I know that we want Iraq to adopt many of the political values we have here in America, what with the democracy and all, but this is ridiculous. They've taken Bush's leadership to heart and are going on a summer vacation, critically pressing business be damned!
That's right, despite the total lack of political progress - the very progress that was this Surge's sole purpose to enable - the Iraqi government is going on a two month vacation... errr, I mean, "home work session." They have to consult with their constituents, of course, despite the fact that if they press too much flesh they're in serious danger of ending up blindfolded in someone's trunk. Furthermore, I'm not sure how much consultation they really require: "Oh, so you're saying you want the government to do something to insure security? Man, I sure am glad I went on this vacation to keep me grounded with the real concerns of the people!" Give me a break. Just tell it like it is, Parliament - that living in the bubble of the greenzone amidst the falling mortars is "hard work," and you need to go clear some brush to keep the ol' governing juices flowing.
I was stunned when I heard, frankly, but when I saw it confirmed on a brace of Sunday shows - once by the President of Iraq, I believe, on CNN - I was convinced I hadn't imagined it. If the Iraqis take the two month vacation they're talking about, that's it. The jig is up back here in America. Our boys are buying the Iraqi government time with their blood. Every day that goes by without action, more American lives are wasted for people that have no real value for the sacrifice. There aint no way that they can go on vacation without making progress toward political reconciliation. When they come back, there might not be any Americans waiting for them.
So, it's clear that I feel the moral calculus should compel the Iraqis to forgo their vacations. The real question is how our government will deal with this radioactive potato. The fact is that back here in the States this is a political catastrophe, and could spell the final death of support for this war. Nothing could send the message of the futility of our "strategy" so clearly. It will be interesting to see how we go about twisting arms to forestall the storm. I would expect us to go to the mat behind closed doors, eagerly issuing ultimatums. This is a case where even President Bush might support the "do it our way or we're leaving" threat, since this is an existential threat to the effort anyway.
Can we do this over the phone, or do we send an enforcer? This seems like a face-to-face confrontation to me. Let's see how much control of their internal affairs this "sovereign" government really has.