What’s wrong with this picture (besides my little tweak to it)? And why is Bush mostly getting a free pass for referring to the new Iraqi government as “complete?”
It’s not an exact analogy, but try this on…
Imagine after the last U.S. presidential election, it took four months of back room dealing before Bush was determined the winner. Then, imagine Bush faced such dissension (from both within his own party and without) that he was unable to name an acceptable cabinet. Assume then that the Administration negotiated a full month with Congress before coming to an agreement on who would administer key governmental departments. Then picture Bush on the day of his swearing-in announcing that — in spite of the country’s domestic security and overseas military entanglements — the Administration had still been unable to name a Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Homeland Security and Director of National Intelligence.
In the photo above (highlighted in front, l to r) we have Deputy Prime Minister and acting Defense Minister Salam Zikam Ali al-Zubaie, new Iraqi Prime Minister and acting Interior Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister and acting Minister of State Security Barham Saleh.
The way the Administration is treating this debacle, the term “delusional” comes to mind. Courtesy of the LAT, here’s what the Administration offered up this weekend regarding the Iraqi cabinet:
In an interview with NBC’s Tim Russert, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the formation of the Iraqi Cabinet was “a real step forward” because “you have the first elected government that is there to govern, not just to prepare elections or to prepare a constitution, but to govern permanently.”
U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, who was deeply involved in the negotiations that helped bring Maliki to power, told the Associated Press that the Cabinet “completes the political transition in Iraq.”
Sorry, but it’s plain subterfuge for Don Zal to use the word “complete” in a sentence having to do with this Iraqi Cabinet.
If you track the newswires, you’ll notice that the Iraqi government is parading these three men around to reinforce the idea the new government can contain the security problem. In fact, putting these three front and center only emphasizes their status as stand-ins, broadcasting how the new government was unable — after months and months of negotiations and pressure — to produce reliable figures to take on these absolutely critical roles.
Maybe America will look the other way, but I can’t believe for a moment the Iraqi people aren’t thoroughly disheartened by such a demonstration.
(image 1: Khalid Mohammed/AP. May 20, 2006. Baghdad. Via YahooNews. image 2: Ahmad al-Rubaye. May 21, 2006. Baghdad. Via YahooNews. )