Precious Cargo

Refreshingly Bitter And Twisted Observations On Life's Passing Parade.

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Location: Valley Village, California, United States

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

What Iraqi Government Are We Dying For?

Iraq Parliament Finds a Quorum Hard to Come By

BAGHDAD, Jan. 23 — Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, the speaker of Parliament, read a roll call of the 275 elected members with a goal of shaming the no-shows.

Ayad Allawi, the former prime minister? Absent, living in Amman and London. Adnan Pachachi, the octogenarian statesman? Also gone, in Abu Dhabi.

Others who failed to appear Monday included Saleh Mutlak, a senior Sunni legislator; several Shiites and Kurds; and Ayad al-Samaraei, chairman of the finance committee, whose absence led Mr. Mashhadani to ask: “When will he be back? After we approve the budget?”

It was a joke barbed with outrage. Parliament in recent months has been at a standstill. Nearly every session since November has been adjourned because as few as 65 members made it to work, even as they and the absentees earned salaries and benefits worth about $120,000.

Even with the incredible incentive of a $120,000 salary, the members of the Iraqi parliament can’t even be bothered to show up to run their own country. Last year, Juan Cole pointed out that 40% of the Iraqi parliament don’t even live in Iraq.

Contrary to Bush, we’re not there supporting a fledgling democracy while it becomes self-sustaining. There is no functioning government in Iraq, let alone anything resembling a democracy. There is a US puppet, Nouri al Maliki, who’s a stage managed front for al Sadr’s Shiite theocracy. There is nothing there worth supporting.

As Clear As Mud

Dennis Prager, glorying in Bush’s SOTU speech, repeated one of his favorite tropes, how he doesn’t care about agreement, only about moral clarity. How can anyone who cares about clarity recommend Bush’s incoherence? Here’s Slate’s Fred Kaplan filleting part of Bush’s speech:

What is most head-shaking of all is that, after four years of this war, the president once more fell short of making its case. As in the past, he said that it's very important—"a decisive ideological struggle," he called it, adding, "nothing is more important at this moment in our history than for America to succeed." And yet he also said that America's commitment to the war is "not open-ended." How can both claims be true? If nothing is more important, it must be open-ended. If it's not open-ended, it can't be all that important.

I don't think Bush is so stupid that he doesn't see the inconsistency here. His speech is written by a staff of professional writers, so I'm sure that these statements were intentional. Bush wants to impress us with the importance of the war and scare us into supporting him. At the same time, he actually wants us to believe that he might end the occupation. Both statements are lies intended to appeal to supporters and opponents of this war. The arrogance and contempt this man has for us is boundless.

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