Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Not a culture of benchmarks

Iraqi politicians are pushing back in defense of their two-month vacation. (Honestly, what’s the big deal? It’s not like half of them show up anyway, and many MPs and even cabinet ministers live permanently in other countries. In the end, they’ll say they’re canceling the vacation and no one will show up.) The speaker of the Iraqi parliament, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, decried demands that the vacation be canceled: “I think this attitude is crude and unacceptable.” He demonstrated his own sophisticated and acceptable attitude by suggesting that they “had better try and control Nancy Pelosi rather than Mahmoud al-Mashhadani.”

And Iraq’s national security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie was in Washington today telling members of Congress to get over themselves and not try to make Iraqi politicians move any faster than they feel like moving, or as he put it, “ramming it down our throats by midnight on September 15”: “this is all about Iraq. This is not about Washington. We need to sync the Washington clock to the Baghdad clock.” Clock? Surely you mean perpetual calendar. He added that Iraq’s is “not a culture of benchmarks.” He seems inexplicably proud of that, doesn’t he?

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