In Iraq, life is cheap. This is a day of death for the U.S. troops and for the Iraqis, too:
Thirty-one U.S. troops died in a helicopter crash in Iraq and five more were killed in insurgent attacks Wednesday, the deadliest day for American forces since they invaded the country 22 months ago.
Rebels waging a campaign to wreck Sunday's landmark elections, a cornerstone of U.S. policy, also killed 25 Iraqis in a string of suicide bombings and raids.
A group led by al Qaeda's leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, which has been behind most of the worst attacks in the run-up to the ballot, warned voters to stay away from the "infidel election centers."
It said they would have only themselves to blame for the consequences if they voted. President Bush urged Iraqis to "defy the terrorists" and go to the polls in large numbers.
Bush also said, as expected, that the terrorists are afraid of a free society and that's why they try to stop people from voting. Actually, the terrorists appear to have almost total freedom to do whatever they wish right now.
And what will the new "free society of Iraq" look like after the elections? I think that it will look a lot like Iran:
Iraq's Shi'ites strongly support the elections. A list of candidates dominated by Shi'ite Islamists and drawn up with the guidance of revered cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is expected to win the most votes, cementing their newfound political power.
A society where women will have very little say over anything. This is of course the problem with democracy in general: without the institutions and the education that are needed and without the safeguards that protect minorities democracy is no miracle solution to anything. - I foresaw the rise of a theocracy in Iraq, and that was one of the reasons why I was so strongly opposed to the war in the first place. Iraq was one of the few places in the region where women had fairly good legal rights. But all that will soon be history, and it will take several generations before the situation can be corrected. Much unnecessary suffering, and we are at least partly to blame for that.
Isn't it sad how we get used to this dying? Day after day the news tell us how many died in Iraq, and after a while one just notes and goes on.