Monday, December 06, 2004

Iraqi elections, Civil War, Merry Christmas!

So I haven't posted in quite some time. I could blame it on school, but that would be hooey, so I won't. I have no excuse.

But on to the really important point. Check out this story in the New York Times Week In Review that has everyone talking.

All my fears about civil war in Iraq seem to be coming to fruition. It didn't take a visionary to see it coming. The United States essentially allied itself with Kurds and Shiites, a sure-fire way to alienate the Sunnis. Not only that, but everytime you read "Iraqi forces," especially in the north of the country, you can replace that with "Kurdish forces." In any case, the article makes a great argument for why elections can't happen on January 30th. No election in which Sunni parties don't show will ever be legitimate.

So the Big Question becomes, can the Bush administration move to delay elections? The answer, I think, is "No." Not if it expects to have political capital to spend on its crazy domestic agenda (not "crazy" in the "crazy good" sense). Americans are itching to get our troops out of Iraq, while the Pentagon continues to send them in (it's always a few months too late with them). Meanwhile, 8 soldiers are suing the Pentagon to get home.

We have soldiers suing to leave, an American populace frustrated with a lack of progress, and a President with an extremely controversial domestic policy agenda in the pipes ("mandate" or no, there's no way you're going to reform Social Security without it being controversial, especially when you plan to increase a dangerously swollen deficit to do it). And the President is already feuding with his Republican Congress over the issue of the intelligence bill. If Bush pushes to delay elections in Iraq--the only chance they have at legitimacy--he will drive questions about the competency of the occupation into overdrive and create a political shitstorm that will clog the Congress, drain any momentum, and start Bush's lame duck Presidency very quickly.

So President Bush has a choice: Politically legitimate elections in Iraq or his own domestic agenda. Which do you think he will choose?

One final thing. To a crowing Matt Yglesias, I have only this to say. I love his blog, but his alma mater . . .


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