Somewhere in central Iraq an aircraft lands delivering goods that aren’t made in country. Nothing unusual in that; go to any bazaar in this land and you’ll find imported items outnumber those manufactured locally. Years of brutal dictatorship, UN sanctions, and ultimately war to end both have left this nation’s manufacturing infrastructure less than intact, to say the least. The task of rebuilding is a daunting one, made more so by factions that would see to it that success is limited, that progress isn’t made.
That’s the future, at least the future as those with any sense of optimism see it. For now forklifts scurry quickly up the lowered cargo door and hoist pallets of material then return to their starting points, unload and climb for more. A forest of pallets forms on the pavement, soon to be loaded on trucks for transport away from the relative safety of the airbase. Now empty, the plane taxis away to retrieve another load. Now full, a convoy of trucks departs for other locations around the country, the drivers will quite literally risk their lives to get this material to its intended destination.
The forklifts stand by as in the distance the drone of another approaching aircraft signals their job is far from over.
The scene is repeated in various locations around the country. The payload? The material thought worth dying for by hundreds of men determined to move their nation forward? Election material, of course. The future history of free Iraq is being written. Across the country the people express a commitment to democracy, a determination to vote. Should they see the reports from America they must be stunned; stories of “disenfranchisement” from here and there where the weather was bad and many voters felt the wait in line was just too long, thanks. This is America? Could these people actually be somehow related to the men and women in uniform here in Iraq? Those who are shoulder to shoulder with the people of Baghdad, Mosul, Basra… delivering the ballots, manning the checkpoints, ever vigilant for the appearance of the “former regime loyalist” and the “foreign insurgent” determined to inflict the rule of the knife on a population that has never known anything but?
Bloody days are in store. These elections will be like nothing before witnessed. In most areas of the country all will be well, but elsewhere a shredded remnant of the anti-Iraqi forces will make their presence known. Their efforts are nearly impotent; on a recent day five separate car bomb attacks failed to reach their intended targets. Yet even as their failures mount, even as their ranks are diminished and their slaughterhouses are shut down they know one thing that brings them a glimmer of hope: their allies in the world media will not let them down. Whether to simply sell papers, lure advertisers, or to support a cause they firmly believe in, many in the media are the insurgent’s final hope.