Now for a headline you really don't need: "Iraq's new parliament convened in brief symbolic session," Fox News reported, "as political blocs remain deadlocked." Right. You could argue with the word "new;" the parliament was elected just over three months ago on March 7th. Of course, we have a two month gap between our November elections and the new Congress coming into session in January, but our old Congress stays on and does whatever business needs doing. Not so in Iraq.
In case you've forgotten, and who could blame you, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's bloc lost. Another group, headed by Ayad Allawi, won. But Maliki is still prime minister. Any talks, any negotiations about a coalition government, or anything like that? No. According to its constitution, the new legislature should have chosen a permanent speaker and a president by now, but of course it hasn't. The "brief symbolic" session lasted twenty minutes and did nothing. The acting speaker said the parties needed more time to discuss the issue.
The short session had heightened security; terrorist attacks remain a threat, though you have to wonder why they'd bother. One Iraqi diplomat said it might take from two weeks to three months before parliament meets again. You have to wonder why they'd bother too.
Years ago during America's wretched involvement in the Vietnam War George Aiken, a wise Republican senator from Vermont, suggested a policy: Declare victory and leave.
Sure wish he were around today.
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