Sunday, June 25, 2006

24 points, and a thousand times no

Maliki issues his 24-point plan, marked down from 28. Hurrah! It calls for a timetable for American withdrawal, without actually suggesting one. An amnesty, except for people who committed “criminal and terrorist acts and war crimes.” But jay-walkers need no longer live in fear of a midnight knock on the door. For those others, “we present a fist with the power of law to protect our country and people”; “No and a thousand times no. There can be no deal with them until they have been justly punished.” My impression that Maliki is a bit of a blowhard is not diminishing over time. It’s unclear whether or not the amnesty applies to people who just killed Americans, since the “terrorist acts” thing might or might not include that (depending on whether you ask an American or an Iraqi, really). Also, he didn’t say how they’d determine who had committed those acts which are ineligible for the amnesty. In other words, on this key provision, as on the timetable, he decided to fudge. He says that foreign troops should respect human rights. Rummy says, “Yeah, we’ll get right on that.”

What else? Ensuring the army is run on “professional and patriotic lines,” presumably by professional patriots. Compensation, from who knows what source, for victims of terrorism, ethno-sectarian cleansing, de-Baathification and military operations. Adoption of a rational discourse. National dialogue. A united stand against terrorists. Pretending that Iraq’s elected bodies are solely responsible for decisions regarding Iraq’s sovereignty and the presence of foreign troops. Yet more national dialogue. And then, for dessert, some national dialogue.

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