The results of the vote will not be known for days, perhaps weeks, as Iraqi election officials begin to sort this thing out. The votes are being counted by hand, and sometimes by candlelight as widespread power shortages still plague some parts of the country. The Iraq people seemed to be happy with the opportunity to take to the polls. (Here at Alt, we admire their courage to defy the bloody insurgency that threatens them every day.)

The political reality is that the future for ordinary Iraqis will be more of the same. A Shitte majority will no doubt be the result, with the Sunnis placed on the political back burner, as a minority to be ignored or persecuted. Sunnis enjoyed decades of power and privilege under Saddam. The American army secured his downfall; the elections last Sunday have guaranteed the Sunni permanent displacement. As much as George Bush or Prime Minister Ayad Allawi may harp about guaranteeing all Iraqis a place at the table, this sentiment is as fanciful as the now-discredited notion of weapons of mass destruction and mushroom clouds. The Sunnis know that, in the tribal culture that is Iraq, vengeance trumps compromise. And the central feature of democracy is compromise. If the Sunnis do not go quietly and the Kurds to the north decide to make a separate peace or break away completely, civil war will break out across the country.

The insurgency has grown stronger, more organized, and lethal. The elections last Sunday will not slow it down. It will grow even stronger as the Shitte majority assembles inside the Green Zone to consolidate its power. A struggle will ensue for personal power as individuals flex their political muscle. The weak will be found floating face down in the Tigris.

The winners in the 275-member assembly will now, of course, have to show themselves to their constituents. This unmasking of members of the newly elected leadership will mark them as targets in the Murder of the Month club. How they expect to accomplish the long, laborious process of writing a constitution while avoiding death by RPGs or suicide bombers remains to be seen. They will also have to hire staff support, occupy offices, and set up the complex bureaucracy to administer the government. This all can’t be done in secret or in underground bunkers. It will have to be in the open as it expands. In the open means caught in somebody’s crosshairs.

The Iraqi bloodbath will only get larger.

Prior to the elections, the Shiite majority was quietly eliminating former members of the Sunni Baathist party. Murder for hire is a commonplace event. The old army and its officer corps were comprised of Baath party members. It was disbanded after the fall of Saddam, and its soldiers were left unemployed, disillusioned, and bitter. This bitterness has been an insurgent recruiter’s windfall.

But in the Neo-Con Nation, this is victory. Any vote is a good vote, and the American electorate will grasp at any straw to justify the cost in blood and treasure. Of course, democracy in the Middle East must include Afghanistan. This miserable, failed state will be shown in the light of freedom as the first example of democracy. Few Americans realize that the full name of that nation is The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Iraq could soon become the same.

On Thursday, January 20, we witnessed the swearing ceremony of both George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney. One-half of this divided nation cheered, and the other half shuddered in dismay. Immediately following came the inaugural address, in which the president rambled on about his new doctrine of spreading freedom and democracy around the globe. How the administration would accomplish the amazing feat was not revealed. Also not mentioned were U.S. allies, such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Egypt. The governments of these countries are not interested in spreading democracy to their own people. They do, however, support the Bush administration in its “war on terror.” Interestingly enough, Iraq was never mentioned in this continuing saga of international do-gooding, known as the Bush Doctrine. The Sunni boycott of the recent election is simply another detail to be ignored in the American crusade for worldwide freedom and democracy, American-style.

Now caught in the political and military crossfire, the American army can only dig in deeper and engage in efforts of self-defense. As long as U.S. troop remains in that country, they will continue to serve as a target. For them, there is no way home. Why should the new government want them gone? American soldiers and Marines will do the dirty work of fighting the soon-to-be labeled “rebels,” while the Iraqi national guard and police sit on the sidelines, cheering them on and collecting a paycheck supplied by American taxpayers. As Alt goes to press, more than 1,436 American G.I.’s have been killed in Iraq. There appears to be no end in sight to the bloodshed and no way home for the troops.

But in the Neo-Con controlled world of the White House, such trivialities are easily dismissed. The State of the neo-Con Nation is good. George Bush declared that his re-election was all the justification that he needs, that the bulk of the American people are solidly behind his policies.

Dr. Condoleezza Rice has been sworn in as the new secretary of state, even though Senator Robert Byrd of Virginia last Tuesday dismantled her so-called views on foreign policy. His most serious charge against Rice was her support of the Bush Doctrine of Pre-emption, which takes the power to make war away from the legislative branch and gives it to the executive. War can now be waged at the pleasure of the president, and we the people have no say one way or another. Byrd pointed out the numerous times that Rice’s rhetoric to the American people consisted of fabrications designed to cause the United States to stampede into war ahead of the mushroom clouds of mass destruction. But, as noted, she has been confirmed, and the State of the Neo-Con Union is good. The American people can now expect more of the same. Loyalty trumps all, and loyal Rice can be relied upon to fabricate any fact to advance the agenda of George W. Bush and his handlers. As she took the helm of the State Department on Thursday, she remarked that she would indeed support the president by going on and on about the mission of America to spread truth, justice, and the American way across the globe.

Bordering Iraq is Iran, whose leaders sit and waits, no doubt planning to ally themselves with Iraq’s new political Shiite majority. Fearful of American intervention, the Iranians have made a series of alliances designed to advance their own cause. Moscow and Beijing have both agreed in treaties to help Tehran develop her oil fields. It has been reported that, this summer, Iran will be invited to join the so-called Shanghai Group of nations, which includes China, Russia, and the neighboring Petrostans (the largest being Turkmenistan, formerly part of the now-defunct Soviet Union). Membership in this organization would give Iran more opportunity to update and train her military. It also affords Iran access to better weapon systems. China has already sold Tehran dozens of the much lethal and feared Sunburn anti-ship cruise missile. Realizing full well the weakness of the U.S. dollar and the military that it funds, these countries have long cast off their fear of the United States military. Taking the example of the Iraqi insurgency, they don’t have to defeat the American to win the war they have in mind; they just don’t have to lose very much. All three countries can afford to lose a lot.

Any unemployed Russian fighter pilot or underemployed Chinese fighter pilot looking for some extra cash and real experience might do well to offer his services to Tehran.

Such diplomatic maneuvering is of little concern in the Neo-con Nation. After all, Russia is one of most steadfast allies and friends in the “war on terror.” Wannabe Czar of all the Russias but still just President Valdimir Putin is George’s best pal, and this ex-KGB killer would never double cross the man from Texas. China is now the darling of Corporate America, providing manufactured goods at rock bottom prices to sell to the folks back home who simply can’t do without the latest piece of trash. U.S companies are exporting good paying jobs off to mainland China as fast as they can. By 2009, General Motors will buy close to four billion dollars of automobile spare parts from Chinese manufacturers. In the State of the Neo-Con Nation, this is good. Corporate America owns the Bush administration, and it needs to profit from its investment.

In contrast to our own foreign policy, devoted to spreading American-style democracy across the planet, these other countries will do what is in their best interest first, last, and always. China, for example, owns billions of dollars of U.S. debt. All Beijing has to do to intimidate our new secretary of state is to start selling off U.S. securities, driving down the value of the dollar even more. George Bush and his cabal of neo-con handlers have placed all of their foreign policy apples into the basket of winning the “war on terror.” Therefore, Moscow can blackmail or threaten Washington into any arrangement that it sees fit. This will be reassuring to U.S. allies, such as Israel. Tel Aviv can rest easy, secure in the knowledge that America will defend to the death of its finest troops Israel and her interests.

Over at the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Donald von Rumsfeld has not been idle. He has successfully emasculated the Central Intelligence Agency and can now place his own intelligence operatives anywhere he sees fit, without the inconvenience of telling Congress where they are how much they cost. Sources inside the Department of Defense have privately acknowledged that U.S. Special Forces, along with Israeli-trained Kurds, have entered Iran, marking potential targets. U.S. Air Force fighter planes are penetrating Iranian air space to spot radar stations and anti-air defenses installations.

Of course, it’s always good to have the press on your side. Three members of the mainstream press have confessed to shilling for the Bush administration for thousands of dollars.

Of course, as long the American people have cheap gas and reality television, they will hardly complain. After all, George W, Bush shares their values.

The State of the Neo-Con Nation is good.

By Grady Hawkins

The State of the Union address takes place before a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, January 26. It doesn’t take a political genius to predict the contents of the upcoming speech. For George W. Bush and his inner circle of chicken hawks, the State of their Neo-Con Nation is good. First and foremost will be their claim that the election held in Iraq on Sunday has stoked the flame of liberty in Iraq. The administration called the vote a “resounding success” and is convinced that s softened the devastating effects of 22 months of violent occupation. It also has the incredible notion that the Iraqi people will somehow unite and that Demoracy and Freedom are now well and truly underway in this broken and tragic country.