Iraqis passed through security checkpoints and razor-wire cordons to vote in provincial elections that are considered a crucial test of the nation's stability as US officials consider the pace of troop withdrawals.I guess it's a sign of progress when voters can complain about voter fraud. And there's the question of just why these newly minted pols are running:
Polls opened shortly after dawn after a step-by-step security clampdown across the country, including traffic bans in central Baghdad and other major cities and closure of border crossings and airports.
Voting ended 11 hours later with no reports of major violence, though voters at some polling stations complained that their names did not appear on lists. Balloting was extended for one hour to accommodate voters.
Stories about corruption and dreams of making billions boost many people who have not any idea about local government to nominate themselves to run elections for provincial councils, hoping that if they can reach posts in provincial councils maybe their dreams of power and wealth will come true. I do not want to be skeptical but I think that was behind the unexpected increase in numbers of candidates.From insurgents to political fat cats? Still, it's an enormous step forward as we prepare to leave:
American helicopters and drones may be in the sky, but Iraqi boots are on the ground. The Americans are already worried about securing the road to Kuwait because soon they will have to start hauling out much of the infrastructure they have built on bases across Iraq.Is there a tone of disappointment in the MSM over this? Maybe. After all, they no longer have this "quagmire" to kick around any more.
The end of an era comes not in a single moment, but looking back it has become evident that the mood has changed, power has shifted, the world is not the same.
In the United States, many Americans view the war as already over, even though more than 140,000 American soldiers remain on Iraqi soil.