Speaking of elections, here is this welcome news:
With nationwide elections three months away, the senior United Nations official here says his office and the interim Iraqi government have assembled a list of nearly 14 million Iraqi voters, set up 550 voter registration sites around the country and hired 6,000 people to staff them.
Carlos Valenzuela, chief United Nations elections adviser here, said in an interview that the list of 13.9 million Iraqi voters, drawn from the country’s food’s distribution program, represented a tentative voter registration roll. It will form the basis of a more complete list of voters scheduled to be compiled when the official registration period begins on Nov. 1.
Mr. Valenzuela and Iraqi election officials said these developments marked significant steps toward holding the elections by Jan. 31, the deadline imposed by the Iraqi interim constitution and endorsed by the Americans.
Mr. Valenzuela said he believed the elections could indeed be held at that time and that although the United Nations team of 14 advisors is small, the large numbers of Iraqis involved in the process were helping the enterprise meet its schedule.
I am sure this will come as a surprise to the increasingly strident and equally cynical Andrew Sullivan, who the other day snarked:
Let’s review where we are. There aren’t even faintly enough U.N. troops to prepare for a legitimate election in January. The reason is the security situation. Will it improve enough by December to goad the U.N. into sending the hundreds of experts to make it work? The odds must be massively against it. The one major obstacle is Falluja, and a successful incursion there seems to be prompting some in the Sunni leadership to threaten to boycott the elections entirely. Could we simply police the elections ourselves? First question: with whom? We don’t even have enough troops to retake Falluja and keep Baghdad from blowing up. And if we did, our troops are now so unpopular they would themselves undermine popular legitimacy for the elections. What is Bush’s answer to this? He simply asserts that elections will take place. That’s it. Say after me: if Bush says it, it must be true. If Bush says it, it must be true. Feel better yet? This is what Republicans have to do every day. Faith, not facts. Faith, not facts. Believe … and you will be healed. All will be healed.
Nyah, nyah nyah. Today Sully notes:
At last, some positive news about the prospects for the elections.
I am getting a little tired of Andy’s breathless hysterics and he has become more prone to getting the vapors than getting his facts straight. I am glad there is some good news so the elections can continue on your timetable, Andy.
And, btw- Bush said it would happen.
What bugs me most about Sullivan these days is how deeply he’s convinced of his superiority to the rest of us.
When he was still giving Bush the benefit of the doubt, he was just being steadfast. That he believed Bush was basically doing the right thing, despite all the mistakes he (AS) had written about, just made him a more thoughtful supporter than us blind jingoists.
Now that he recognizes that Bush is Not To Be Trusted, he excoriates the rest of us: Clearly we don’t have his courage to face the fact that George Bush has failed us–us, personally!–so we all cling to the comforting fiction that George Bush is perfect, dammit; he has never made one mistake yet as captain and we could prove that geometrically if we wished to take the time.
I’ve read Sullivan for about 2 years and he seems to have changed his tune since Bush came out in favor of the Defense of Marriage Amendment. While I understand Sullivan’s anger over that issue, it’s sad that he’s let it cloud his objectivity on other matters.
AS disapproves of the Marriage Amendment? Fascinating…