Perhaps the reason there's been so little depth to coverage is that everyone seems to be confused about the specifics of the plan. Here we have a London Times article from June 23 that states the following:
The 28-point package for national reconciliation will offer Iraqi resistance groups inclusion in the political process and an amnesty for their prisoners if they renounce violence and lay down their arms, The Times can reveal.Now compare to the following article from June 25 from the sleuths at MSNBC:
The Government will promise a finite, UN-approved timeline for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Iraq...
The prime minister made no mention of any timetable for the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces in a 24-point national reconciliation plan he presented to parliament.I tell you, that Iraqi Government's Communications Office sure has its operation running shipshape! 24 points vs 28 points; timetable or no timetable - it's all good! Under this fog of confusion, it's no wonder the traditional media isn't jumping at the opportunity to make a fool of itself.
Of course, if you happen to speak Arabic or Kurdish, you can try to get to the bottom of the plan yourself. I'm told it's somewhere on that page, but I'm just learning. Of course, given the inflammatory nature of the plan, no one should be surprised that English translations weren't high on their list of priorities.
Face the Nation's Bob Sheiffer actually commented(.pdf) on this confusion the Sunday after its announcement. He said that they were all ready to run with the Amnesty for Insurgents story, then "the Iraqi government sent out somebody on CNN to say, `Wait a minute. No way. This is not part of the plan.' Now it turns out, according to this leaked report to Newsweek, it is part of the plan." This is what we call a hot potato, and the following are the ways in which it smolders:
The Government will promise a finite, UN-approved timeline for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Iraq; a halt to US operations against insurgent strongholds; an end to human rights violations, including those by coalition troops; and compensation for victims of attacks by terrorists or Iraqi and coalition forces.
It will pledge to take action against Shia militias and death squads. It will also offer to review the process of “de-Baathification” and financial compensation for the thousands of Sunnis who were purged from senior jobs in the Armed Forces and Civil Service after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
The deal, which has been seen by The Times, aims to divide Iraqi insurgents from foreign fighters linked to al-Qaeda. It builds on months of secret talks involving Jalal al-Talabani, the Iraqi President, Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Ambassador, and seven Sunni insurgent groups.
The Prime Minister of Iraq is advancing a plan that would get a Democrat shellaqued and mounted on the wall. He's for a "date certain" for the withdrawal of occupying troops. He's against assaults on insurgent strongholds. He wants all prisoners treated humanely, regardless of their piecemeal Iraqi couture. He wants a "review" of de-Baathification, which, of course, means at least a limited reversal. He draws distinctions between "terrorists" and "freedom fighters," implicitly endorsing taking up arms against U.S. occupation troops.
This is a striking rebuke of the near entirety of Bush's "More of the Same" strategy for Iraq. How many assaults on insurgent strongholds have we seen? How many times have we conquered Fallujah? How many times has Bush stressed that withdrawal by a date certain would deliver victory to the terrorists, and make America less safe? How many times have we heard that because the insurgents don't fight in uniforms, they don't deserve protections from the "quaint" Geneva Conventions? On how many Sunday morning shows has the decision to extensively de-Baathify the Iraqi government been defended? And how many times have I heard Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage or Boortz deride the idea of "freedom fighters" in their best tone of mockery? I can hear the chorus now.
Where is our media control? Weren't us liberals supposed to control the media? Aren't five Jew-Bankers involved, or something?
Why aren't we hearing about this, and talking about how we can mesh it with George W. Bush's ostensible goals for Iraq? Shouldn't this destroy the GOP's 2006 Iraq-central election strategy?