Iraq, The Vote: 'This Is Civil Rights'

J$P Instant Transcript! Steven Vincent with Brian Kilmeade.

From Fox & Friends First, January 31 2005:

BRIAN KILMEADE [FOX NEWS]: What's next for the new government, and what is the feeling on the ground? Let's ask the author of In the Red Zone, a very successful book, and it's about a journey into the soul of Iraq. Steven Vincent did just that, in two different visits there, lived outside the Green Zone. Is that what you mean by the Red Zone?


KILMEADE: You met the people, Steve.

VINCENT: I met the people. I embedded myself with Iraqi society.

KILMEADE: And you had a chance to work the phones, watch the coverage. What's your feeling today? Are we over-hyping the result?

VINCENT: I don't think we are over-hyping anything. I think we're witnessing something akin to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Could we have over-hyped that? I don't think so.

KILMEADE: If I had talked to you the day before, would you have predicted this election result, in terms of the people coming out the way they did?

VINCENT: With the Shia sure, with the Kurds yes. But what really just amazes me and gives me such feeling of hope is the turnout of the Sunnis. It shows that, when we say there was a boycott, that's not correct. What we saw from the Muslim Scholars Association was voter suppression. Those people wanted to vote; they didn't boycott. Boycott is a willing not wanting to vote. These people, if they were allowed to vote, would have gone to vote, and we saw that in Al Anbar province.

KILMEADE: Do you sense that the Shia will continue to have the turn the other cheek feeling, as the insurgency tries to hit them and bait them into some sort of civil war?

VINCENT: I think the Shia have just operated and acted in a mature, responsible--they've acted like statesmen, not like clerics. This is just an amazing thing. I do think, though, that they're going to have a lot of challenges ahead because, as you say, the foreign jihadists and the Sunni bathists are going to try to bait them into a civil war.

KILMEADE: You think Geraldo was right on. When and how?

VINCENT: I think he was really great, because he brought up two issues that I think can't be stressed enough. One is we're looking at a civil rights issue. We saw a disenfranchised population, 26 million people, be given the chance to vote and they took it. And that is more than a war, more than a revolution. That is civil rights.

KILMEADE: This isn't democracy against Communists, North against South Korea and VietNam. This is people who want freedom against people that want what?

VINCENT: Nothing. And that was the other thing he brought out; this also cannot be stressed enough. This insurgency--insurgency is far too neat a term for this--stands for nothing. It is nihilistic and pointless, and now the insurgents instead of fighting the American occupation are going to have to be fighting a duly elected Iraqi government.

KILMEADE: When you picked up the phone and called Basra and talked to your sources over there, did they sense that anything is going to change, today, the day after election? Do you get the feeling?

VINCENT: They, right before the election, as things were building up in Baghdad, yes. As I talked to them yesterday, they were so involved, especially down in Basra with my friend Nour, were so involved with the results coming in and all the excitement that it was just like caught up like we are in a democratic process. But remember, two years ago they could not have even conceived of this. Even just being involved in voting, and how are the Communists doing, how are the Sunnis doing in downtown Basra, things like that. They could never have even conceived of this.

KILMEADE: So where to the Sunnis stand today?

VINCENT: Well like I said, I think it's very important that the Muslim Scholars Association is really proven to have lead a vote suppression act.

KILMEADE: And that's the number one, that's the number one Sunni group?

VINCENT: Right. They've been, I think, they've been discredited. As far as Zarqawi goes, I think he's really, as Usama Bin Laden said, history rides a strong horse, and his horse did not prove to be the strongest.

KILMEADE: Steve, I still want your perspective, so we'll take a short time out...

[commercial break]

KILMEADE: ...I want to focus on democracy. Did the Iraqis know what they voted for, and what are they expecting today?

VINCENT: What they're expecting today, right this minute as we talk, is probably electricity, probably fresh water, and probably some heat for their homes. Because I'm getting emails, when they can email me, because electricity is down, the conditions in Baghdad are very bad. So that's what they're expecting immediately. In the long term what all Iraqis expect are an independent judiciary, a police force that's not corrupt, and ministers who don't pocket the money that they're entrusted with.

KILMEADE: Would it benefit if Western powers provided something short, something like seminars, on how to capitalism, how to take out a loan, how to buy a house, how to start a business. Is that too rudimentary?

VINCENT: Well we're going to have to discuss issues of Islamic financing and banking and all that. That all has to be hashed out. But the Iraqis are very industrious; they know how to start businesses. One of the amazing things about Baghdad is that it's not Mogadishu. There are businesses starting up everywhere, so they do have a sense of that. What they really need is a sense of trust in a government. We cannot imagine what it is like to live for 35 years under a government where the police are the criminals. And that one thought, just to be able to trust the people who are supposed to protect you, the Iraqis still haven't gotten to that point.

KILMEADE: And there's more than a glimmer of hope. Steven Vincent, author of In the Red Zone, thanks so much; I appreciate it. We're going to have you back; are you going back to Iraq?

VINCENT: As soon as I can; you bet.


posted: Mon - January 31, 2005 at 11:35 AM       j$p  send 

yes ,it is the trust . Will Iraqis be dissappointed again because they would like to trust the government again? You are realy embedded with us .
February 3, 2005, 3:37:46 AM EST – Like – Reply

Steven Vincent was killed for disrespecting Iraqi customs by being intimately involved with an Iraqi woman and not as previously reported for his article in the NY Times exposing Basra police as corrupt US sponsored terrorists. His translator, an unmarried Iraqi Shiia by the name of Nour, had many brothers and cousins. She also was shot. 4 times. She miracuosly survived and said from her hospital bed that Vincent had pledged to marry her and bring her to the US. Even if he wasn't actually sleeping with her, which is doubtful, the fact that he travelled with her without supervision was a huge and ignorant mistake on his part. Actually, it's amazing he lived as long as he did. 
As you all should know, Iraq is an ancient 'clan' society. With Bush's neocon shill Ambassador Khalilzad spewing nonsense about 'spreading democracy' all year in the western media, it should come as no surprise that reports have surfaced from Israel that Khalilzad was actually actively pushing for Islamic Law in the constitution. NOT DEMOCRACY, like all the massive and corrupt 'state-run' media outlets like CNN, MSNBC,FOX and now, sadly, even PBS.
Don't believe it after a year of Bush doublespeak about "spreading democracy"? Here's the link...
KURD's Say US 'Pushed' for Repressive Islamic Law
August 26, 2005, 3:08:52 PM EDT – Like – Reply