Do not postpone Iraqi elections

Going ahead with elections as scheduled is important to maintaining progress in Iraq.

Elections in Iraq, scheduled for Jan. 30, continue to be debated. The Sunnis and Kurds are convinced the elections should be postponed for six months because of the continuing problematic state in Iraq. Increasing violence and the possible threat of terrorist attacks on election day will make it hard for an election to take place, and, for the election to be a fair one. The Sunnis make up approximately 20 percent of the vote and have threatened to boycott the elections if held in January. If the elections proceed despite the boycott, the loss of the Sunni vote might greatly affect opinions of the legitimacy of the elected Iraqi government.

Elections taking place in January would also spark increasing numbers of U.S. forces in Iraq. U.S. military officials plan to raise the number of troops during this time to approximately 150,000, adding approximately 10,000 or 11,000 more troops. The added troops help secure some of the 9,000 polling places throughout the country. Though the extra reinforcements will help protect innocent Iraqi voters, it is unlikely that any number of troops would be able to create a completely safe environment for voters. It is projected that U.S. soldiers, members of the Iraqi regime and innocent voters will meet harm on election day.

President George W. Bush urges to continue with the elections as scheduled. There is great support for keeping elections on schedule by the United Nations, having an increasing presence in the country. Iraqi’s are preparing for the election by registering to vote.

Going forth with the previously scheduled elections is an important step in moving forward in Iraq. The longer the election date is pushed back in Iraq, the longer it will take to fully give Iraq back to its people. Conditions in Iraq might not be any safer in six months, when the Sunnis suggest the election should take place. The elections could be continually postponed due to the conditions in Iraq, which would likely earn U.S. forces more distrust from the Iraqi people. The chances of a “licked-clean” election in Iraq this January are slim, but in order for progress, an election must take place.

Coalition and Iraqi authorities should hold fast to their deadline and make sure the election is as safe and representative as possible in the interim.