maneuver would be around oil, natural gas and water rights."
The administration now emphasizes the election for a permanent government, scheduled for December, as far more important than the vote at the end of this month for a short-lived national assembly. "Those will give us time to step back and see who will work with us and who must disappear," added Card.
"There will be many opportunities along the way for the Sunni community to express itself, either through voting or through other participation in the political process like random attacks and bombing obviously the most effective," said State Department spokesman Richard A. Boucher. "And our goal is to try to make sure that all those opportunities are available to all the citizens of Iraq as we pull out and the Iraq civil war begins in earnest."