Iraq: The Real Election
April 17, 2005 2:45 PM   Subscribe

If the election was to mark the point from which Iraqis would settle their differences through politics and not through violence, it failed; for those responsible for the insurgency— not only those planting suicide bombs but those running the organizations responsible for them and the leaders of the community that has shown itself sympathetic enough to the insurgents' cause to shelter them—did not take part. The political burden of the elections was to bring those who felt frightened or alienated by the new dispensation into the political process, so they could express their opposition through politics and not through violence; the task, that is, was to attract Sunnis to the polls and thereby to isolate the extremists. And in this, partly because of an electoral system that the Sunnis felt, with some reason, was unfairly stacked against them, the election failed.

Iraq: The Real Election. See also Iraq: Without Consensus, Democracy Is Not the Answer. (pdf)
posted by y2karl (35 comments total)
 
This oughta be good...
posted by odinsdream at 3:26 PM on April 17, 2005


I EAT FRONT-PAGE SPACE
posted by I EAT TAPES at 3:31 PM on April 17, 2005


I beat a dead horse
posted by Mick at 4:12 PM on April 17, 2005


I just got my Treo 600 and I love it
posted by angry modem at 4:15 PM on April 17, 2005


Is this where I can find those naked pictures of Tony Danza?
posted by fatbobsmith at 9:11 PM on April 17, 2005


nah man, wrong pl... wait, yes. yes you can find nake pictures of Tony Danza
posted by trinarian at 9:33 PM on April 17, 2005


I EAT FRONT-PAGE SPACE

And precious bandwidth, too.
posted by AlexReynolds at 9:55 PM on April 17, 2005


I love y2karl.
posted by interrobang at 10:03 PM on April 17, 2005


I don't have the patience to read these links, or the wherewithal to discuss them, and I really don't want to learn anything new, because I prefer to burrow deeper into the cocoon of my pre-conceived notions (well, ok, not mine actually, I just parrot what I skim in the New York {Post|Review of Books}).

So I'll just post some tired snark as my way of holding high my pride in knowing little and wanting to know even less.

God forbid I should ever have to confront complicated issues that I haven't already been given scripted answers to!


If your point is that you have no interest in what y2karl brings up, and no interest in commenting on it, the most elegant and succinct way to say that is to not comment at all.

Posting inanities is all too reminiscent of the dumbass kids on the school bus making fun of the nerdy kids who read books.
posted by orthogonality at 10:24 PM on April 17, 2005


Orthogonality is dead right. Why is MetaFilter turning into Fark? Matt, could you please consider purging the accounts of the yutzes, trolls and poisoners whose contributions to any thread consist of one irrelevant, stupid, usually nasty, remark? For some reason y2karl's postings seem to particularly attract them, which means they'd be a good place to start.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 10:34 PM on April 17, 2005


Posting inanities is all too reminiscent of the dumbass kids on the school bus making fun of the nerdy kids who read books.

I'm not defending those who post one-line inanities about y2karl's posts, but perhaps a different metaphor is in order. Some people post here because they hope to start a conversation, in which there is dialogue between parties of various interests and beliefs. Others post in the hopes of converting MeFites to a certain set of beliefs.

Now, I have no problems with posters who put up materials in the legitimate hopes of starting an open dialogue. However, some posters are more like the anti-abortion nut at a cocktail party. Every conversation you attempt to have with them eventually comes back around to their fervent belief and their attempt to convert everybody in the room. It stops being a conversation and starts being a soapbox. That gets old fast.

Now, you can claim that our lovely anti-abortion nutcase at the cocktail party is just "proving information" and "confront[ing] complicated issues", or you can accuse them of being a drag on the party because they keep bringing up the same topic over and over again until everybody is sick and tired of it. Mentioning it once is "confront[ing] complicated issues", bringing it up once a day is anti-social behavior. One way of correcting anti-social behavior is to use social pressure to encourage the miscreant to get off their soap box and join the rest of the conversation.

Given that Matt won't step into this at all, I think that social pressure is far from "turning MeFi into fark" and much closer to "encouraging a well-loved member to expand their interests".
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:21 PM on April 17, 2005


MeTa. (yea, you asked for it.)

And TDDL, y2karl has only posted one other Iraq FPP in the last month. And it was actually about Peak Oil. Thanks for playing.
posted by mek at 11:33 PM on April 17, 2005


And TDDL, y2karl has only posted one other Iraq FPP in the last month

I didn't mean "every day" literally. Decide for yourself if y2karl makes more Iraq/"War on Terror" posts than anybody else:

April 17
April 13
April 11
March 15
March 14
March 11
March 7
Feb 21
Feb 14
Feb 8
Jan 15
etc
etc
etc
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:42 PM on April 17, 2005


The images could not show, finally, the peculiar system of government under which those elected are now struggling to function—a system in effect imposed by the American occupation in the interim constitution, known as the "transitional administrative law." That system demands, among other things, that the national assembly bring together two thirds of its votes to confirm a government, a requirement found in no other parliamentary system in the world.

I wasn't aware of the this requirement, and on reflection, it seems to pretty much annihilate whatever chance the Iraqis had of forming a government. What current democracies could make it past this 2/3rds hurdle? Not Canada, and not the States, that's for sure.

Danner's conclusion is devilish, but probably correct; the United States has made it intentionally near-impossible for the Iraqis to form an effective government as they know very well that such a government will be very... unfriendly... to the USA. Fortunately for the Republicans, once the USA gets around to bailling on Iraq the press will happily move on, like an ADD sufferer at Disneyland. The mess we leave behind will be as unspoken of as Afghanistan is now.
posted by mek at 11:57 PM on April 17, 2005


So much for I EAT TAPES being a tough guy! A troll's color always runs yellow.
posted by AlexReynolds at 12:55 AM on April 18, 2005


When was that election anyway?
posted by Witty at 2:53 AM on April 18, 2005


y2karl, can I make a suggestion.....the mouseovers I like but I couldn't read the 2nd one because part of it was off the side of the screen. And I had to f11 to allow the first one to fit onto the screen. I'd really prefer not to change the screen resolution. So maybe if you can (?) make the mouseover boxes vertically inclined and not horizontal and dare I say, containing just a few less words, then I wouldn't be deprived of your always interesting material; in those occasional busy moments of life that prevent me, for one reason or another from actually delving into the linked material.
posted by peacay at 3:02 AM on April 18, 2005


I didn't mean "every day" literally.

Then you shouldn't have said "once a day," should you? Lying to make a fallacious point and then claiming you didn't mean it the way it sounded reminds me of... oh, various presidents of recent memory. Anyway, the point is stupid, however you want to phrase it.

Yes, y2karl probably posts more about Iraq than anybody else does. And? He or matteo probably posts more about poetry than anyone else. So? Somebody's got to be the leading poster about Iraq -- unless there are to be no posts about it at all, which is what you might prefer.

Me, I think Iraq is the number-one story of the last few years, the place where the US is finally losing whatever credibility it had, perhaps the place where the future of the Middle East for the next generation is being shaped, and I want to see posts on it, a lot more than I want to see posts about the latest developments in iPods or comic-book movies. But I don't go into posts I'm not interested in to piss on them, I just ignore them. You might try doing the same. It's good for your soul and your blood pressure.

y2karl, thanks for this -- it's important, timely information. Ignore the cretins.
posted by languagehat at 6:30 AM on April 18, 2005


The April issue of Harper's has a very interesting article on this subject as well: After the Election by Nir Rosen. I haven't seen it available on-line yet. (I wrote about it briefly on my website.)
posted by chunking express at 6:44 AM on April 18, 2005


Looks as though some of you have already gotten all jihaded up this morning.

That first link is a harrowing story Karl. It's a shame that it's pearls before some of these knuckle-headed swine. Thanks for pointing me to it.
posted by crunchland at 6:51 AM on April 18, 2005


Talk about moving the goalposts.
posted by dios at 7:39 AM on April 18, 2005


Then you shouldn't have said "once a day," should you? Lying to make a fallacious point... blah blah blah...

Learn the difference between "lying" and "making a point." It's not a lie when there's a link right there (that's what that different color text means, try clicking on it) to show what was meant by the term. What's next, you're gonna call out your friends for saying "it's hotter than hell?" and make them prove that it is, in fact, hotter than hell?

The fact that you chose to try to make a political point out of it (not sure what point you were making since both Bush and Clinton qualify) just proves what kind of an amateur you are.

Get over yourself.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 8:16 AM on April 18, 2005


Talk about moving the goalposts.
Talk about not getting it.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:19 AM on April 18, 2005


The new police force is largely untrained, frequently unreliable, and all too ready to abuse civilians. How can U.S. troops hand over control?

The Bush Administration and senior military commanders have suggested in recent days that the training of Iraqi security forces -- one of the linchpins of America's exit strategy -- is going so well that significant troop reductions may be possible by early next year. On Apr. 12, during a surprise visit to Baghdad, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld talked up the progress the security forces are making. His position echoed early remarks by General George Casey Jr., the top U.S. commander in Iraq, about substantial drawdowns in U.S. forces by spring of next year. Later that day, President George W. Bush told soldiers at Fort Hood, Tex., that "Iraqi forces are becoming more self-reliant."

Nonetheless, while the Iraqi army seems to be getting up to speed, the training of the 142,000-member police force -- about half the total security forces supposedly needed -- is moving more slowly and fraught with bigger problems than reports by U.S. officials might suggest.

On Apr. 4, insurgents kidnapped a senior Iraqi police official in broad daylight. A bomb near Kirkuk killed at least nine police officers on Apr. 14. According to U.S. government data, 69% of the 98,000-soldier Iraqi army has been trained and equipped. But only 39% of the national police force of 142,000 is ready for duty. And BusinessWeek Online has learned that the number of actual police may drop sharply once an ongoing head count finishes...

Most disturbing, in the last half of 2004 Iraqi police have killed political opponents, falsely arrested people to extort money, and systematically raped and tortured female prisoners, according to a February, 2005, State Dept. report on Iraq's human rights record. In one of the worst examples, police in Basra reported last December that officers in the Internal Affairs Unit were involved in the slaughter of 10 Baath Party members. Iraq's Human Rights Minister, Bakhtiar Amin, says it will be hard to teach democratic policing because torture and other human rights abuses were "learned behavior."

In Iraq, Security in Name Only

posted by y2karl at 9:22 AM on April 18, 2005


y2karl: I don't always have the time to read your Iraq posts, but when I do, I'm usually rewarded with links to some substantive information and what seems to be a realistic analysis of what is going on. Thank you for pointing me to these articles.
posted by marxchivist at 10:03 AM on April 18, 2005


Learn the difference between "lying" and "making a point."

I know the difference very well, thank you. And give me a break -- there's nothing in common between a friend saying "it's hotter than hell" and someone who's contributed virtually nothing to this site distorting the posting record of one of the best posters here in order to make a wrongheaded point. I note that you didn't choose to address any of the other things I brought up, like the uselessness of pointing out that "y2karl makes more Iraq/"War on Terror" posts than anybody else" and the importance of the subject, so I'll assume you're admitting abject defeat in the realm of substance. And as for this:

The fact that you chose to try to make a political point out of it (not sure what point you were making since both Bush and Clinton qualify) just proves what kind of an amateur you are.

Yes, both Bush and Clinton qualify. Guess what: I despise both of them! The fact that you can't conceive of anyone not basing their points on blind partisanship proves what kind of a knucklehead you are -- a kind all too common around here, alas.

Now go out there and make some good posts, and quit pissing on other peoples'.
posted by languagehat at 10:18 AM on April 18, 2005


Now go out there and make some good posts, and quit pissing on other peoples'

I'd rather make no post at all then 50 of the same harping posts in a row. If you want I'd be happy to post about my pet issue once a week.

someone who's contributed virtually nothing to this site

Eat me.

so I'll assume you're admitting abject defeat in the realm of substance

Or I figured that I'd be adult and not continue a pissing fight in the blue. Since you won't let it rest, let's have at.

1 - I'm very proud that you despise both Clinton and Bush. So do I. We have that in common. I'm sorry for accusing you of being partisan, it's just a natural twitch around here given the reactions to jenleigh's post that are either "why do you hate America" or "you must be a Republican for even thinking that the US isn't all 100% wrong"

2 - Yes, somebody must be the one who posts the most about Iraq. You're right, that's the nature of the words "the most". But when somebody is so far-and-away ahead then there might be a problem. We've hashed this out in the grey several times (I was going to say "a hundred", but I don't want to get called out on that either) and it just bears repeating that some people like to post about the same thing over and over again (again, not going to put a number on it for fear of being forced to give a tally).

But I don't go into posts I'm not interested in to piss on them, I just ignore them

If you'll note, I didn't post a one-line response. I posted a four-paragraph thoughtful commentary about y2karl's posting habits. If you want to talk about pissing then go yell at I EAT TAPES. Maybe if you don't like somebody's comments you can ignore them instead of pissing on them? Seems a lot easier to me.

I think Iraq is the number-one story of the last few years

That's exactly my point. I have some things that I think are absolutely the most important story of the last few years, and that I very strongly feel need change and more attention. However, I choose to keep them to myself instead of boring a large number of people by repeating them ab infitum. My general rule is that if my goal in making an FPP is to change somebody's mind then it's not going to be a good FPP. That's why I haven't posted more - it's called "restraint."

I think that's especially important in a topic like Iraq where everybody who is going to have an opinion is already pretty set. I mean, think about my abortion-protester example again. To them it is absolutely a matter of life-and-death that a million or so babies are being killed every year. It's the top story of the last decade for them. But, that doesn't mean that they are any less of a bore or a drag on the party when they bring it up frequently.

distorting the posting record

I posted a link to the posting record. I think that pretty well proves that I wasn't trying to distort as much as to make a dramatic point. Call me a drama queen if you will (actually, don't), but heaven forbid if I use "every day" to mean "frequently" or "it seems like every day." The fact that I posted a link whereby users could check for themselves if they agreed or not with that characterization pretty well proves that I meant it in a non-literal sense. I know that the Internet doesn't carry nuance well and I'm not blaming you for misinterpreting it, but I want to set the record straight here.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 10:45 AM on April 18, 2005


In the future I'd appreciate it Y2karl if you were to put in your "alt" field only enough text that one can read in one pass. You put a small book in them for this FPP and most people will not bother trying to read more than ten or fifteen words in an alt. That's frivolous.

I had added a five paragraph rundown of my opinion on the whole Iraq thing and why the civilized world insists on either converting or conquering the uncivilized world and that this has been happening since before ancient Rome. I just deleted all that bull shit and will instead replace it with this:

The Princess Bride is one of the greatest movies of all time. If you haven't seen it, you really should see it. If you have, see it again. You'll feel better.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:06 AM on April 18, 2005


I didn't post a one-line response. I posted a four-paragraph thoughtful commentary about y2karl's posting habits.

Exactly. This is not the place for commentary, thoughtful or otherwise, about y2karl's posting habits. This is the place for discussion of y2karl's links. If you'd rather discuss posting habits, go to MetaTalk, that's what it's for. But the subject has been done to death in MetaTalk, you say? Alas, too true. Why, there hardly seems any point in bringing it up again, does there? Some people like his posts, others don't, he's not going to change, get over it.

My general rule is that if my goal in making an FPP is to change somebody's mind then it's not going to be a good FPP.

And a good rule it is. But, see, it's your assumption that y2karl's goal is to change somebody's mind. My assumption is that he's trying to make a good post: to provide a link to important information most people haven't seen. In my opinion, he's done just that. Frankly, I find it hard to understand why you disagree, given that you don't seem to disagree about the importance of Iraq; just to spell it out, he's not simply posting variants of the same link over and over (which is what your complaint seems to imply), he's providing fresh information about a complex and ever-changing situation. You don't feel like reading about it today? Fine, don't read the link, skip the thread. But pissing in it, in however reasoned and thoughtful a fashion, is not a good response.

I'm sorry if I came off too snarky and ad-hom; you seem like a good sort. But I'm sick to death of people coming into y2karl's threads for the sole purpose of ranting about how much they hate y2karl's posts and wish he'd Get His Own Blog. You might want to pick a cause that doesn't get you confused with such people.
posted by languagehat at 11:19 AM on April 18, 2005


languagehat - good stuff, peace to you too. :) Next time we'll take it to MeTa.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:36 AM on April 18, 2005


I certainly don't care whether this post was supposed to change my mind. The first linked article was an excellent read. I am glad Mefi is lucky enough to have such a steady stream of excellent links on Iraq. You could even describe it as 'the best of the internet' or something like that.
posted by apodo at 12:27 PM on April 18, 2005


My assumption is that he's trying to make a good post: to provide a link to important information most people haven't seen.

This is my assumption as well.

I certainly don't care whether this post was supposed to change my mind.

It was not supposed to change your mind.

No statement was made and no opinion was expressed in the making of this post. All text is from the links. Information was provided. The topic is of interest.
posted by y2karl at 3:05 PM on April 18, 2005


TDDL reveals to us one of the great challenges of being a Republican troll; it's so difficult to tell between mere educated individuals and your political opponents.
posted by mek at 11:29 PM on April 18, 2005


TDDL reveals to us one of the great challenges of being a Republican troll; it's so difficult to tell between mere educated individuals and your political opponents.

I voted democrat, wiseass. Stop calling everybody who doesn't agree with you a republican troll. Talk about a strawman.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:15 AM on April 19, 2005


thedevildancedlightly writes "I voted democrat, wiseass."

Joe-mentum Lieberman, right?
posted by orthogonality at 2:25 PM on April 19, 2005


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