Saturday, October 15, 2005

And now the counting

The polls have closed in Iraq. Thankfully, insurgent attacks designed to disrupt the election were apparently few and ineffectual. Now we get to see which way things went, and wait to see how they go.

I've already predicted that the constitution will be ratified whether the votes justify it or not -- that the US has too much riding on the outcome to leave it up to the caprice of the electorate -- but I could be wrong.

If it fails, the outcome is a foregone conclusion: The legs of legitimacy are cut out from under the current government and the US occupation; the de facto state of civil war escalates and the US is left without a plausible claim of any kind of "victory" to soothe the embarrassment of the very real defeat it has suffered in Iraq. If it succeeds, then who knows? The insurgency won't stop, of course, but it may begin to lose the popular support it requires to operate effectively and the US may be able to salvage a little bit of dignity.

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