Betty Bowers: Iraq the Vote
This is the text of the Betty Bowers Newsletter for September.
Iraq the Vote
by Mrs. Betty Bowers
Republican friends, I bring wonderful news. As one of my minions types this, Iraq is truly being made in America's image. Regrettably, it happens to be the image that the rest of the world has of us, not the product of our own, more idolatrous gaze into the mirror. Yes, thanks to a rather forceful nudge by the White House Office of Foreign Affairs & Reelection Stuff, Iraq is finally circling the drain with dizzying gusto. Remember: chaos is clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere; counterclockwise – and quicker -- in the Southern.
Apparently, only one thing can stop the dangerous state of a battleground like Iraq: a strenuously cheerful diagnosis in a battleground state like Ohio. And Mr. Bush's policy of Preemptive-Panglossianism appears to be working, dear Fox viewers. It's like I always say: when terrorists give you terror, make tiramisu! While niggling so-called facts nag otherwise, our President assures me that his speechwriters are one thousand percent confident that things are going perfectly and according to plan (presumably, if there were one) in Iraq.
Most Iraqis, I am told, believe that they are "better off" becoming violently ill from drinking filthy water while dodging bullets under the elusive promise of shifting democracy and inevitable specter of bloody civil war than they were being victimized by the clean water and electricity Saddam Hussein ruthlessly used to curry favor.
In striving to become more typically American, Baghdad has managed to make real a pandemic violence readers of Le Monde only imagine exists in New York City. Mr. Bush is certain to point this out as yet one more example of the obsequious Iraqis emulating us with bracing verve. Indeed, in pooh-poohing the triviality of American teenagers donating all of their blood to their President's reelection campaign, Brit Hume, of Fox News, our party's very own Pravda (bless them), pointed out that the deaths of American soldiers (upon which other networks so lugubriously report) simply serves to make Iraq more like California when it comes to murder.
But in striving to be fair and unbalanced, Mr. Hume sells Iraq's homicidal accomplishments short. Had Mr. Hume bothered to succumb to the tedium of statistical analysis and compared the number of American soldiers in Iraq with the population of California, he would have found that Arnold Schwarzenegger would have to encourage 50,750 murders a month to keep up with American causalities in Iraq (I'd love to see those billboards!). Once again, a hearty brava for the protégée showing up its proud mentor!
But, as President Bush might say, lots of death is just one barometer of success. In its zeal to emulate the country that thoughtfully cut its electricity bills by turning off the power and relandscaped with JDAM smart bombs (after all, a phoenix can only rise if someone selflessly takes time out of his day to torch its nest), Iraq is now determined to make its brand of democracy less Greek, more American. Clearly after careful study of Florida in 2000, Iraq's interim Prime Minister (and impish coconspirator in Mr. Bush's amusing parlor game wherein the President throws his speechwriter's voice) Ayad Allawi assured America last week that Iraqi elections will not be perfect.
Indeed, one might reasonably assume that Mr. Allawi has recruited Jeb Bush to ensure such a result. Just as Jeb industriously dispatches sheriffs to provide helpful suggestions to elderly black Floridians about the state's wealth of November activities that don't include voting, Mr. Allawi is laying the groundwork for conducting elections bereft of willful voters disinclined to see things Jeb's brother's way. Just as is the tradition in America's very own Tangelo Republic, Florida, swarthy swaths of eligible voters will be turned away at the door of Democracy by its intemperately finicky host in Iraq. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has acknowledged that a full 20 to 25 percent of Iraqis will not be counted in the elections because things are going so well in Iraq that any hanging chads would be caused by shrapnel.
The only thing that would make Iraq more like America is if partisan corporations tinkering with the software for electronic voting machines could rig the vote. But, I suppose, Iraq would need something Americans love even more than democracy for that: electrical power.