A Date Which Will Live in History
From the front, another report from NO SHIT NEWS
Voter turnout was robust throughout the province, with preliminary reports indicating that a far higher percentage of the predominantly Sunni population participated in today’s elections than did in October’s Constitutional Referendum. Overall, there were few security incidents reported in the Province, and the murder and intimidation campaign that kept many people from the polls during previous votes never materialized.
“Today’s vote exceeded all expectations,” said Assistant Division Commander, Brig. Gen. James L. Williams. “What we saw today was the result of months of hard work by the Iraqi government, the US Ambassador and his staff, the international community, particularly the IECI and Iraqi and Coalition Forces. Most of all, it clearly demonstrates the resolve of the local Iraqi people to take their rightful place in the democratic process.”
In the provincial capital of Ramadi, where only several thousand citizens took part in the Referendum, tens of thousands of voters lined the streets to vote today. Residents were observed dancing, singing and waving the Iraqi flag in a rare display of national pride. Members of both the Iraqi Army and the Iraqi Police provided security throughout the city while Coalition Forces remained largely on the outskirts in the event they were needed for an emergency. It is still too early to tell what percentage of voters in the city actually voted, but the numbers are expected to be much higher than they were during the Referendum.
In Fallujah, where an estimated 90% of voters participated in October’s Referendum, voter turnout in today’s elections was similarly high. As in Ramadi, Coalition Forces turned over much of the responsibilities for securing the vote to Iraqi Security Forces. In Karmah, on the outskirts of Fallujah, a polling site that was bombed by insurgents yesterday was quickly repaired and operational by the time the polls opened today. There were no casualties reported in the incident.
Elsewhere in the province, in cities like Husaybah, Karabilah and Ubaydi, voter turnout was steady throughout the day. Until a few weeks ago, this area near the Syrian border was largely under the influence of al Qaeda in Iraq-led insurgents. Recent Iraqi and Coalition operations such as Steel Curtain and Iron Fist were instrumental in clearing these cities of insurgent fighters. The permanent security presence left behind in this region is seen as a crucial step towards preventing insurgents from establishing a stronghold in the area again.
“No one can look at what happened in Al Anbar today and still deny progress is being made,” said Williams. “Overall, attacks against local citizens and Iraqi and Coalition Forces are down, voter turnout is much higher than before and the people are finally beginning to see the fruitlessness of supporting the insurgency. Credit has to also be given to the bravery of Governor Ma’moun, Governor of Al-Anbar Province, to encourage his Sunni population to vote through their tribal leaders’ encouragement. While we still have a long way to go, we have made remarkable strides since last January’s elections, and now have the potential to establish a real measure of order and security in the Province.” Capt. B
Now that's the kind of news you're not getting from the "lettered" outfits. There's lots more news on DefenseLink with lots more pics!
More from the front (emphasis mine):
What a day! But wait! - there's more:
The elections went very well. Very very few incidents at all. A couple Iraqi police died but all attempted attacks were stopped. The Iraqi police and Iraqi Army did an excellent job today maintaining security. Coalition did not have to step in once. In one incident a car drove up and tried to drive into a polling site to do damage, but it was stopped, the man detained, the crowds ran away, then after the police ran the guy down, the crowds all came back right away.
Some 75% of the registered voters voted. Our country would NEVER meet that %, and we dont have to face possible suicide vehicle bombers every other day! These people want this more than we want it for them. Even if the parties do have particular agendas, dont all parties?
Anyway, it was a good day.
Alison L. Ball
I'm so proud of all our Troops for making this day come true. Well Done!!! Let us never forget the cost of Freedom and remember with honor and pride the ones who paid so dearly to bring Freedom to others.
Today is election day. Iraqis are voting. A mortar just went off in the distance. So what? The insurgents are going to lose and Iraqis are going to exercise free will by voting. Today is a great day and even though I am nervous and wary, I am honored to be participating in this process. History is being made in this nation today, and it will ripple outward from Baghdad across the Middle East and further.
Tsunamis wipe out everything in their path. It is my hope that by being here, I have played a small role in creating a tsunami that will scour Iraq, cleansing it of head choppers, bombers and dictators. When I’m an old man sitting on my porch in North Georgia drinking chai tea with my wife and watching the sunset, I hope an Iraqi will be waking up in Baghdad free to pursue his dream of building a business, writing a book or inventing something new he dreamed about while I was wide awake and living free back home. Sgt. Trevor Snyder