[lit-ideas] Re: The winner has already been selected?

  • From: "Phil Enns" <phil.enns@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 3 Dec 2004 15:06:05 -0500

Judy Evans wrote:

"why is the election of someone like Al-Zarqawi "silly"?  Because it is
unthinkable. Why is it unthinkable? Because of the range of candidates who
will be deemed acceptable both internally and (let's be polite)
"internationally".  Why will they be deemed unacceptable?  Because of the
"political climate" that will surround the election, because of what we call
"agenda-setting", "mobilization of bias", "non-decisions" and "the politics
of anticipated reaction". Admittedly we political scientists analyse a world
that now and then plays dirty pool and elects someone like Al-Zarkawi. But
so far, so unlikely."

The suggestion that Al-Zarqawi would be elected is silly because he is not
an Iraqi.  But for the sake of discussion lets assume that he is.  As Judy
correctly points out, the political climate makes it virtually impossible
for Al-Zarqawi to be elected.  The obvious problem would be that since most
Iraqis would like to see Al-Zarqawi dead, he wouldn't make it alive to
election day.  Furthermore, his base of supporters tend to vote with their

But a more important point is that whoever is elected will have to have
broad appeal, something extremists usually lack.  And once elected, the
individual will have to deal with the facts on the ground, namely over
150,000 coalition soldiers in the country, no viable army or police force
and a deeply divided and suspicious population.  A successful politician
will therefore have to be a skilled mediator.  Again, Al-Zarqawi would be
ruled out.

I don't think it makes sense to talk about the 'wrong' politician being
elected.  However, I do think it reasonable to be concerned that a bad or
poor politician will be elected, and this has nothing to do with the US but
with the political climate of Iraq.


Phil Enns
Toronto, ON

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