I have worked with elections and election preparations from Srebrenica to Kosovo to the Andes. As God is my witness I have never seen anything like what we are orchestrating in and for Iraq. Kosovo was bad, but Iraq scares me, and I am no "wimp". Working with international organisations as a civilian election and human rights professional, I also am not a militarist.
In Bosnia - where I've worked - and elsewhere, bombing people was not our "strategy" to encourage them to vote.
One terrible scenario of what is happening in Iraq reads the U.S. military/Shia militia attack on the mostly ethnic Sunni city of Fallujah as a turning point. If - as expected - the 30 January elections are dominated by the numerically dominant (but formerly marginalised) ethnic Shia population -- and if the (formerly dominant) minority ethnic Sunni (Saddam Hussein's ethnic group) largely do not vote, there will be an even greater possibility of civil war.
I'm sure thousands like me -- accustomed to working as international civilian election professionals (whose existence so many know so little about, especially Americans) -- dearly hope this assessment of the Iraq "election" situation is wrong. But we see certain things coming. The following quote is from an article titled City of Ghosts, published in the Guardian (UK). On the website I couldn't seem to find the author's name. The Guardian article ends:
"...The US military destroyed Falluja, but simply spread the fighters out around the country. They also increased the chance of civil war in Iraq by using their new national guard of Shias to suppress Sunnis. Once, when a foreign journalist, an Irish guy, asked me whether I was Shia or Sunni - the way the Irish do because they have that thing about the IRA - I said I was Sushi. My father is Sunni and my mother is Shia. I never cared about these things. Now, after Falluja, it matters."