Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Role Reversal in Iraq

Today’s New York Times reports a “closed-door meeting” that its reporter was allowed to put on the record:

“In a Sunday afternoon discussion that mixed gentle coaxing with a sober appraisal of politics in Baghdad and Washington, the commander, Adm. William J. Fallon, told Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki that the Iraqi government should aim to complete a law on the division of oil proceeds by next month.

“Iraq’s Shiite dominated-government, Admiral Fallon added in the meeting, has consolidated power and should have the confidence to reach out to its opponents. ‘You have the power,’ Admiral Fallon said. ‘You should take the initiative.’”

Ryan C. Crocker, the American Ambassador to Iraq, was also present, but while the Admiral, our top Commander in the Middle East, was offering political counsel, there is no indication that the Ambassador was advising al-Maliki on military matters.

The Iraqis must be getting a weird impression of how democracy, American style, is supposed to work.

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