Elections in Iraq should proceed as scheduled

A. J. Atchue

In the wake of President Bush’s re-election victory on Nov. 2, a good percentage of media coverage has shifted away from the situation in Iraq to matters at home, such as the turnover in Bush’s cabinet and the intelligence reform bill. While those are certainly important stories, we must remember that events are currently unfolding in Iraq that will determine the direction of our presence there in the coming years.

Namely, Iraq is scheduled to hold its first democratic elections on Jan. 30. It is absolutely imperative that the elections proceed as scheduled and unimpaired on that date. However, there have been calls by officials in both Iraq and the United States to postpone the date until security at the polls can be ensured. I believe that is the wrong solution for a couple reasons.

Number one, frankly, security at the polls in Iraq can never be ensured. Between the insurgents and terrorists there (as if there’s a difference), violence exists. Simply pushing the date back is not going to make the violence disappear. What could end the violence is Iraq showing that it is committed to following this process to a democratic government.

That brings me to my other point, which is related. Postponing the elections would be a victory for the insurgents in Iraq. They want nothing more than to see these elections become a failure, and for democracy to fail in Iraq. Thus, they are keeping up the violence in an effort to dismantle the elections. Delaying the voting at this point would bring about a devastating boost in the morale of the insurgents trying to wreak havoc on anything remotely positive in Iraq.

To his credit, Bush is adamantly against a postponement. That the president was even able to win re-election despite the controversy surrounding Iraq is a testament to Americans’ trust in him. Everyone involved would be wise to trust Bush here and hold the Iraq elections as scheduled on Jan. 30.