Iraq, The Vote: 'One of the Most Amazing Things I've Ever Seen'

J$P Instant Transcript! Geraldo Rivera on the first hours of voting.

From 24 Hours in Iraq: Decision Day, January 30 2005:

GERALDO RIVERA [FOX NEWS]: I don't want to overstate, because I'm very emotional right now. Because I was in that town, just behind me. These GIs have done it, they've created an environment, despite the explosions, despite all the news you've heard of the suicide bomber, snipers, this and that. In this town, in this community, with 15,000 registered voters, we have just returned from the polling place. It is absolutely packed. Roll the video. There are men, women, families coming. They are casting their ballot for the first time. It was so inspiring. It was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen in my entire life. It really is like the Berlin Wall going down in 1989. It really is like the beginning, like the dawn of the civil rights era, when black people could vote for the first time. It is the most amazing sight. Only a hard-bitten cynic, only a person with absolutely no upside to their feeling of optimism, could look askance at what is happening, truly happening today. People are applauding themselves, they look like Rocky coming out of the polling place. There are women voting for the first time, and it's just the most incredible thing. It's so heartwarming to see it.

RIVERA: Now this is a mixed Shia and Suni town. I didn't ask the religion of the people who were voting. I assume just by the news stories you've all heard that most of the people who are voting are of the Shia branch of the Muslim faith. I don't know that for sure. But go to the video of the polling place, because that's where the people are. They're inside. They're voting, they're on line...they're going through a process that--look at that--these people, remember, ladies and gentlemen, they never voted in their life. They never had the right to vote in their life. Now they have a democratic choice. Now they can select which candidate they want for that legislative assembly that will go on to pick candidates and have a permanent Prime Minister and draft a constitution. And so this once-dictatorship, one of the most brutal regimes on earth, can join the family of civilized, democratic nations. I'll tell you folks, it is an amazing, amazing feeling.

RIVERA: I don't know the turnout nationwide. I don't want my enthusiasm to be disguised as a comprehensive report on exactly what the turnout is. I don't know what the flaws are. All I know is what I saw with my own eyes. What I saw with my own eyes were the people of this community turning out to vote, turning out in droves....I tell you, the job they did, it's--they've created an environment stable enough so that these people--not only are our GIs heroes, each one of these voters is a hero. Remember what they have been threatened with. Remember what they have endured. Remember the people who have been beheaded. Remember the threats that if you come out today, this is your last warning, you're going to be killed, your family is going to be killed. Well look at them. They're turning out anyway....

RIVERA: There was a vehicle-born suicide bomber that didn't detonate. The people of the community started pounding on the car with their shoes to show their disdain for the anarchists, these malevolent anarchists. They have no agenda other than disruption. They have no agenda other than chaos and their own self-aggrandizement. It's just amazing....There are the explosions, there's no doubt about it, in the background, the occasional fire, but that's not the news. Yes, it's the news of course, but the real news is that despite everything they are going to cast their ballots. It's incredibly heartwarming....

RIVERA: When I went with these guys to the polling station, they stopped about two blocks away. They would not go. They didn't want it to seem as if it was American military might that was pulling this whole thing off. They stayed two blocks away. We walked up to the polling place, first the Iraqi Army, then the Iraqi cops inside. You had a feeling in there, a kind of almost family feeling in this community....An exciting day, an historic day here in Iraq. It is the dawn of freedom....You folks who live in the United States who are watching this, just be proud. Be proud of this. This is amazing. This was inconceivable, wasn't it, during the days of Saddam Hussein. Look how far this country has come. It will heal its wounds. The terrorists are going to lose.

posted: Sun - January 30, 2005 at 01:37 AM       j$p  send 

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Title: The Iraqi Elections - Turnout High, Violence Low
Excerpt: I blogged earlier on the exuberant coverage of Geraldo Rivera - Johnny Dollar was impressed, too, and put up a transcript here...
Blog name: Decision '08
January 30, 2005, 6:16:16 AM EST – Like

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Title: "This is Democracy": Voting in Iraq
Excerpt: The polls are closed in Iraq, and the election is over. So how did it go?
From the AP:
Iraqis defied violence and calls for a boycott to cast ballots in Iraq's first free election in a half-century Sunday. Insurgents seeking to wreck the vote s...
Blog name: The MUSC Tiger
January 30, 2005, 9:16:53 AM EST – Like

Oh dear god heraldo. Does anyone take him seriously? Too bad an insurgent didn't take him out! He would have died a smilin.
January 30, 2005, 11:36:23 AM EST – Like – Reply

That's his report?
Why didn't he just start wanking off and sing God Bless America while he was at it. 
I mean, I like to see a happy voter as much as the next person, but there have been people voting in more dangerous places than Iraq in the past (go see Sierra Leone when folks got their hands cut off if they voted...)
I hope their vote goes well and they're happy with the result... but for feck's sake, enough of the masturbatory reports - I just want the facts man, just the facts.
January 31, 2005, 11:30:24 AM EST – Like – Reply

He was giving us the facts, Carl. I'm totally amazed that just for ONE DAY, people can't stop their complaining, and just be happy for the Iraqis. Yikes.
January 31, 2005, 5:04:34 PM EST – Like – Reply