A lot of ifs

An Iraqi voter in the USA, 28 January 2005
If people of good will turn out to vote in large numbers. If courageous officials and volunteers can see election day through without chaos or fraud or a bloodbath. If candidates are not assassinated en masse once elected. If the Americans (and the British) can be trusted not to drop the Iraqi people like a stone in the post-election mess.

If ideologues on either side of the Atlantic (but mainly over there) can contain their infantile unipolar ardour and stay out of Iran (and Syria and North Korea…). If Iraq doesn’t break into half-a-dozen pieces and go the way of Somalia or the Sudan. If the insurgents and opportunists and demagogues can be shown the value of a working democratic culture before they wreck the country. If the electricity and the water and the roads and the telephones and the schools work and keep working.

If Suni voters turn out at all. If the emerging Iraqi media can support the open debate necessary to grow a functioning post-Sadam society. If ordinary Iraqis have the heart to see the election as an opportunity to begin building a new society from scratch. If the elected representatives turn out to be good at the job (that’s a pretty important one). If a real economy can be grafted onto the wrecked Iraqi infrastructure…