November 9th, 2003


Dr. Frankenstein had days like this...

Senior US officials in the Bush administration are talking about scrapping their hand-picked Iraqi Council.

One Bush administration official said "We're unhappy with all of them. They're not acting as a legislative or governing body, and we need to get moving. They just don't make decisions when they need to."

Of course, to be a legislative or governing body, they would have to have a lot more power than they have now. As it stands, they have nearly no power and have openly expressed their frustrations with the US provisional government. Many of them have serious qualms about the legitimacy of crafting a constitution themselves, in fact, and believe that elections should take place first to determine who should draft Iraq's constitution. It's no wonder they feel this way, considering that they have already faced asassinations and asassination attempts.

You have to wonder whether a lot of the criticism of the council by members of the Bush administration stems from the overt criticism they have received, which has at times made the Iraqi Council an active opponent of US-imposed policies, such as in their opposition to Turkish troops in Iraq, or the auctioning off of whole segments of Iraq's economy to foriegn companies.

A few days back, Ahmad Chalabi, often thought to be the biggest pawn of the lot, said that "the Americans ... are singularly unsuited to deal with this kind of problem," and that attacks will continue until the US relinquishes control to the Iraqis.

If there is chaos in the Iraqi Council, it can directly be linked to the US decision to compose the council as if it were some kind of affirmative action effort, rather than letting the Iraqis decide for themselves who should rule. The end result has been a council that is both divisive and polarized, seperated by clans and religion, as if those were the only factors which defined Iraqi thought. It would be as if the US had a powerless provisional government that contained expatriots of dubious loyalties, southern baptist bible thumpers, a priest, a Rabbi, a Mormon, an irishman, a native american, a black activist, a hispanic labor leader... all hand-picked by the occupying force. Would we have any respect for such a group? Would we expect them to easily reach an agreement on how to run the country? Would we trust them to write our constitution for us? I don't think so.

The answer to Iraq's "constitutional crisis" is simple -- there are some fairly well-established regions in Iraq. Give Iraqis a given number of seats per region, based on population. Encourage candidates to come forward to run for those seats. Have them campaign and debate each other. And, finally, let the Iraqis choose the people who should write their constitution.

That would be democracy. That would get US soldiers home quicker. That would save lives... and that is what the Bush administration vehemently opposes doing. They are looking at being in Iraq for two years minimum, and so far, we've only been in Iraq for eight months.That means another 16 months, which could easily translate into over a thousand dead US soldiers, 10,000 wounded, and that number twice over sent home for reasons such as post-traumatic stress disorder and mental illness. Not exactly the kind of victory I'd like to lay claim to...