The Day after Iraqi’s First Election

By | February 7, 2022

[February 7, 2022]  This is what I wrote to my son the day after Iraqi’s first democratic election: “It appears that the Iraqi elections were a complete success by any measure.”  The Iraqis defied the terrorists; women, in particular, voted overwhelmingly.  The elections were more than a move toward democracy but a move toward a civilized, modern society.

It was a Monday, January 31, 2005.  The day we looked back on the election and we knew it would go down in history as something that was good.

Like us, citizens of Iraq wanted a family, a respectable job, and a place to worship as they so choose.  The election was a strong rejection of totalitarianism and barbarianism.  Iraqi citizens no longer would tolerate despotism or terrorism; that is what they wanted from their politicians.

What I found most ironic was that many in Western democracies remained pitifully against real democracy in Iraq.

In Kirkuk, Baghdad, Najar, and many small towns, the voting went exceptionally well.  There were terror attacks, mostly suicide bombers, who killed about 30 to 40 Iraqis, but citizens still voted.  Many took their young children with them!  I’m told that parents wanted their children to be part of something unique, something crucial for their future.  This is the way they wanted it.

I spoke with several Iraqis that day, and they were happy to tell me about their pride in their fellow citizens and relief that the number voting was higher than expected.

Terrorists outright failed to stop the election.  One of my favorite stories was about a dead suicide bomber who had died while lying in the street near a voting location.  Those walking by spit on his body.  True enough, the average Iraqi walking to their polling places knew that violence was not the answer.

Decent Iraqis had, indeed, won the day.  Their future would be very difficult, and the electoral bliss would wear off soon.


Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” at Amazon (link here).

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

29 thoughts on “The Day after Iraqi’s First Election

  1. Purse 5

    No wonder the Iraqis were proud to go and vote. I like the idea of ink on the finger. You also had a picture in your book, ‘Our Longest Year in Iraq’ of an Iraqi woman with you. Loved the pix.

  2. Frankie Boy

    When you live in peace and stability, you begin to take your position for granted. That is why they say that weak men (in good times), make bad times happen.

  3. American Girl

    This is why America is such a great place. And, we have the balls to resist tyranny even when it is at home.

  4. Idiot Savant

    Citizens rejecting tyranny. Now we see it in Canada and an infant level upswing in citizen dissatisfaction with tyrannical like governments across the world. And that includes the United States with a slow, dementia patient in charge.

  5. Dead Pool Guy

    For those who don’t know, this narrative is taken from Gen. Satterfield’s book. Others mentioned it but I recommend that you read his entire book. It will open your eyes to what happens in war (not the blood and guts part) and why there are senior leaders on the battlefield that can really make a difference.

    1. Maureen S. Sullivan

      Great point, DPG. And I surely learned a lot from his book. Highly recommended! ….. as Gen. Satterfield would say.

  6. Valkerie

    I looked up the towns that General Satterfield mentioned. Spread out and good examples, I presume. Iraqis regardless of religious belief went to the election poles. Good for them. Now, they are directly responsible for keeping this system.

    1. MrJohn22

      In America we often don’t even hear about it. In this case the media predicted failure but the results showed otherwise. So, they just ignored the success on purpose.

  7. Wendy Holmes

    Did anyone notice that nothing in this article or any other article deals with “race?” Yep, Gen. Satterfield clearly believes, like I do, that what we do is NOT driven by race but by the character of a person. That is the way it should be and always be. Politicians – the race hustlers – gain power by scaring people. Shame on them. Another example of these politicians being evil.

  8. Jonny McB.

    Gen. Satterfield is surely privileged by him being in the right place at the right time to hear and see what happened in a truly historical event. This is how real leaders get the job done.

  9. Audrey

    Best quote, “Like us, citizens of Iraq wanted a family, a respectable job, and a place to worship as they so choose. The election was a strong rejection of totalitarianism and barbarianism.” I’m not so sure this is true but I will take it at face-value for now.

  10. Bryan Z. Lee

    It was a great day to be an Iraqi. I will, however, point to something Gen. Satterfield wrote at the end, “Decent Iraqis had, indeed, won the day. Their future would be very difficult, and the electoral bliss would wear off soon.” This is true. Like us in America and other western nations, voting was soon taken for granted and became corrupt by indecent, unscrupulous people.

  11. Janna Faulkner

    Another spot-on blog post, well written. Another reason my husband and I read this blog.

    1. The Kid 1945

      Yes, and I’m a regular reader too. I also print some of the articles out, the ones I like the best, and post them on my company’s bulletin board.

  12. Eye Cat

    Fair to say that Gen. Satterfield was there on a historic day and he did not sit back and not look but actually got out and talked to folks to get their thoughts and ideas. Now, that is what leadership is about. And, now he is sharing it with us. Oh, read his book if you really want to get an idea of how the war in Iraq went down. His book can be found on Amazon here:

  13. catorenasci

    Wow, Gen. Satterfield got to speak with Iraqis the day after the election to get their take on what happened and how they felt. What an opportune time to be there.

    1. Winston

      Yep, and now he is sharing a little about what he saw and heard. You will not find that in history books.

  14. Otto Z. Zuckermann

    I’m sure the Iraqi citizens were very happy after they were able to look back over election day itself. We in the Western world have no idea how important voting is for us. We take it for granted. And that the election is honest. Now we know from the 2020 election that is not true.

    1. Dale Paul Fox

      Hi Jerome, I see you are new to the leadership forums. Welcome. I’ve been reading this site now for over 5 years and find it interesting, funny, helpful, and the forum where we write is an open field of information you can use. Comment anytime and ask for help on your ideas if you need it.

    2. Jonnie the Bart

      Welcome Jerome. I see from your moniker that you were in the military. Vets are always welcome.

  15. Eric Coda

    Just a note to say great job to Gen. Satterfield for his work over the past few years to put together and keep going a leadership blog that is both entertaining and educational. I only wish that our universities of higher learning would take a ticket from your show and copy some of how you do business. Keep up the great work and keep showing our educational system how to do make things work.

  16. Forrest Gump

    Hi Gen. Satterfield, I recognize this from your book, ‘Our Longest Year in Iraq.’ Great book, by the way. Sits on my desk to refer to now and again. Hey, I’m looking forward to your next book too. ✔


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