Saturday, October 15, 2005

Playing it straight

What I've seen of "Big" media's coverage of the Iraqi vote so far is encouraging. The news itself is very encouraging and the fact that folks are playing it straight, even moreso! Here's the basics:

Iraq's deeply divided Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds voted on a new constitution at heavily guarded polling stations Saturday in a referendum largely free of insurgent violence and aimed at establishing democracy after decades of Saddam Hussein's repressive rule.

In the south, Shiite women in head-to-toe veils and men emerged from the poll stations flashing victory signs with fingers stained with violet ink, apparently responding in mass to the call by their top cleric to support the charter.

But in Sunni regions — both in Baghdad and several key heavily Sunni provinces — the surprisingly high turnout seemed to consist largely of Iraqis voting "no" because of fears the charter would set in stone the Shiite domination they fear.

"The constitution is a sign of civilization," Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari after casting one of the first ballots in Baghdad after Iraq's polls opened at 7 a.m. "We consider this a day of great achievement. This constitution has come after heavy sacrifices. It is a new birth."

A day that U.S. and Iraqi leaders feared could turn bloody turned out to be the most peaceful in months.

Voter turnout appears high and most especially, the Sunni's who sat out January's election have showed up in good numbers this time around. Even should they have turned out to vote 'no' en masse, the fact that they showed up at all to take ownership of the process is good news!

Yesterday's headline-grabbing blackout appears to have had zero effect on, well, anything. Yet again Iraqi citizens have sent a signal to those who would keep them under the thumb of tyrannical Islamic fundamentalism that they want nothing of it.

On CNN this morning, Christiane Amanpour filed a report in which she directly stated that Iraqi citizens told her they were voting because they were tired of the violence. Tired of the violence and wanting to become part of the political process.

Following that report in the studio, the military analyst told the CNN Live Saturday host in no uncertain terms that the vote appears to be a defeat for the insurgents. One vote will not destroy them, but it shows yet again that the citizenry isn't wanting what they're selling.

Such reporting was a welcome change for these eyes when it comes to CNN's coverage of anything having to do with Iraq.

Other perspectives: Mil-blogger Chester files this live-blog entry compiled over who-knows-how-many pots of coffee and hours of CNN video. Tons of links to stories new and old for additional viewpoints.

BareKnucklePolitics also posts a plethora of links and information compiled overnight: Official: More than 61% of registered Iraqis have cast ballots.

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