Most news accounts I’ve read have been reporting — as if boilerplate — that the American military is strictly intent on keeping away from, and out of sight of Iraqi polling stations. (This has also been the policy in the previous elections held subsequent to the American invasion.)
Of course, nobody seems to question the false disguise in such a policy — as if the absence of American soldiers for the day would somehow suggest that there isn’t a pervasive U.S. presence throughout the country — a presence which allows the U.S. to exert maximum leverage over how the country reconstitutes itself.
Given the "out of sight, out of mind" policy, however, what’s telling is that today’s some of today’s news photos aren’t conforming to it. Is the situation in Baghdad so tenuous (see image above) that U.S. forces cannot afford even the appearance that the election is completely Iraqi owned and operated?
And, if the Pentagon is so sensitive about these impressions as to ban avoid the presence of U.S. troops at or near polling places, why would they possibly allow images to get out providing evidence of American soldiers (as if directly conducting the election) actually off-loading and delivering the ballots themselves? put troops in the position of blatantly conducting the kind of election-related support operations we see in this shot in today’s LA Times?
(revised: 10/16/05 12:20am PST)
(image 1: Cris Bouroncle/AFP-Getty. Mosul, Iraq. October 15, 2005. Los Angeles Times. p. A5. image 2: October 15 2005. Khalid Mohammed/A.P. Baghdad, Iraq. Saturday, October 15 2005. Via YahooNews.)