"Mortar rounds also were lobbed toward the Green Zone, the heavily fortified area that is home to the U.S. Embassy and the prime minister's office. The attacks in Baghdad, which hit both Sunni and Shiite neighborhoods, seemed to have impacted voter turnout in the first few hours, as only small groups ventured to the polls. But soon, a steady flow of people drifted to voting centers.
"I voted despite this. I voted for democracy," said Abu Mustapha, 35, in Ur, waving his blue-ink dipped.
Polling numbers seemed to fall far short of Iraq's first election in January 2005, when the capital's voting centers were clogged with people. About 6,200 candidates are competing for 325 parliament seats.
Iraqis leaders hailed the vote as a milestone for Iraq. "This day means for us the completion of building the democracy, building the political process [and] using our citizens as a foundation for building the state process," said Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki." LA Times
Well. Well. Here we are again. Purple this time or something else, maybe green? There are bombs. There will be more bombs, but the electoral process will go on and it will produce something like an honest result.
Will that be an end to political violence in Iraq? No. The underlying divisions in civil society along the cleavage lines of sect, ethnicity and secularization are still too great for Iraq to subside in grumpy quiet without the emergence of a "strong man."
There will be violence, but it will be "moderate" violence in Iraqi terms. Why? By and large the locals want us gone and they know that the best way to get our combat forces out of the country is to hold the level of violence down to a "reasonable" level.
Will this background level of violence be enough to halt the withdrawal of US forces? It will not. We have become a debtor country in a massive way. That debt is growing rapidly and it threatens to crush us. We can not afford these wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and so they will end. Does that mean that we must give up the pursuit of our Islamic zealot enemies? No, but it does mean that we must stop trying to transform the Islamic world into something vaguely western and more comprehensible to most of us. pl