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September 4, 2006
Key Iraqi leader questions cut and run
Today, columnist Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post reports important leaders in the new Iraqi democracy want assurances that the U.S.will not cut and run. Given the gravity of this request, of course the Post reported this on the front page above the fold. Oh, my mistake, it ran on the Op—Ed page A19. Despite this rather quixotic editorial placement this meeting will soon be recognized as an important development on the Iraqi front.
Diehl's report came out of a meeting he and several other journalists held with Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi in Washington prior to Labor Day. Mahdi is one of the Iraqis whove have laid their lives on the line, working tirelessly to get this fledgling democracy off the ground.
According to Diehl, Mahdi called his meetings with President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and key senators and congressmen a "private visit." His principal purpose was to deliver a message, and ask a question, on behalf of influential Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. Mahdi recounted Sistani's message at the reporter's meeting that "Iraqis are sticking to the principles of the constitution and democracy."
But the ayatollah wanted to know if the United States is still on board as well?
Confused reading the American press? Brother, I know how you feel. Do I ever. The American press have so twisted and distorted their reporting on the war in Iraq it is difficult to know where to begin unraveling this mess. Compounding this problem for a guy like Vice President Mahdi is the natural mistake of equating American popular opinion to the reporting coming out of the most prominent mainstream media outlets. President Bush needs to remind the Vice President that he won a decisive majority of the popular vote with the entire mainstream media aligned against him.
Perhaps the President should send Mahdi a tape of the joint press conference President Bush held with Prime Minister Singh of India from July of 2005.
Diehl reports Mahdi, Sistani and other Shiite leaders in the government don't share Washington's perception of a downward spiral. He says that the many ideas for silver bullets tossed around in the U.S. debate by the likes of Joe Biden and John Murtha mostly don't interest them.
Diehl then launches into a first person account of the Q & A session. He describes the journalists as "peppering" Mahdi with questions like: why has the formation of a unity government had failed to reduce the violence? What about all the options usually talked about in Washington —— from a rewrite of the constitution to a partition of the country; from an international conference to the dispatch of more U.S. troops?
Diehl said he and the other reporter's queries were politely dismissed. Here's what else Mahdi said:
Fortunately one of the crack reporters thought to ask the $64 billion question: "What is the solution?"
Brick by Brick. Yes, that's how it's done. Notably, Mahdi is not the first Iraqi to blow away the press with such sensible, realistic and responsible leadership. Former interim Prime Minister Allawi was doing the rounds of the Sunday shows in Washington shortly after his election. This was in the midst of the media's Abu Garib Prison scandal orgy. Russert asked him if he would be tearing down the notorious prison to rid Iraq of this terrible trauma inflicted on these poor people by the great satan. Allawi answered Russert to this effect: are you out your mind? Why in the world we do that? Faced with that dud, Russert sat their like a plant that needs water. Then they cut to the Weedeater commercial or something.
Finally, Diehl did a little editorializing himself. He'd better change his email address, this is really going stir up the lefty bloggers. This seems to be a fair assessment of the current situation. And his conclusion asks all the right questions.
This is one of the more informative pieces I have read recently. Mahdi's assessment reflects the stark realities while holding out hope Iraq will eventually succeed. This seems about right to me. The Democrats will blithely dismiss this call and their media allies will probably spin it to death or bury it. The War in Iraq is far too important for this kind of partisan hackery.
Diehl is a card carrying member of the MSM. He is usually reflexively critical of the Bush administration. Based on the way Diehl reported this story, it appears Mahdi had a profound impact on him. We can only hope that this message makes its way to the American people.
Christopher Alleva 9 0506