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July 16, 2007
Haven't These Guys Heard Of Air Conditioning?
As far as public relations go, the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has a lot to learn. The Iraqi parliament has decided to take the entire month of August off. The stated reason is that Baghdad can get kind of steamy during the summer, with the temperature reaching 130 degrees at times. It's not like these folks have anything to do. According to the Administration's report released last week on Iraqi progress in achieving political benchmarks they themselves set, rather than go on vacation, perhaps they should be burning the midnight oil to come to grips with the numerous problems besetting the country. The report was generous in allowing that the Iraqis made "satisfactory" progress in 8 of the 16 major benchmarks listed. Some of that "progress" occurred 6 months or a year ago. Rather than burning the midnight oil, maybe they should bring cots into the legislative chamber in order to attend to the urgent matters at hand. And perhaps that's one of the real problems bedeviling the Iraqi government; there simply is no sense of the necessity to act now while the surge is beginning to make things marginally better. Bob Schieffer asks a good question about the weather:
How much hotter do you suppose it is if you are a wearing a helmet, full body armor, carrying ammunition and walking foot patrols through Baghdad? The last I heard, that is how American troops are spending their August in Iraq. I don't agree with Schieffer's conclusion - that we should simply abandon the holiday goers and let them cool off without the help of the US military. But his point about our boys and their burden is spot on. And Bob could have added that these young men and women were risking their lives on a daily basis to give the Iraqi government the time needed to pull together the factions and make a viable, representative government out of the sectarian madness that is currently gripping the country. So what does the Iraqi government do with that time? They apparently intend to use it to "beat the heat." A fine idea if you live in Washington, D.C. and go on a junket to someplace cooler - paid for by some lobbyist or another. But for an Iraqi member of parliament locked in a life and death struggle for freedom and democracy? They should be ashamed of themselves.