- Congressman: McAuliffe victory means gun control a winning message
- Clinton aide admits soliciting disgraced D.C. fundraiser; says actions were legal
- Joel Osteen church victimized in $600K theft
- Obama goes shopping at Gap as minimum-wage thanks
- N.J. woman charged after client dies from black-market butt injections
- CIA chief Brennan ‘determined’ to speak out more this year
- Reset? What reset? U.S.-Russia ties at worst since Cold War
- 9/11 terror recruiter released in Syrian prisoner swap
- D.C. elections board gives green light to marijuana legalization initiative
- Elephants can tell difference between human languages: study
U.N. ‘misspoke’ about Iraq-election help
NEW YORK — The United Nations is backing away from its criticism of the U.S. troops’ “get-out-the-vote” effort in Iraq, criticism the Pentagon apparently agreed with.
Carina Perelli, who has been organizing U.N. assistance for Sunday’s election in Iraq, said on Wednesday that U.S. soldiers “have been extremely, I would say, over enthusiastic in trying to help out with this election.”
In response to a reporter’s question about American troops’ distribution of informational leaflets, she added, “We have been basically saying that they should try to minimize their participation because this is an Iraqi process.”
Miss Perelli indicated that she and fellow U.N. elections officer Carlos Valenzuela who has been in Iraq for months, have been “begging” U.S. officials to lower the military’s profile during the campaign period.
But yesterday, U.N. spokeswoman Marie Okabe said that Miss Perelli “misspoke,” and said “she did not intend to criticize the military’s profile.”
“We all know it is a sensitive time before the election. We don’t want anything we say to be misinterpreted, distract from the main focus and become a divisive issue,” Miss Okabe said. “Everyone agrees that we want the Iraqi elections to proceed.”
Informed Wednesday evening of Miss Perelli’s comments, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and Army Gen. John Abizaid, chief of the U.S. Central Command, seemed mystified that troops would be involved in get-out-the-vote activities.
“Millions of Iraqis are going to go vote because they want to vote, and American soldiers do not have the mission to get the vote out,” Gen. Abizaid told reporters.
Images of U.S. troops handing out leaflets and general voter information have been broadcast on CNN and have appeared in U.S. newspapers in recent weeks. Reporters have accompanied troops as they handed out educational pamphlets.
Miss Okabe said yesterday that U.S. officials had not complained to the United Nations about the remarks, nor had there been pressure to rescind them.
Asked why the organization would publicly contradict one of its respected technical experts if there had not been a complaint, Miss Okabe said the statement, issued Wednesday evening, spoke for itself.
The United Nations has printed 21 million ballots for Sunday’s election.
Nearly 150,000 Iraqis have been trained as poll workers, and additional election monitors will be present representing a variety of political parties.
Kieran Prendergast, the U.N. chief political adviser, said that despite its efforts in Iraq, the United Nations would not be certifying the legitimacy of the elections.
An America drowning in red ink is the land of the free no more
- Inside the Beltway: A new interest in Rahm Emanuel for 2016?
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- David Jolly wins in Florida, GOP keeps swing district seat
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- 80 people publicly executed across North Korea for films, Bibles
- Liam Neeson tells NYC mayor to 'man up' in horse carriage fight
- House Democrats trying to force unemployment insurance vote
- Atheists sue to remove 'Ground Zero Cross' from 9/11 museum
- Florida lawmakers move to wipe corrupt 'Boss Hogg' town from map
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again