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Iraq Transition

Your e-mails: What will make democracy work in Iraq? readers on how to build a stable government

Iraqis stand outside a polling station in Az Zubayr, in southern Iraq, Wednesday.


• Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
• Interactive: Sectarian divide


United States
Saddam Hussein

(CNN) -- Iraqis went to the polls Thursday to elect their country's first permanent government since the fall of Saddam Hussein. On the eve of that historic election, asked readers to e-mail their thoughts on what needs to happen in Iraq to establish a stable democracy. Here is a selection of those responses, some of which have been edited:

The United States will have to overcome the resistance of hostile Iraqi political forces, referee the deadly factional struggles of bitter political rivals, and minimize the meddling of Syria and Iran, both of which seek to hijack Iraq's political future and drive out American influence. Building a stable democracy under these conditions will be a complex long-term challenge.
Mr. Phillips, Omaha, Nebraska

The people of Iraq (as a whole) need to band together and identify the insurgents so as to slowdown or stop the terrorist acts. Only then will they be able to secure a safe and stable country and not have US troops going door to door.
Steve (MSgt USAF-Retired), Indianapolis, Indiana

Unless the women have a VERY strong presence in the Iraq government, there will be no democracy.
Constance Luedtke, Oceanside, California

A stable democracy in Iraq will require two things to occur. First, the tribal leaders must disengage their war against the US presence and support their efforts to rebuild the infrastructure and protect Iraq from outside influences. Second, the world must begin positively responding to their needs rather than shadowing progress with purely negative reporting and imagery. They need hope more than we need to be reminded of the evils associated with instability.
Eric, Troy, New York

We need a plan that shows that we are going to leave soon because our presence there is more disruptive than helpful.
Alice Trost, Averill Park, New York

Since this process would require the participation of all Iraqis and the acceptance of this from all their Arab neighbors, I don't feel democracy will ever flourish in Iraq. The invasion was wrong and the troops should come home now.
William Scarbro, Bethpage, Tennessee

Once the elections are completed and the new Parliament begins business, the coalition forces must turn over all of the bases to the Iraqi government and redeploy to strategic locations outside of Iraq. Change of command ceremonies at each base would be a very wise to do. Resistance to invaders is a fundamental belief of Muslims and part of their culture. We will never succeed in removing that belief. As long as we are on the ground in Iraq the insurgency will continue and Americans will continue dying.
Mark Taylor, Tucson, Arizona

Realize that Iraq has its own culture and quit trying to apply our standards on a country that has been around a heck of a lot longer than we have. Give them their due and highlight the positive rather than the negative as the US News Media has done. Give them some hope, not despair.
Joseph Campo, Las Cruces, New Mexico

History shows that the Middle East has been in turmoil for over 4000 years. It is the height of arrogance for us to think we can send our children there to die and create a western style election and assume the problems of centuries will be solved.
Dianne Riley, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The question should be what needs to happen for a "stable" Iraq. I do not believe there will ever be a U.S. style democracy there or anywhere in the Middle East because of the fact that religion rules those countries rather than equality of all people in those countries. This should be lesson to the U.S. because if we ignore the Constitution and become ruled by religion rather than secular ideal, we too will become like the Middle East.
Lynne Doyle, Flower Mound, Texas

We will win the war in Iraq when at least the following happens:
1. The Islamic clerics educate their followers that terrorism and suicide bombing is murder, not martyrdom.
2. The Iraqi people abandon lust for power and control, and substitute care giving for selfishness.
3. The United Nations stops becoming a talk shop and starts caring for the world community more than their own self-interests.
4. The United States electorate becomes more kind, patient and tolerant of others.
5. The public media portrays the American lifestyle in a non-sinful manner to the rest of the world.
We are fighting against ideas and ideals, not just insurgents and terrorists.
Roger O'Daniel, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Why don't we let this new election process in Iraq decide whether or not we should be there? Put it to the people of Iraq: "Should the U.S. and its allies vacate the country?" We should abide their wishes. We have seen as much victory as we are ever going to see right now. Saddam Hussein is gone. Let the various factions of Iraq resolve their problems internally. We could very well learn what it took for a madman like Hussein to keep these radical groups in order.
Sheila Donovan, Swampscott, Massachusetts

Victory is merely a slogan with no standards. True victory consists of the Iraqis being able to maintain social and political order on their own with the insurgents under reasonable control and the United States possibly sealing the borders with a backup strike force for the unexpected.
Larry Ciampa, Pitcairn, Pennsylvania

The first few phrases of our Declaration of Independence tell the story. If the ideal toward which people strive is the equality of all, and the inalienable rights endowed by our Creator of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness FOR ALL--then a free people will remain free. Any lesser formula does not support a stable democracy or a free people.
Matthew Sheep, Cincinnati, Ohio

There will be no peace until we leave, just like Vietnam. There was no peace there until we left, and they seem to be doing just fine without us.
Edward Gose, Stanwood, Michigan

All foreign entities must exit from Iraq. Iraq will never be a democracy. You can't force democracy with guns. If any one believes you can, then this is simply Hitlerism.
John Cosmas Damien, El Paso, Texas

They need to have honest elections ... and to get the Cheney-appointed people like Chalabi out. As long as we have our nose in it how can the Iraqi people feel like they are running things, for they know they aren't. They aren't stupid.
Verna, St. Augustine, Florida

The answer to this question depends on your definition of "stable." I think Iraq will have a "stable" democracy within three years, but this democracy will likely be far different than what President Bush intended. I can easily foresee Iraq and Iran becoming much closer allies, both being democracies. The stable democracy will likely form an oil-rich, Islamic Super-State, which might not be friendly to the United States. The US might soon realize that dealing with democracies that dislike us is much more difficult than dealing with a dictator who dislikes us.
Bryan, McLean, Virginia

The war and democracy can be won. But the US must stand hard by the people of Iraq in order for it to happen. The propensity for US activist groups to constantly criticize the military and other elements involved in the conflict only serves to strengthen the will of the terrorists. Regardless of my impression of the president's abilities, he still deserves the support of all of us in a conflict like Iraq.
Art Hecker, Dublin, Ohio

Iraqi oil generates more money than some people can imagine. Give back around $250 per month to each Iraqi citizen and they will have something to defend and fight for. Then use the rest of the money for restoration of the country. It's a guarantee that the Iraqi people will fight for their right to receive a share of their oil revenue. Once they have tasted the bounty of their country, then they will as their right, fight and help in the restoration of their country then we can leave.
Ramon D., Lodi, New Jersey

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