On Oct. 15, Iraq took a significant step in establishing their independence by voting on their country’s constitution.
While many conservatives count this a major accomplishment for the Bush administration, the truth is that the United States will not know the effects of their “freedom spreading” tour even after all the of the votes have been counted.
In the United States, there is a cultural and political divide between Democrats and Republicans labeled as “red vs. blue states.” This divide pales in comparison to the religious divide that Iraq has with the Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds.
According to CNN.com, the good news coming out of Iraq is the acceptance of the new constitution by the resistant Sunnis.
In the meanwhile, the interim government has called for a recount because of the volume of “yes” and “no” votes coming from certain Sunni or Shiite dominated regions. The Bush administration should not hang their hats on their “accomplishments” in Iraq.
Just this past week, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice did not answer the question of when the United States was going to leave the country of Iraq.
The administration states that this will give the insurgency more ammunition to fight democracy and force the United States into frivolous timetables when we should be thinking about helping the people of Iraq. Yet, the Iraqi religious divide and hatred of Americans will not stop, even if we construct timetables.
This constitutional vote provides an opportunity for Iraqis to free themselves from the United States, as the vote does not alleviate many of the problems in Iraq.
The vote will not help make the Iraqi military any more competent or independent; many have guessed that it will be two years until Iraqis are ready, and that is optimistic.
For the Bush administration to have a success story in Iraq, for them to quiet the naysayers, they must start addressing the real issues in Iraq. A vote will not heal the hatred between factions in the country. Along with Rice’s appearance before the Senate last week, President Bush added his own “real” appearance before the military a little over two weeks ago.
Bush spoke with ten members of the Task Force Liberty in Tikrit through a teleconference, stating “I’m going to assure you of this: that so long as I’m the president, we’re never going to back down, we’re never going to give in, we’ll never accept anything less than total victory.”
Bush also spoke with the military about the condition in Iraq, and what the sentiment was regarding the then upcoming vote.
However, this dialogue between the President and the troops was a farce. Before the teleconference, Allison Barber, prepped the troops with scripted answers and rehearsed with them what was going to be said.
President Bush cannot expect to win the war in this scripted world of his; he must address the ugliness and complexities of it. This vote will not, as Bush thinks, slow down the insurgency and make them see that democracy is the best answer.
The Iraqi vote will not cure the resentment that Sunnis have for the United States and their occupation of Iraq.
Certainly, this is a step in the right direction for the Iraqi people; it is a step for democracy. Nonetheless, we have an administration that cannot see past the superficial problems in the Middle East.
Everyone who does not support Iraq’s democracy is automatically labeled a “bad guy.”
Strong nations are not built with such sophomoric thinking.