Turning in the Wind on the Baathists

Let’s be perfectly clear – the de-Baathification policy was one instituted in the period immediately following the takeover of Iraq by the US government in the form of the Coalition Provisional Authority. This is not a policy that originated with any Iraqi authority. It is clear, however, that in the circumstances it serves Maliki perfectly well. Let’s just be certain we understand that the de-Baathification policy is one of George Bush’s virtually infinite list of fuck-ups in the entire prosecution of this immoral, illegal, unconscionable visitation of violence upon the people of Iraq. What the administration now advocates is a 180-degree reversal of their original position.

This seems to be clear evidence that BushCo had no conception of what they were doing in Iraq to begin with. The depth of understanding of the existing politics, culture and religion has been repeatedly shown to be remarkably shallow. We said once previously that the administration should be indicted for incompetence. This is just another in the long list of examples of that trait.

Iraqi allies, U.S. split on Baathist policy
By Paul Richter, Times Staff Writer
February 24, 2007

WASHINGTON — Serious new divisions have emerged between the Bush administration and its Iraqi allies over the Baghdad government’s refusal to enact a reform that the White House considers crucial to its new strategy for bringing the country’s violence under control.

In spite of a commitment by Iraq’s prime minister to its passage, legislation that would ease rules barring former members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party from government service has been blocked by the country’s Shiite-dominated parliament.

U.S. officials repeatedly have expressed confidence that Prime Minister Nouri Maliki would work for passage of “de-Baathification” reform. However, they have begun to express disappointment over the Iraqi stalemate, saying that the reform remains a top political priority and is essential to convince the country’s Sunni minority that it can receive fair treatment in the new system.

One U.S. official said the reform, far from advancing as promised, was “moving backward” and “almost dead in the water.”

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and State Department official David Satterfield, her top Iraq advisor, paid an unannounced visit to Baghdad last weekend for consultations with top Iraqi officials. But on this issue, aides said, they came away discouraged.

Read the rest of it here.

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