Saturday, October 09, 2004

Election Day!

OK, it's the big historic first ever election in Afghanistan today. The USA president seized on that fact as an advertisement that his recipe for peace on earth is working. I'll be doing my best to find reports from some of the few journalist who actually have the courage to be there.

UN observers should also be there en masse, the USA State Department should have an official report, and television news coverage should be fairly detailed. This is a foretaste of what the coalition of the willing has planned for Iraq.

Regarding last night's town hall meeting, this was close to how I saw it too: -- but I wasn't quite so alarmed or disturbed as the author (William Rivers Pitt) because I don't see major decision making going through Bush's office most of the time (yes, depriving civilians of a clearly identifiable chief executive awkwardly distorts the office -- but then, the USA is but a mere shadow of itself these days, when moneymakers eclipse sensemakers. Not glory days, these).

Sounds like Afghan public is eager for free and fair elections. Women are getting into it. Lots of concern about illicit multiple voting ("vote early, vote often"). Not clear to me yet if the candidates' boycott is sour grapes, or well-based mistrust of the process. People in the USA have some experience with that one (re Florida in 2000, we know the mistrust was well-based).

Obviously Afghanistan would benefit from computerized rosters matched with personal ID, such that a voter's record gets checked off in the database. Staining a body part with ink is clearly an ad hoc measure, designed to make up for the absence of election-supporting infrastructure.