Iraqi Elections Face Delay; Dye Manufacturers Can't Meet Production Dates
Says Holiday Season Causing Overload At Plants; "Not Enough Purple Left To Meet Expected Vote Turnout"
As President Bush took the stage today, at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., to give a speech backing his new "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" strategy released by the White House earlier this morning, word came down that the scheduled December 15th Iraqi elections may have be delayed, indefinitely, due to a lack of dye.
The Iraqis have used a purple dye to verify voters in their previous election, held last year.
A spokesperson for the American Dye Manufacturers Association (ADMA - We Color The World) confirmed that the White House was contacted today and advised that production overloads, due to the holiday season, will cause a back-up in producing enough purple dye to meet the expected voter turnout in Iraq.
"We're totally swamped right now", said Ted Gelona, ADMA spokesperson. "We're coming off Halloween and Thanksgiving, which is a big order period for our members and were run right smack into Christmas, or the holiday season, I'm not sure what we're calling it this year."
Gelona indicated that plants are running at full capacity, 24/7, just to meet standard, yearly orders, from producers such as Christmas ornaments, wrapping paper and "the punk rock and Metallica crowds, for their hair".
"Tinsel is also up there this year", said Gelona. "We've seen a huge spike in tinsel, and in many new colors. It's caused a big strain on the system".
There was no official comment from the White House after receiving the news. A flurry of activity was witnessed in the West Wing and local Washington D.C. office supply stores indicated a flood of calls and website hits, for items like magic markers and felt-tipped pens. There was one report of a Staples store in nearby Arlington, Virginia being cleared out by the Secret Service and White House interns entering to shop behind them.
In Iraq, President Jalal Talabani was reported to be "very irate", for both, hearing the news of no purple dye from the wire services and the likely potential of having to postpone the elections.
A spokesperson for the National Assembly indicated that "we only have a very small supply of purple dye left over … Not nearly enough for a national election."
In the President's new "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq," a 35-page document, there are no contingency plans for the supply of purple dye for Iraqi elections nor do any of the outlines for training the Iraqis calls for purple dye production.
A senior administration official indicated that "there isn't enough time to train the Iraqis to manufacture purple dye".
"The President again rejected setting a timetable for withdrawal," offered the official, "so, from a military view, the lack of dye doesn't have a great impact."
Gelona said that the ADMA is preparing to offer the Bush Administration and the Iraqi government a "discounted supply of discontinued colors" to meet the election demand.
"We have a good inventory of discontinued colors", said Gelona. "Enough for a few elections. But they'll have to mix-and-match, it just won't be all the same color. We have some pastels, that really didn't strike the public's fancy and we have some variations of green that, I think, was tied into a promotion when some Impressionist show was going on."
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reed (D-NV) was quick to criticize the purple dye shortage.
"I think it would be appropriate for the Iraq voters to have a bunch of different colored fingers," said Reed. "It would be a clear demonstration of this Administration's policies in Iraq and their ability to handle a detail like having enough purple dye".
In Washington, reporter and author Bob Woodward, in an article in today's 'Washington Post', admitted that he knew of the upcoming Iraqi elections "over a year ago" but didn't tell his editor or colleagues.
To dispel rumors of a White House in turmoil, Vice President Dick Cheney offered his public pledge to stand behind the new "National Strategy For Victory In Iraq" at a ceremony in the auditorium inside his Secret Bunker
Wednesday, November 30, 2005