Brad DeLong asks why didn't we hold elections in Iraq 2 months after overthrowing Saddam, when we still had considerable goodwill and only 100-plus soldiers died?
Juan Cole comments:
The original plan, designed by then-U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer, was a complicated formula of regional caucuses to select a national government, which would write a constitution, and then hold the elections. "It was Sistani who demanded one-person, one-vote elections. So to the extent it's a victory, it's a victory for Iraqis. The Americans were maneuvered into having to go along with it."
Bush also said we had to wait to do a census in order to register people to vote, that Sistani's idea of using the UN's food ration cards was insecure. Turns out the vote was held without a prior census, and food ration cards were used as the basis of registration.
Fafblog summarizes it all:
Once again the doubters and the skeptics have been proven wrong. Alarmists insisted that Iraqi elections would be a disaster, with low turnout, a massive and forboding Sunni boycott, and hundreds killed by crazed insurgents. But the Iraqi people rose to the occasion, delivering above-average turnout, a massive and foreboding Sunni boycott, and mere dozens killed by crazed insurgents. Success!