Friday, August 24, 2007

Having a bad day

Yesterday was a terrible day for the Bush administration's Iraq policies. Not only did the new National Intelligence Estimate from the nation's spy agencies offer bad news but a prominent Republican senator broke with the president on starting to withdraw troops from Iraq. The NIE said that while security was slowly improving in Iraq, the Iraqi government had failed to take necessary steps to stabilize the political situation in the country and might never be able to. The pro-pullout sentiment expressed by Sen. John Warner of Virginia, a former Navy secretary, can't be good news for the White House. Warner said the U.S. should begin pulling out its forces from Iraq as a warning to the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that the U.S. commitment was not open-ended. The U.S. wants the Iraqi government to work on bringing the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds together in the political arena and to pass a revenue sharing plan to distribute Iraq's oil revenue fairly among the factions. Of course, that's an extremely tall order for people who have hated each other for so long. And, as we've discussed, we can't tell a fellow democracy what to do. Democracies have to follow their own political processes to arrive at a consensus. Can you imagine what we'd say if another country told us to fix the distribution of wealth problem in the United States before we could buy any more oil?

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