"There's a certain level of frustration with the leadership in general," Mr Bush said today, after two senior US senators suggested Iraq's parliament remove Mr Maliki's government if it fails to make progress on national reconciliation.
While Mr Bush acknowledges the Baghdad government is failing to live up to expectations, he plans to issue a stark warning in a speech tomorrow that an early US withdrawal from Iraq could have traumatic consequences similar to the Vietnam War's bloody aftermath. The Australian
"In Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge began a murderous rule in which hundreds of thousands of Cambodians died by starvation, torture, or execution. In Vietnam, former American allies, government workers, intellectuals, and businessmen were sent off to prison camps, where tens of thousands perished. " The Australian
I thought we had learned not to push our "friends" this way. Ngo Dinh Diem's placid face and white suits should haunt us. We connived at his removal and no subsequent government achieved real legitimacy in the eyes of the Vietnamese (or us).
What the clever people in this administration seem to "miss" is that there is no one in Iraq who will do any better at stabilizing the country than Maliki.
We re-made the government on the basis of individual rights and interests but the Iraqis don't function that way. They think of themselves as members of groups, just like the bonzes who burned themselves on the streets of Saigon so long ago.
Maliki knows that his real job is to ensure that the Shia Arabs will be the "overdogs." In his mind he is the defender of Shia rights in Iraq. Someone else would merely be the defender of some other group. There are a few, like Allawi, who think of themselves PRIMARILY as Iraqi, but we saw how well he did at election time. What a disappointment that must have been.
We keep "screwing up" in places like Vietnam and Iraq because we (as a people) do not accept the relevance of history and cultural difference. We insists on believing people are all pretty much the same and that they will behave as we think we would behave. Nonsense. We and another set of peoples have paid the price for that cultural blindness once again.
"Swapping" Maliki for someone else would be pointless. The groups will not share power and wealth amicably. In their minds that is simply arming and equipping one's enemies.
We are doing the right thing now in Anbar and Diyala. In those places we are balancing real forces not constitutional fantasies. Let us get on with that process and start working toward real accommodation with the neighboring states. pl
Oh, by the way. US forces had been completely out of VN for two years when the NVA attacked in violation of the cease-fire and over-ran the country. pl