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[casi-analysis] Mark Danner on the Real Iraqi Election

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Tomgram: Mark Danner on the Real Iraqi Election
Last December, Mark Danner took a piercing look back at our Presidential election in Florida, "How 
Bush Really Won," printed up in the New York Review of Books and posted on line at Tomdispatch. In 
the aftermath of another election, closely linked to our own and to the well being of our 
President, Danner returns to the (post-)campaign trail -- this time in Baghdad. What follows, I 
feel certain, is the single clearest-eyed, best reported piece to date on Iraq's January election, 
whose end game is only now being played out in the installation of an ethnically and religiously 
divided, exceedingly weak Iraqi government. It will "rule" a riven, occupied country facing an 
explosive and resilient insurgency as well as independently controlled Shiite and Kurdish militias, 
and it will do so from inside Ba! ghdad's Green Zone; in other words, from within what is 
essentially a vast American military encampment.

I've seen no other piece that gives a more powerful sense of America's Baghdad as it exists today, 
of what exactly the election meant, of the degree to which it was fought out in the media as much 
before an American as an Iraqi audience, and of why the lack of Sunni voter turnout is sure to 
prove such a disabling factor in Iraq's future. As of this week, after two months of 
behind-the-scenes brokering, there will officially be an elected government in Iraq, but, as 
Gertrude Stein once said of Oakland, California, there may, in fact, be no there, there.

By the way, Mark Danner's new book, Torture and Truth: America, Abu Ghraib, and the War on Terror, 
is a chilling document that does much to explain the nature of the fix the Bush administration now 
finds itself in; but whatever you do, don't miss his election essay which is being distributed 
on-line by Tomdispatch thanks to the kindness of the editors of the New York Review of Books. It 
appears in the April 28th issue of that magazine. Tom

Iraq: The Real Election

By Mark Danner


"The essence of any insurgency, and its most decisive battle space, is the psychological. [It's] 
armed theater: you have protagonists on the stage but they're sending messages to wider audiences. 
Insurgency is about perceptions, beliefs, expectations, legitimacy, and will. Insurgency is not won 
by killing insurgents, not won by seizing territory; it's won by altering the psychological factors 
that are most relevant."[1]

Click here to read more of this dispatch.


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