"U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote :
Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror"
by Peter Grose, Special to the New York Times (9/4/1967: p. 2)
WASHINGTON, Sept. 3-- United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.
According to reports from Saigon, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong.
The size of the popular vote and the inability of the Vietcong to destroy the election machinery were the two salient facts in a preliminary assessment of the nation election based on the incomplete returns reaching here.
Considering that many Iraqis were apparently told they were going to hell or going to starve if they didn't vote, and the turnout was considerably below 83% -- the UN have backed off an overly rosy yet unofficial 72% turnout prediction -- I think the only reasonable point of view is to see whether the violence actually stops and the reconstruction starts before anyone judges the relative success or failure of the Iraqi election. Results should be tallied in something tangible, such as less violence, a higher electrical output, a growing economy, and increased jobs. If all of these are not happening, then Iraq is pretty much stuck in the ditch, "democracy" or not.
It's a shame that almost all of Iraq's would-be leaders are would-be tyrants, invariably petty and corrupt. At least they aren't drug traders, I guess...