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Iraq Election a Go-Go

Reported by Ellen - January 14, 2005

Once again, FOX News is on hand to cheerlead the US invasion of Iraq. Unfortunately, this time, even FOX's best efforts can't make the upcoming Iraqi election look good. It can only paint it as the lesser of two evils.

In a FOXNews.com article entitled, Despite Challenges, Iraq Elections A Go, FOX admits that 4 out of Iraq's 18 provinces are "dangerous for voters." According to FOX, 25% of Iraq's population lives in those four provinces. It's a pretty sobering thought that up to a quarter of the people we "liberated" and brought "democracy" to, will be unable to vote because of the instability we created. But that point either escaped FOX News or was deemed unnewsworthy because nothing of the sort is mentioned in the piece.

Instead, we learn that delaying the election won't help. According to unnamed administration officials, "changing the date is pointless because it would suggest terrorists were able to influence the process and any date in the near future wouldn't significantly change the degree of security in those areas." In other words, there's no improvement in sight. Apparently, that point is not newsworthy either.

Ever optimistic when it comes to the Bush administration, FOX is quick to point out the pluses:

Administration officials say holding the election will also pave the way for a withdrawing some U.S. troops. Officials project a timeline for 2005 that includes an election on Jan. 30, results expected by Feb. 15 and a government in place by March 1. Officials say they are hopeful that a constitution will be in place by October, and once it's ratified, new elections can be held in December for a permanent assembly bound by the constitution. Throughout that timeframe, more Iraqi security forces will become trained as the government gets situated. That should help lead to a reduction in American boots on the ground in Iraq.

The only non-administration person quoted in the article is "Security and terrorism analyst Edward Turzanski" who, I learned via Google, is affiliated with the right-wing Foreign Policy Research Institute. Not surprisingly, he backed up the Bush plan for holding the elections because to do otherwise would "reward the terrorists and encourage more terrorism." (Comment: It's easy for him to say. He doesn't have to risk his life to vote and avoid "rewarding" the terrorists.)

Had FOX News bothered to look for an opposing opinion to bear out its "fair and balanced" mantra, it could have looked no further than Papa Bush's National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft and Larry Dimond, former senior adviser for the now-disbanded, U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. According to Scowcroft, the elections "won't be a promising transformation, and it has great potential for deepening the conflict. We may be seeing incipient civil war at this time." Dimond told the Washington Post, elections now would "grease the slide to civil war." Dimond called Bush "a very stubborn man," and said there is "a fine line between Churchillian resolve and self-defeating obstinacy, and I think he's going over the line on this."

Last week, Bush insisted the elections will be "an incredibly hopeful experience." The folks at FOX News don't seem quite that hopeful - but they're clearly putting on their best game face for him.

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