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Emerging democracies.

A source of wonder, my boy Bush. "Our goal in Iraq," says he, "is victory." Representative John Murtha, showing a somewhat firmer grasp of reality, said, "The only people who want us in Iraq are Iran and Al Qaeda."

It's no longer a question of "What were they thinking?" but "What planet are they on?"

In March, Shiites and Sunnis were killing one another in the streets of Baghdad. The Iraqi parliament could barely convene. And the U.S. started a huge bombing campaign. To all this, Bush said, "By their response over the past two weeks, Iraqis have shown the world that they want a future of freedom and peace."

So much for the most famous photo-op of the war, Bush on an aircraft carrier out of San Diego saying, "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed." Three years later, the planes roared out of Baghdad to bomb the shit out of some Sunni villages sixty miles north.

Thinking about the collateral damage in this case just makes you want to lay your head down and moan. There is no way to conduct a bombing campaign in a village. There are no targets except for little houses and the little houses next to them.

"Air war" and Iraq do not fit together. We no longer want to destroy the country's infrastructure; we're paying good money to try to rebuild it. Who are we punishing here?

This is not like Serbia, where we can aim for bridges and railroads. There's nothing to aim at but people.

And when we kill a lot more people, we're going to make a lot more insurgents. This is insane.

For months the media have been reporting that the Air Force is particularly uncomfortable with the idea of a bombing campaign because it doesn't want the Iraqis calling in and positioning the strikes. The Air Force seems to think Iraqis will take advantage of the situation to call in hits on their sectarian opponents. Amaze us, wouldn't it?

Meanwhile, we have the new Bush "strategery" plan, same as the old one. This theoretically commits us to support emerging democracies, which is grand when they emerge, but forcing them out is not working well.

I do like the idea of supporting democracy however, and recommend we try it here in the U. S. of A. A good place to start: Do an end-around the Electoral College. For those who aren't feeling quite up to tackling world peace or who live in red states where it's hard to find a demo for impeaching Bush, I recommend this effort to instruct each state's electors to vote for whichever candidate gets the most popular vote.

The great thing about making electoral law as perfect as we can is that it's the ultimate what-goes-around-comes-around. This is a project your R's and your D's can join on. Just like the farmers and the cowboys, do-si-do-ing up a storm.

The most egregious instance of the stupidity of the Electoral College was in 2000, and it helped the R's. But look at 2004. A switch of 60,000 votes in Ohio would have thrown the entire election to John

Kerry, despite the fact that George Bush was three million votes ahead nationwide. (And believe me, a lot of people think 60,000 votes in Ohio were switched, between the voting machines, the crazy partisan secretary of state, and the unconscionable waiting lines in Democratic voting areas.)

Another potentially hopeful development is the Texas redistricting case. True, if the Supreme Court reverses the appalling Texas plan, the person most likely to benefit is the one who replaces Tom DeLay. That district would get back a slew of Republican voters DeLay gave away when he was riding high.

C'est la vie. That's what happens when you support emerging democracies, like the U.S.A.

Molly Ivins writes in this space every month. Her latest book is "Who Let the Dogs In?"
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Title Annotation:Small Favors; Iraq
Author:Ivins, Molly
Publication:The Progressive
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2006
Words:669
Previous Article:Moral panic.
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