Thursday, May 10, 2007

Iraq goes NIMBY

Republican politicians and conservative pundits have been refreshingly open over he last few years about our strategy in Iraq: it has been to invite all of the terrorists in the world to come to Iraq and spill Iraqi blood rather than coming to America and spilling American blood. This "fight them over there" strategy might sound good to some cowardly or consciousless Americans, but the Iraqis are less than fond of their role in that plan. Today, their democratically elected parliament asked for a change in that strategy.
A majority of Iraqi lawmakers endorsed a draft bill calling for a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops and demanding a freeze on the number already in the country, lawmakers said Thursday.

The legislation was being discussed even as U.S. lawmakers were locked in a dispute with the White House over their call to start reducing the size of the U.S. force in the coming months.

The proposed Iraqi legislation, drafted by the parliamentary bloc loyal to anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, was signed by 144 members of the 275-member house, said Nassar al-Rubaie, the leader of the Sadrist bloc.

The Sadrist bloc, which holds 30 parliamentary seats and sees the U.S.-led forces as an occupying army, has pushed similar bills before, but this was the first time it garnered the support of a majority of lawmakers.

This would appear to be a put up or shut up time in our relationship with Iraq. Is Iraq a free and sovereign democracy whose people are allowed to decide what their best interests are and how to pursue them? Or is Iraq a US puppet whose governing bodies are for show only? Of course, there is a third choice that avoids the showdown. Bush could use this as a teaching moment to instruct al Maliki in the theory of the unitary executive and the generous use of signing statements. Let the people and their representatives say whatever they want while the executive will do whatever he (or his owners) want. It's a win-win situation; the people get to have their say and Bush gets to have his way.

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