Guess that’s the dumb obvious headline of the day, but the story highlights that Bush is smoking something if he thinks the January elections are going to prove “democracy” is taking root in Iraq. (AP):

The bearded man in a white robe spoke politely but his parting words to Mohammed Abdullah, a grocer entrusted with distributing voter registration forms, carried a thinly veiled threat.

“Let the fear of God reside in your heart,” the man, who never identified himself, repeated twice to Abdullah before leaving. He had earlier tried to convince Abdullah that participating in Iraq’s January election violates Islamic law.

The Jan. 30 election is a key step in Iraq’s transition to democracy. But the run-up is proving just how difficult that process will be. Already, the election has widened sectarian divides, triggered an increase in military operations and produced a campaign of intimidation.

…”There are areas in Iraq, where the security situation is very bad. There are areas where no one has been able to give out even one voter registration sheet. What we care about more than holding elections is the result of these elections,” he told a news conference.

…In Mosul, for example, insurgents last month torched a warehouse that contained election registration papers. There have also been reports of widespread intimidation targeting Iraqis involved in the electoral process.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding