The Importance of Free Elections

Bush: “In January 2005, more than eight million Iraqi men and women voted in elections that were free and fair — and took place on time.”

Fact: The White House “resisted the idea of holding elections [in January] and only succumbed under pressure from Iraq’s most powerful cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani.” Iraq expert Juan Cole charges, “It was Sistani who demanded one-person, one-vote elections. So to the extent it’s a victory, it’s a victory for Iraqis. The Americans were maneuvered into having to go along with it.”