"Every purple finger is a bullet in the chest of terrorism."
Quote of the day - by the Iraqi man who helped save Private Jessica Lynch. (HT: Beth Topaz)
The enthusiasm today around the Iraqi Headquarters was contagious. As the sun came up, the place was buzzing again with activity. We rolled out two large convoys to go take the Senior Staff and Soldiers to check on the security status of the polling centers in our sectors. While they were there, several of them voted, since they had not done so during the past few days. A few of the Iraqi Officers laughed when I inspected their fingertips for purple ink when they returned to the TOC. It was a quiet day for the most part, as expected. There were no Iraqi or American Soldiers hurt due to enemy action. A few civilians were wounded, unfortunately, but all in all, the day was a great success. Turnout appeared to be the strongest of any election yet.
As for the predictions that I mentioned, they are completely anecdotal and have no basis in any standardized polling or scientific method. I have, however, heard the same things enough times to make me think that there might be something to what I am hearing. List number 731, that of former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, should have a relatively strong showing – much better than a year ago. His name has been mentioned frequently by both Iraqi Soldiers and civilians. The two Shia religious parties that did so well in the interim government elections, SCIRI and Dawa, will not do as well as they did last time. They will still have a strong showing, but they will probably lose ground in the Parliament compared to what the have had over the past year. The Kurdish Coalition, largely ethnic and regionally based will probably do the same as they did in the last election and remain the bloc that someone must partner with in order to form a majority coalition. For now, the Iraqi Soldiers are looking forward to a well earned day off, some of them anyway. First, however, ballots need to be secured, transported and counted. I will add another photo gallery in the next few days – Inshallah…