Sunday, August 15, 2004

An Iraqi solution--shudder

I’m a little unclear about the whole Najaf thing at this point, and I’m not getting a lot of help. The WaPo was told that decisions about timing of military operations were made not by the US but by Allawi, in a blatant bit of playacting--oo, he’s so powerful he can tell the Marines to stop and they will--AND THEY FELL FOR IT! The LA Times quotes a US major, "Allawi has decided there has to be an Iraqi solution to the problem." Ah, Vietnamization. Negotiations failed; the Allawi clique (dammit I can’t call it a government, it’s not one, and I feel silly using the word puppet over and over) is blaming Sadr for refusing their demands that his forces give up their weapons and leave Najaf (it was never clear to me what the Allawiistas were offering in exchange for this complete surrender), and for Sadr failing to meet with them personally, which they were curiously insistent on, if you get my drift.

And Najaf’s police chief has ordered all foreign media to leave the city immediately. Maybe he’s just planning a surprise party and doesn’t want it ruined.

Meanwhile, the "National Conference," yet another group of Iraqi "leaders" who were actually appointed by the Americans, will meet in Baghdad today after several postponements. The 1,300 conferees will choose a 100-member national assembly, whose first task, if I understand traditional Iraqi practices, will be to bury the bodies of the other 1,200. Oh stop it, like you weren’t thinking the same thing. Shiite groups including Sadr’s are not participating, and it's not that clear who is. Al Jazeera, exaggerating only slightly, says "The names of the ‘representatives’ have not been made available, nor is it known who they represent or who has chosen them." (Correction: actually they're choosing only 80 members, the other 20 will be from the American-appointed governing council.)

McGreevey had polls done on the "I am a gay American" line. Now why would a guy resigning his office and presumably leaving political life need to do that? And I wonder what other slogans they tested. Still, it would say something about the progress of tolerance in America if he could make this about his gayness rather than corruption, if Golan Cipel could be the distraction that a black and white cocker spaniel was for Richard Nixon, and let’s not make a big deal about the "cocker spaniel" thing, sometimes a breed of dog is just a breed of dog.

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