Tuesday, February 01, 2005

WHY DID IRAQIS VOTE, and in such large numbers? They voted because it was the first time in most of their lives that they could vote. They voted because under Saddam Hussein, the only choices were "yes" and "yes."

Many Iraqis may very well have voted because they feared losing their food supplies if they did not. Iraqi voters were registered through their food ration cards, which they were issued under the UN Oil for Food program. There is no national census in Iraq, so interim government officials used the ration cards as proof of voters' ages and citizenship.

And of course Iraqis voted because they felt it was the best, and perhaps the only, way to end the U.S. occupation. If the Bush administration chooses to ignore this truth, and uses the election results as a sign that Iraqis approve of the occupation and want Americans to stay, the results could be catastrophic: much more violence, and very little freedom and democracy.

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