Accounting Firm of Harris & Blackwell to Count Iraq Votes

It sure would seem that would be the only way the President could say with his usual cocksure certitude that the new Iraqi government would not ask American occupation forces to leave and take their heavy jackboot off of the chest of Iraq. Nonetheless, the President assured the Grey Lady that American forces, if asked by a new Iraqi government the President offered was “sovereign” and “back on its feet”, American forces would, in fact, leave.
I suppose that this means the President has a pretty good handle on likely numbers and the identities of the expected winners, the Sistani backed Shiite party (which leans toward Iran) and the Allawi backed Shiite party (which leans toward the House of Saud), which is expected to come in second (and Allawi may get to stay on as Premier). Both, it would seem, are unlikely to invite the kind of chaos which would undermine their newfound power by telling the Americans to get lost. (Sunnis, around 20% of Iraq, are expected to come out at the rate of no more than 1 in 4, guaranteeing their marginalization and resentment, for which doubtless violent revenge will be taken; of course, if they do better than expected, they might favor telling the Americans to get lost.) Let’s just say that in any “election” where people selected by the Bush Administration have set up the balloting and counting… don’t expect the unexpected.
Of course, to quote Don Rumsfeld, “freedom is messy”. Or was it democracy? It’s always possible that the national list elections will result in a series of crazy quilt coalitions, where the front-running parties we think we can deal with could be outgunned by just the right coalition of others…
The only thing we know for certain is that this will be one of the few elections where both turnout and body count will be measured, and exit pollsters had best have flak jackets at a minimum.
They’re a little too modest to celebrate in public, but some ayatollahs in Iran, methinks, are just a tad giddy about the whole thing… And good old Ahmed Chalabi, I understand, has already broken out the champagne, hummus and shawarma…