Voting in Iraq - a Soldiers Viewpoint

Well the constitutional referendum is in the past. It was quiet here
with not much in the way of problems. It was a surreal day "out there".
Normally crowded market places were deserted. People were walking
everywhere in the rural areas where there usually is no one but

Of note, there was not a single female voter in this Province.
The voting here did not match up with the rest of the country. More
participation than last year but less than 5% turn out. We have not
heard which way the voting went.

Why did no one vote here? Many reasons
probably, Sunnis feel left out, insurgents threaten to kill voters, the
population feels the American occupation (their words)is driving and
controlling the whole process, the polling sites were kept secret until
two days before the election, and many people just don't care(just like
in the US). Despite the lack of turn out and the overall bad attitude
of this area, there was a sense of something good happening on the day.
People waved at us and thanked us for protecting the polling sites.
People seemed happy to be out and not threatened by speaking with us.
Soldiers, US and Iraqi, felt like they were doing something worthwhile
at least for the day.

What happens now? We go back to the patrolling
and searching for the bad guys. There are a lot more now, because many
came in pre-election and we had to focus on protecting/preparing polling
sites which meant the insurgents could move in other areas more freely.
We will also expect to see more fighting among the insurgent groups as
the local thugs look to push the foreign fighters out of the area. We
recently got some 30-40 replacements in the battalion, so we are close
to full strength.

I was asked to comment on Bush's sit down with US
soldiers in Iraq. All I can say(because I did not see it) is that
everyone here knew ahead of time it was scripted and the soldiers were
pre-selected. That was not a secret here. It was what we call a "dog and
pony show". I am not sure if that saying is used outside the military.
There is not much that is unscripted after the enlisted soldier in
Kuwait hit Mr Rumsfeld with the surprise question about armored

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