The View From Inside
By Fin on 1/29/2005, 2:13pm PT  

Guest blogged by Fin

From Christopher Allbritton at his always insightful Back to Iraq

The security situation is unreal. No cars tomorrow—except those with special passes, which includes media, cops, political guys, etc. in short, if you're an insurgent and you hit a car tomorrow, you're bound to get someone vaguely important. Only five polling stations in Baghdad will allow cameras or other electronic gear, so bear that in mind when you look at photographs of the election.

I'll be out in the thick of it for a while at least... Out with my photographer and seeing what goes on. Not sure if I'll be driving or walking. That will depend on my security guys. This is a free election? Insurgent pamphlets are being distributed that anyone walking to a polling center is a target. Several centers have already been blown up. The fear is thick enough to cut with a knife. The Iraqi security forces—with their American patrons—have tanks at the end of my street. Old Soviet T-55s, but tanks, nonetheless.

He goes on to give a detailed prediction on how the vote percentages might play out and what might happen next. He finishes with this far from ringing endorsement of freedom's march:

Tomorrow is shaping up to be a big day. Lots of security issues, worries about the future and general anxiety. Will the elections be successful? What would constitute successful? To be honest, I don't know anymore. A high turnout would definitely help, but even that may not be enough if the Sunni don't come to the polls and can't be enticed into the constitutional process. One thing is certain though: The insurgency will continue unabated. Our sources in the insurgency—the Ba'athists and nationalists, not the jihadis—pledge that Sunday means nothing. As long as Iraq is occupied by Americans and their puppets, “brought in on the back of their tanks,” as the saying goes, the violence will continue. And since I don't see the government changing much, I don't see much changing in Iraq. The infrastructure will continue to limp along or deteriorate further, Americans and Iraqis will continue to die, in large numbers in the case of the latter. And Iraq will further disintegrate into a failed state.

Now, I may be surprised by the turns of events here. And Lord knows I've been wrong before. But from here in Baghdad, people are voting not because they want democracy, but because they're grasping onto anything they think will help. For Iraqis, hope is fleeting and life is short. This isn't optimism, it's desperation, and that's no basis for a democracy.

The whole post is worth a read.