Monday, July 16, 2007

On Blaming the Iraqi Government

Stephen Suh:

Apparently Iraqi lawmakers are not as easy to push around as American, because in spite of Cheney's orders, they appear to be taking a vacation next month. Tony Snow recently appealed to the American generosity of spirit, claiming that they needed the time off, since it's "130 degrees in Baghdad in August." He also noted that the US Congress takes the month off from legislative sessions.

There is simply no reason for this to be news. Or is there some piece of legislation that the Iraqi Parliament could pass which would restore order and peace to the country? Is that all we're waiting for?

Of course not. But we have been primed to think of the Iraqi government as incompetent, lazy, the real root of the ongoing problems there.

Indeed. There's a lot of talk about this, about prodding the Iraqi government along. The whole point of the surge was to give the Iraqi government "breathing space." And as Stephen explains, it's easy for both Democrats and Republicans alike to blame the Iraqi lawmakers, though for different reasons. But make no mistake about it: the Iraqi government is filled to the brim with lawmakers who are lazy, selfish, greedy, corrupt, but also those who are noble, well-meaning, hard-working, thoughtful and patriotic. But above even these traits, many of those lawmakers are there to represent their party, their tribe, and their sect. This is the real reason nothing substantial is getting done; because enough of these lawmakers will prevent anything from getting done which isn't in their group's best interest. The government is riddled by the same sectarian divisions which split Iraq as a whole, and nothing is likely to be solved except that which can be solved by the gun.

UPDATE: I should note that blaming the Iraqi government for its failings is not the same thing as blaming the Iraqi people for being incapable of democracy or orderly government. I think it's fair to point out the failings of the government, even as part of an argument for leaving or staying. Blaming the Iraqi people for the civil war that we touched off is ridiculous, as it wasn't their choice to plunge pell-mell into chaos.

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