Another piece of the facade crumbled away today as six Iraqi cabinet ministers resigned. Edward Wong and Graham Bowley write for the New York Times:
Political followers of Moktada al-Sadr, the Shiite cleric, said today that their six cabinet ministers would quit their posts in government in protest at the refusal of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to set a timetable for American troops to withdraw from Iraq.
Apparently al-Sadr issued an order. Most of the rest of the article is a catalog of the weekend’s bombings and suicide attacks. Grim stuff.
Juan Cole writes,
The [al-Sadr] movement’s 32 parliamentarians will continue to attend sessions of the legislature, but presumably would vote against the prime minister in a vote of no confidence. The Sadrists want the Iraqi government to insist on setting a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, and are annoyed that PM al-Maliki publicly rejected that approach recently when he was in Japan.
Professor Cole cites this Christian Science Monitor article by Sam Dagher, which describes the Iraqi government as “increasingly disoriented and dysfunctional.” Support for the government among the Iraqi people continues to erode. Dagher continues,
While Iraqis have indeed expressed disappointment with the progress being seen inside government, the lack of significant headway is also frustrating American efforts. The US plan to secure Baghdad, and the success of President Bush’s new strategy in Iraq, have been tied to political “benchmarks.”
In January, when Mr. Bush announced the new plan in Iraq, he said that the US would hold the government “to the benchmarks that it has announced.” Those include: passing legislation to share oil revenues, spending $10 billion on reconstruction, planning for provincial elections, and reforming de-Baathification laws.
The government has made little visible progress on any of those benchmarks.
Yesterday Vice President Dick “Final Throes” Cheney predicted on CBS “Face the Nation” that congressional Dems will back down on timetables and give President Bush a “clean” bill (that doesn’t “tie the hands” of “commanders on the ground,” blah blah blah). Ben Feller writes for the Associated Press:
However, the Senate Armed Services Committee â€˜s chairman said Congress wonâ€˜t relent in winding down the war.
“We are very, very serious about what the American people said in November,” Levin said, referring to the election that put Democrats in charge of Congress. “They want a change of course.”
“He has misled the people consistently on Iraq,” Levin said. “He has misstated. He has exaggerated. And I donâ€˜t think he has any credibility left with the American people.”
The purpose of that session on Wednesday is to discuss how to get a war-funding bill done, yet no negotiation is expected.
Wait for it …
Cheney, though, said U.S. and Iraqi forces are making progress.
Today’s question is, has Cheney ever been right? Since he’s been veep, anyway? I’m sure he’s noticed storm clouds and predicted rain a few times in his life. I assume he predicted he and the Creature would win the 2004 elections. But in every other pronouncement he has made since January 2001 — has he ever once been bleeping right?
Especially on Iraq. Greet us with flowers. Final throes. And how he says the U.S. and Iraqi forces are “making progress.” Please. I swear, if that man predicted the sun would come up in the morning, I’d fear for a galactic catastrophy.