I'm aware that this sounds like I'm just plain negative about Iraq's election, that because my candidate lost the US election, my antiwar protests have gone unheeded, and my call for Bush's ouster in some lawful way aren't going to happen, I refuse to acknowledge even the titular legitimacy of the polling in Iraq.
Okay, I admit it. My bias is strong to call the election in Iraq a sham, even to deem the courage of the voters who dodged bullets to get to the polls an exercise in infuriated self-interest, not freedom. But hear this: There are elections and there are elections. The Soviet Union had elections for seven decades, Germany had elections three decades, the United States had elections in 2000 and 2004, and each year scores of "democracies" hold elections, including Cuba and Egypt and, for God's sake, Iran, and we--the Bushies--deem them frauds.
Now, I wasn't "on the ground" (Oh, how I hate that phrase!) in Iraq, but here's somebody who was, and his take on this "election" is this: You can't have democracy when foreign troops occupy all roads, all access, to the polling places. What that amounts to is a Vichy government, able to function only at the sufferance of the occupiers.
That may be the Bushies' definition of democracy--it certainly seems to be lately in this country--but it sure as hell ain't mine.