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With Uneasiness in Iraq, January 30 Election Date Should be Reconsidered, Prof. Ken Bode Writes

December 3, 2004

December 3, 2004, Greencastle, Ind. - "In America, we grumble about long lines at the polls and voting machines with no paper trails. Our turnout hovers around a dismal 50 percent. In Iraq, concerns are different," Ken Bode writes in today's Indianapolis Star. DePauw's Eugene S. Pulliam Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism continues, "Voters at every polling place will pass by US or Iraqi soldiers in body armor brandishing automatic weapons. Insurgents have warned there will be violence against those who participate in the American-run election. Any voter in traditional Iraqi robes could be a suicide bomber; any vehicle might be carrying a car bomb. One election official said he expected to see as many as 50 people killed on Election Day, including US soldiers, Iraqi police and voters. Facing that situation, would you vote?"

Troop levels are being increased, Dr. Bode notes, however, "Even with stepped-up security, the minority Sunnis, who ran Iraq under Saddam Hussein, have called for a delay in the voting. Worried their followers will be too intimidated to vote, they want the election postponed for up to six months. Many Arab Kurd leaders agree; altogether they represent 17 parties. But the majority Shiite faction, which suffered under the Sunni Baathists and Hussein, wants the voting to go forward."

In his weekly op-ed column for the newspaper, Bode -- former senior political analyst for CNN and former host of PBS' Washington Week in Review -- concludes, "Registration lists are highly suspect... Security is so tenuous that some propose the voting be staggered over several weeks or held in the Sunni areas sometime later, presumably after the results from the rest of the country are known. It is a rocky road to Iraqi democracy. As the great architects of world democracy, we have not done well by the Iraqis. Certainly we would never allow an election like this to go forward in our own country."

The complete essay can be found at College News.org.

Ken Bode's other recent columns can be accessed here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. An internationally distributed Associated Press story on the retirement of Bode's longtime friend and former NBC colleague, Tom Brokaw, includes a quote from the professor. Read more here.

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