Democracy in Iraq
At Medical City in Baghdad, doctors are dragging mattresses into their offices and bunking in vacant nursing-home beds, preparing for the possibility of widespread bloodshed.... Amid excitement and fear over Sunday's election, Iraqis are in a mad rush to prepare for an unprecedented three-day national lockdown. With insurgents vowing to disrupt the balloting and kill voters, U.S. and Iraqi security forces have imposed a lengthy set of emergency security measures. Starting Saturday, borders will be sealed and the airport will be shut down. Government offices and most companies will take a three-day holiday. Nightly curfews begin at 7 p.m. and last until 6 a.m....In addition, cars will be banned from roads unless occupants have special election badges, except in cases of medical emergency....Seriously, I hope the elections go well, and I have nothing but respect for those who plan to participate despite danger to themselves.
Demand for gas, food and emergency supplies has spurred a price surge. Black-market prices for gasoline doubled from $1.30 a gallon last week to $2.70 a gallon Thursday. Potatoes that sold for 22 cents for a little more than two pounds on Monday sold for 55 cents Thursday. Long lines snaked out of bakeries selling samoun, a popular bread. Grocery stores were selling out of water, eggs, canned food and rice.