Thursday, February 14, 2008

Political reconciliation in Iraq

“Using old-fashioned behind-the-scenes politicking, Iraq’s Parliamentary leaders pushed through three divisive laws that had been delayed for months by bitter maneuvering between factions and, recently, threats to dissolve the legislative body. More than any legislation approved so far, the three measures have the potential to spur reconciliation between Sunnis and Shiites and set the country on the road to a more representative government…"

"Supporters of the American troop increase in 2007 touted it as a way to stabilize the country, bringing Iraqi politicians the political space they needed to pass legislation that could pave the way for reconciliation between the sects. For months it appeared that little was moving on the political front, but now it seems that the decline in violence did contribute to a change in the atmosphere.”

- New York Times, Feb 13, 2008

"At this point in the Democratic primary season, even a a delaration of surrenderby Qaeda in Iraq would probably be treated as further evidence of Bush Administration incompetence."

- The Wall Street Journal Feb 14, 2004

I would add the link to the New York Times quote but the editors have evidently slipped these two paragrahgs down the memory hole, a la 1984. Google remembers that they were there, and if you search any of the phrases in the quote Google will point you to an article on the achievement of the Iraqi parliament, but those two paragraphs are now conspicuously absent.

Oh, well, I guess that good news about Iraq is not "fit to print" in the nations's newspaper of record.

Regardless of the news coverage, this was a big deal. The Iraqis passed a budget for 2008, approved an important law on provincial government and authorized amnesty of thousands of Sunnis held in detention. They actually figured out how to compromise. They're learning.

The Continental Congress of the American colonies adopted out orginal governing document in 1777 after a year of debate. The Articles of Confederation, however, were not finally ratified by all the states until 1781. The Articles proved unworkable so we through the mess out and adopted out current Constitution on 1788. This performance was by a group of gentlemen who were very familiar with the theory and practice of democratic government.

I believe that the Iraqis are closely observing the American Presidential contest. I would expect more compromises out of the Iraqis as the year progresses and the Presidential race heats up.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Why I voted for John McCain

For the first time in my life, a week before a Presidential primary, I was undecided on the candidate for which I was going to cast my vote. That is, I was undecided for which Republican Presidential candidate I was going to vote since I have never voted for any Democratic candidates in the ten Presidential elections in which I have participated.

My long stated overriding criteria upon which I was going to select a candidate was his ability to beat whoever the Democratic party nominated. With this singular factor holding sway over my decision I was hampered by the inability of any candidate in either party to demonstrate that they were going to get the nomination.

There are a number of reasons that I am opposed to Senators Obama and Clinton. The primary reason for my opposition is their stated policies on the war in Iraq. If I had to choose between the two (and I don't) I would choose Clinton because I don't believe she will hold herself to her own campaign rhetoric if she took office and was REALLY responsible for the consequences of her actions. The sense that I get from listening to Obama (other than fear for myself, my family and my country) is that he actually believes what he says about Iraq and that he would be irresponsible enough to actually implement an immediate withdrawal of U.S troops, regardless of the consequences.

I am still unable to trust the Democratic party or their candidates with the security of the country and I believe that national security is the number one issue facing our country right now. The economy is going to get better - it always does. Evil, fanatical men are even now plotting the wholesale slaughter of our citizens right here in the homeland and this threat will remain for the rest of my lifetime, at least.

John McCain can defeat either Clinton or Obama in November. I reached this conclusion listening to John McCain's speech on CNN the night he won the South Carolina primary. And I carried that insight in my pocket as I entered the polling booth to vote for McCain in the Florida primary.

The biggest obstacle John McCain faces in reaching the White House comes not from the Democrats but from obstinate conservatives within his own party. Mitt Rommney had the good sense to see that prolonging his campaign was doing nothing but hurting his own party and the very issues for which he had been fighting. Every day that Mr. Huckabee continues in his hopeless endeavor casts doubt on his judgment and his real intentions.

And I still believe that far away in a cave Osama bin Laden is monitoring plots that he has already set in motion, plots that in his characteristic spectacular manner will try to influence the man or woman that we choose for the next President.