AP Photograph.


Good luck to the people of Iraq as they vote in their first elections since the fall of Saddam Hussein. As the historic moment approaches, here’s my thoughts on what constitutes a successful outcome:

  1. A 50% or better voter turnout in all three regions of Iraq.
  2. Few problems with the vote. I realize this is asking a lot with the violence that’s taking place, but if international observers say that the final results are as trustworthy as, say, Ukraine’s second election, that’s good news.
  3. Even if option 1 doesn’t quite come about, a ramping down of the violence and a sense that the majority of Iraqis in all three regions of Iraq accept the results will, in my opinion, earn this operation the rank of qualified success.

If voter turnout is strong in areas of Iraq, but the country still falls into civil war afterwards, the operation to turn Iraq into a free, stable and democratic state has not been a success. Just so we’re clear.

Update 09:32 Sunday: Well, there’s one unofficial international observer in Bagdhad, at least. Chris Albritton of Back to Iraq is monitoring the vote and posting updates throughout the day. So far, so good.

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