Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Not gonna do it

I’m gonna wait a couple of weeks before I try to sort out the Iraqi provincial elections. When I was in Baghdad in November, an American official preparing for this period said that the key wouldn’t be the run-up to the elections or the vote itself, but the month or two afterward, when winners and ...

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An Iraqi man points his ink-stained finger after voting in the provincial elections in the southern city of Najaf, 160 kms from the capital Baghdad on January 31 2009. Iraqis were voting in provincial elections in a crucial test for a nation struggling to emerge from years of sectarian strife and strengthen its fledgling democracy. Security for the country's first ballot since 2005 was extremely tight with Iraqi police and military deployed in strength as part of ramped-up measures aimed at preventing militant attacks. AFP PHOTO / QASSEM ZEIN (Photo credit should read QASSEM ZEIN/AFP/Getty Images)

I’m gonna wait a couple of weeks before I try to sort out the Iraqi provincial elections. When I was in Baghdad in November, an American official preparing for this period said that the key wouldn’t be the run-up to the elections or the vote itself, but the month or two afterward, when winners and losers became clear. The two key questions, he said, were whether those who lost power would give it up and those who gained power would be able to execute it well.

Why wait? Because, unlike my former colleagues in the newspaper racket, I can.

QASSEM ZEIN/AFP/Getty Images

I’m gonna wait a couple of weeks before I try to sort out the Iraqi provincial elections. When I was in Baghdad in November, an American official preparing for this period said that the key wouldn’t be the run-up to the elections or the vote itself, but the month or two afterward, when winners and losers became clear. The two key questions, he said, were whether those who lost power would give it up and those who gained power would be able to execute it well.

Why wait? Because, unlike my former colleagues in the newspaper racket, I can.

QASSEM ZEIN/AFP/Getty Images

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1
Tag: Iraq

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