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June 3, 2005
Iraq Wants More US Involvement, Not Less

Today's Washington Post reports (on page A19) that the Iraqis, far from viewing Americans as an occupying force manipulating their politics and security, instead believe that we have withdrawn too much from both. The new government's foreign minister met with top US officials to request that the US involve itself more closely with efforts to get their permanent constitution written and to provide more leadership on security:

To prevent the breakdown of Iraq's troubled transition and a potential civil war, Iraq's new government appealed to the Bush administration yesterday to take a much more assertive role, particularly on four key political and military issues, according to Iraqi and U.S. officials.

In talks with Vice President Cheney yesterday and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari requested greater U.S. and coalition help in crafting a new constitution. The deadline is now less than three months away, but deliberations have been slowed as Iraq still works on the composition of a constitutional committee.

With time running out for writing the constitution and then holding elections in December for a permanent government, Zebari warned that the United States has withdrawn too much, leaving the new government struggling to cope and endangering the long-term prospects for success.

Specifically, Iraq wants the US to get around to confirming President Bush's nominee for John Negroponte's replacement as ambassador. Bush named Zalmay Khalilzad to the post last March, when he picked Negroponte for the new national intelligence czar post. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Dick Lugar and Joe Biden, have yet to hold hearings for Khalilzad despite the strategic and pressing nature of the appointment. The Post reports that Khalilzad will get his hearings next week, three months after his selection. That's because the SFRC was finally able to get past the higher-priority ambassadorial postings of the Slovak Republic, Malta, and Luxembourg in their last session.

By the way, expect to see some mild fireworks at Khalilzad's hearing. The Village Voice already alerted the Left that Khalilzad has -- gasp! -- worked for an oil company before. The nominee represented Unocal during the Clinton-era negotiations with the Taliban that hoped to establish a pipeline across Afghanistan to gain greater access to oil production in Central Asia and the Caucasus. The Ted Rall/Michael Moore contingent have long claimed that this effort was the true motivation behind the Afghanistan phase of the war on terror. This will give the Democrats an opportunity to show how far they've slid to the radical Left. If this thoroughly debunked conspiracy theory plays any role at Khalilzad's hearing, we'll know the lunatics have seized control of the asylum.

Iraq's efforts to bring Americans closer to the political and security processes of the new government shows that far from being oppressive occupiers, we probably have been too sensitive to the appearance of becoming that. We should quit worrying about appearances and make sure that the mission is successful.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 3, 2005 6:42 AM

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Boy, those Iraq's must be gluttons for punishment. It isn't enough that we've brutally occupied their country, tortured and flayed their innocent citizens, robbed them of their oil, and tried to ram a puppet government down their throats. Now the... [Read More]

Tracked on June 3, 2005 11:47 AM

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