Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Elections are not the final step in democracy.

Why you're right:

1. Post-election Afghanistan still has a long way to go. Bush declared, "Freedom is beautiful" regarding the elections in Afghanistan, before even waiting to see whether or not the transition of power would be peaceful. While the Administration sees the elections as an end in themselves, Afghanistan still has many other obstacles to overcome in order to be a full democracy. Social and political life was repressed after the United States toppled the Taliban. The opium trade reached its highest levels ever this year, and is expected to grow in the near future. (Washington Post, USA Today)

2. Iraq reconstruction is lagging. While elections are planned to take place in January, the country will likely be still lacking in resources from reconstruction at that time. 14 countries and international organizations gave almost $1 billion to meet emergency needs in Iraq, but only 5% of that money has been disbursed on 2 projects. (Los Angeles Times)

3. Iraq’s direction after elections is uncertain. The United States must be prepared for Iraqis to choose a leader not to the liking of the U.S. 40% of Iraqis say they would be inclined to back a candidate with ties to a cleric or religious organization. Al-Sadr still has slightly greater name recognition than Prime Minister Allawi. Whether Iraq will turn toward a more stabile democracy or become more extreme is yet to be determined. (USA Today)

Why they’re wrong:

While the Bush administration and officials in Iraq have declared that elections will definitely happen on time, there are no guarantees. The security situation is not getting any better, with some of the most deadly attacks happening in the past couple weeks. Without proper security, elections will not happen. The administration cannot treat the elections as the ultimate goal, but must look at them as step in the process of democracy in Iraq.