Today, another successful election. My third and LAST election in Iraq. In January I had only been in country a few days, and today I only have a few days left. From my perspective, seeing it from 3 feet away, everything seemed to go well. I think that the Iraqis are really getting this whole voting thing, and are excited to actually have a say in the future of their country. I watched thousands of Iraqi Army troops vote a few days ago, riding out to the polling places in 5 tons waving Iraqi flags, laughing, singing and waving.
I have had conversations with interpreters who tell me that this time they really believe that they are making a difference, that the first 2 elections bolstered their confidence in the process. Fox, one of our interpreters, reaffirmed that today when he told me that he was most excited that he could vote however he wanted, even though some in his family would vote for other candidates, “because I am free”.
The most inspirational thing Fox told me today, which was also the most important thank you I could ever get, happened as he was about to go to the village near the camp to cast his ballot. Interpreters normally wear U.S. Army DCU uniforms while at work, and Fox was wearing his today. When we asked him if he was going to put on civilian clothes to go into the village to vote, he said “No, This uniform is the reason I can vote. I will wear it.”
Thanks, Fox. You don’t know how much I needed to hear that.