Blogger scores exclusive interview....
....with the head of security for the Iraqi elections. Here's the entire interview.
Q. How has today gone?In case you're wondering, I won't be blogging any "news" today. I'm ignoring the wire services, the old media and the pundits.
A. Today was very, very good. Better than we ever expected. For sure, the people of Iraq love democracy. For sure they love liberty, and are not afraid of terrorism. For us, for me, the time of terrorism is over. Today, we won all the battles against terrorists.
Q. What went wrong and what went right today?
A. For me, our plan was executed very well. We deployed our forces well, and had good coordination and communication. But there were problems with identification systems and badges. There were also media problems.
Q. What challenges remain?
A. The big problem now is the risk of attack on polling centers. The problem is that the National Guard, Police, and Coalition want to leave the polling centers now because they think it is all over. Our plans considered this. We thought of everything. We have repeatedly ensured that all forces understand they cannot leave the polling centers until the ballots leave. But at the lowest levels they don't understand this requirement. There may still be a danger that people want to attack ballots and invalidate the results.
Q. What did you think of when you were voting?
A. Voting is a new freedom for us. It is the first time for us to vote freely and peacefully, without tension, and without force. It gave me a lot of pleasure.
Q. What is the relevance of the elections to Iraq's future?
A. These elections will do a lot of things for the future. First, the Iraqi people have won self confidence. The Iraqi people have won democracy. Iraqis understand how democracy can work in the future now. It is because of your [American] scientific methods. For us those are new things.
Q. What would you say to America today? What would you say to the world?
A. We thank the Americans because they saved us from the dictatorial regime and we hope that all the world will see we can live well with a modern life, a democratic life. You've helped us find the true road. We thank you very much for working with us on the plan. It has been a result of cooperative work between the Iraqi Government and the Multinational Forces and the Election Commission, as well as internally between the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defense. This has not been the result of one person, but of many groups working together. This cooperation has given me much pleasure.
Q. What will be the result of the elections?
A. The result? All the major lists will win. There will be some lists with 100 members and others with 60. This is the road of democracy. The people can choose as they like. We can now see the road to democracy and to the free life.
Q. What will change from the last two years?
A. You know, in the last two years, we have won a lot of things with you. And you see the Iraqis are kind. You don't see bad people on this day. You see the people who are kind, who work well. I hope that we find a system for the next phase with the new government. In the past two years we have had many difficulties and made normal mistakes, as all new governments do. But with your help, we discovered new solutions, and I hope we can implement those solutions in the coming years. We learned together. We can face the problems of the future.
What do they know?