I haven't seen any other blogs or commentators pick up on this thread from yesterday's Meet the Press, but Richard Lugar's response to Tim Russert's question about the impending Iraq elections was a bit disturbing. Russert suggested that the Iraq elections might result in an Iran-sponsored Shiite government that ends being more theocracy than democracy:
So the United States loses 1,200 men, 10,000 injured, and the Iraqis vote for someone who is sponsored by the Iranian government next door.
Here is the first part of Lugar's response:
SEN. LUGAR: Well, that column is joined by others who feel that somehow we are not sufficiently involved in a politically savvy way in trying to arrange the election, the list, how it may come out. Now, others are writing -- equally distinguished columnists -- that we already are deep in the weeds, that the CIA is manipulating the various parties and so forth. Both cannot be right at the same time, and the knowledge about what we are doing is interesting.
Lugar doesn't give, and can't give, a direct answer as to the extent we are manipulating the process, but if the likely outcomes of the election are a) an Iran-sponsored Shiite theocracy, or b) an American pick, then it is not going to be unsettling merely for those who anticipated a "Jeffersonian-Madison" type of democracy, but for those who expected fair democracy at all.