August 21, 2007

Levin Demands New Iraqi Government

In what appears to be the new Democratic strategy to end the war, Senator Carl Levin has declared Nouri al-Maliki and his government "non-functional" and demanded that the Iraqi National Assembly replace them immediately. The focus on Maliki as the ultimate villain comes as other Democrats concede that the military has made real progress on Iraqi security with the surge:

Declaring the government of Iraq "non-functional," the influential chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said yesterday that Iraq's parliament should oust Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his cabinet if they are unable to forge a political compromise with rival factions in a matter of days.

"I hope the parliament will vote the Maliki government out of office and will have the wisdom to replace it with a less sectarian and more unifying prime minister and government," Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) said after a three-day trip to Iraq and Jordan.

Levin's statement, the most forceful call for leadership change in Iraq from a U.S. elected official, comes as about two dozen lawmakers are traveling to Iraq during Congress's August break to glean firsthand assessments before receiving a progress report next month from Gen. David H. Petraeus, the U.S. commander there, and Ryan C. Crocker, the U.S. ambassador.

Not every Democrat has come back from Iraq supporting a drawdown of U.S. forces in the coming months, as party leaders have advocated. Staking out positions that could complicate efforts to achieve party unity in September, a few Democratic lawmakers have returned expressing support for a continued troop presence. One of them, Rep. Brian Baird (Wash.), said yesterday that he will no longer vote for binding troop withdrawal timelines.

This isn't exactly goalpost-shifting, but it comes close. The surge intended to give the Iraqi government some breathing room from violence to institute reforms -- reforms demanded by the US, specifically Congress. Progress on those reforms has been slow, and the August recess of the Iraqi parliament has annoyed many in both parties here.

However, the Iraqi Prime Minister has made some recent steps towards building the kind of coalition that could produce those reforms. He has dumped Moqtada al-Sadr in favor of Sadr's opponents in the south, who have been more amenable to better sectarian relations than the Mahdi Army leader. He convinced that group, the Islamic Council, to sign a compact of cooperation with the Kurds. Maliki traveled to Tikrit last week to humble himself before Sunni tribal leaders in Saddam Hussein's former power base, and apparently made good progress.

If the National Assembly removed the Maliki government at this point, who would ascend to the PM slot? Ayad Allawi, who couldn't move the government towards reconciliation during his tenure, either? It will have to be someone that the Shi'ite parties will trust to protect their interests -- and simply opening up the spot for contention may energize Moqtada al-Sadr's party, which could easily play a kingmaker role with its significant voting bloc.

And even Democrats admit that the US demand for a replacement would leave the next PM with a reputation for being a US puppet, which is why Allawi couldn't retain any credibility. Maliki at least is seen as mostly being his own man, and even with all his faults, that is a necessity in the region.

The last time the National Assembly had to form a government, it took five months to complete. During that time, Democrats demanded a withdrawal, complaining that the democratic process in Iraq had failed. Toppling Maliki would mean doing that all over again, which would give Democrats the same argument they used the last time if the replacement process took more than a few weeks. Maliki has not been very successful until just now, but in this case he's a red herring, a bit of misdirection for Levin to create another excuse to demand complete and immediate withdrawal.


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A day after I scolded Sen. Carl Levin (D-IL) for an egregious case of speaking out of school, this WaPo article may lead some credibility to a possibility that I mentioned but discounted as very unlikely: that Levin's comments about the Maliki governme... [Read More]

Comments (29)

Posted by hermie | August 21, 2007 6:57 AM

If they can't bring failure militarily by pulling out the troops, then the Dems will try to bring about failure by destroying the political foundations of the Iraqi government.

Posted by NoDonkey | August 21, 2007 7:06 AM

The absolutely and completely worthless Democrat Party is a bubonic plague rat, focused on one thing - gnawing on the corpses of the Iraqis and US troops in order to grow fat on power.

It's touching how some of us on the right try and believe that traitorous vermin like the vile, corrupt criminal Carl Levin, really, down deep, are not violently anti-American, just like a good percentage of his constituents up there in Michigan.

They are. Levin-like rodents do not deserve the benefit of the doubt, they don't deserve to be heard, they deserve to be trapped in the Capitol, locked up in Leavenworth and tried for their crimes against this country.

The Democrat Party sees electoral gains. Who cares about national security and the lives of millions of Iraqis and Americans, when Democrats can put a greater number of their rat-faced politicians into office?

Posted by MarkD | August 21, 2007 7:08 AM

Let's just appoint Carl Levin dictator of Iraq and leave him there. Two problems solved.

Posted by Keemo | August 21, 2007 7:18 AM


Brilliantly stated...........


Posted by rbj | August 21, 2007 7:31 AM

Wouldn't inflicting Levin on the Iraqis be considered a war crime?

Seriously, who gets to be the political leaders of Iraq is something for the Iraqis to sort out. No US senator has any business deciding that for them.

Posted by Bennett | August 21, 2007 7:34 AM

If Maliki doesn't comply and refuses to accede to our demands, perhaps we will have to form a coalition and invade.

Oh, that's right. We're there already. Well then, maybe the Senator thinks our military should storm his offices and drag him out by his ears. Yeah, there ya go. Time to get Paul Bremer back in there. Forget all this nonsense about independent elections, self-determination and the will of the Iraqi people. They just need to do what we tell them to do.

Posted by Randy | August 21, 2007 7:39 AM

Late last night in Baghdad, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declared the Democratic Party "non-functional". For the past 4 years, the Democratic Party and its coconspirator the US Media has continuously destabilized the Iraqi Government and caused the death of thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of US military members. In a statement to the press (not likely to be printed!), Al- Maliki described in detail how the Democratic Party systematically attacked the credibility of the elected Iraqi government through funding by George Soros. “These incompetents must be removed from the American government before all of us are dead!”

Posted by dougf | August 21, 2007 7:51 AM

I am just starting to read " The Occupation of Iraq : Winning the war, losing the peace " by Ali A. Allawi which at first glance appears to be a VERY useful albeit distressing primer on Iraq and its various inbred dysfunctions.

Short of another Saddam, there is NO-ONE in Iraq who can wave the sort of magic wand that Levin foolishly advocates as a 'solution'. Iraq will have to find its own way out of its own problems. What the US can do is give it time to do that.

If after a good-faith effort ( mid-2008 ?) the Iraqis are still allowing themselves to be led down the path to nowhere by the Thieves,Charlatans,and Incompetents in Baghdad, and remain unable and unwilling to see the forest for the trees, then there will be no option but to LARGELY 'withdraw' and let nature take its course. Having led the 'horse' to water, you still can't 'make' it drink. You can ,of course,shoot the stupid thing but that seems to somehow defeat the purpose of the exercise.

You cannot 'mandate' rationality. You can merely enforce a surface semblance of it IF you have a big enough boot to kick the collective a** at every opportunity. Not only does the US not have that size of boot, it is rightly unwilling to use it even if it existed. Saddam's Iraq only 'appeared' to be stable and functional. Underneath the Baathist veneer, lay what we are seeing today.

As the French Foreign Minister just said--- This is now an Iraqi Problem and they must solve it. If they will not then they must accept the consequences.

What is destroying the 'illusion' of Iraq is the corruption, incompetence, and short-sightedness of the 'political/bureaucratic' class. Insurgencies can be beaten down --- internal rot and a culture of social 'corruption' cannot. Iraq lacks a REAL 'National Culture' so instead we get a variety of 'tribal' cultures competing for favour and influence with no REAL regard to anything 'bigger' than themselves.

Rearranging the deck chairs in the Green Zone will not get the job done. Levin is perfectly well aware of this or he damn well should be at any rate.

He is (among many others) a glaring symptom of what is wrong with the 'political class' in the US at this stage of its history.

Posted by Clyde | August 21, 2007 8:01 AM

If being a "non-functional" government is the grounds for being ousted, then perhaps Sen. Levin needs to pack his bags as well.

Posted by jerry | August 21, 2007 8:53 AM

Perhaps Senator Levin is nostalgic for the Kennedy years. The Coup against Diem worked out well didn't it?

Posted by LarryD | August 21, 2007 8:56 AM

Pot calls kettle black. The US Congress is no more functional (and arguably no less corrupt) than the Iraq government, so by Levin's own argument, they should all resign.

How does that old adage go, "people who live in glass hoses shouldn't throw stones."

Posted by bman | August 21, 2007 9:12 AM

some consider the coup of Diem the begining of the end of the Vietnam action. It is our way or the highway without any regard to the cultural traditions of the country does not work in real time and space.

Posted by filistro | August 21, 2007 9:22 AM

Sure sign of a failed enterprise:

The process is mired and floundering. Somebody comes by and points out the primary flaw in the undertaking, then offers a suggestion for fixing it.

Interested parties immediately fall upon him like a pack of wolves and tear him to pieces.

Meanwhile the enterprise, of course, just continues to fail.

Posted by docjim505 | August 21, 2007 9:33 AM

NoDonkey wrote (August 21, 2007 7:06 AM):

The absolutely and completely worthless Democrat Party is a bubonic plague rat, focused on one thing - gnawing on the corpses of the Iraqis and US troops in order to grow fat on power.

Ouch! What a scathing (and very apt) metaphor! It would be something if a really good editorial cartoonist could make a drawing from this.

But as for the statements by Levin...

What more can we expect from a "leading democrat"? They complain one day that the Iraqis are not "standing up for themselves"... and the next day want the Iraqi government replaced because it isn't meeting our demands fast enough. Apparently, the dems only believe in "self determination" when it's convenient for them. They only support allies who are absolute American puppets. They are willing to help other nations and peoples only if those nations and people will do 95% of the work themselves and let the dems take 100% of the credit.

Imagine what it must feel like to be Nouri al-Maliki. Not only is he trying to hold a fractious government together, not only is he trying to deal with a serious terrorism issue (much of it extranational), not only must he be daily concerned for his own life, he has to kowtow to fat, arrogant American idiots like Levin who feel perfectly free to criticize his every move from the safety and comfort of their DC offices.

The dems love to bitch about Bush's "cowboy" diplomacy and how his "unilateralism" is "alienating" our allies. Well, let's look at how the DEMS treat our allies:

--- They refer to those who ARE helping us in Iraq as the "coalition of the bribed" and scoff because small countries like Denmark and Czech Republic aren't sending hundreds of thousands of troops.

--- They routinely and publicly criticize the Iraqi government as "incompetent" and use this alleged incompetence as an excuse to pull the plug on funding. Assuming we don't give him a seat on the last chopper out of Baghdad, how long do you think Maliki and his family will live once the dems succeed in "redeploying" to Okinawa?

--- They talk about bombing and invading Pakistan.

--- They talk about partitioning Iraq into seperate countries, including a Kurdish one that would almost certainly provoke a war with Turkey (another ally they criticized when Turkey wouldn't let us use their territory to invade the northern parts of Iraq).

Yeah, buddy: the dems really know how to make other countries feel that America is their bestest buddy on earth, don't they?

jerry brings up Ngo Dihn Diem. It would be nice if the dems would actually read about the history of our involvement in Vietnam even while they wail about "Iraqnam". We put Diem into power in Saigon. Then, when he turned out to be an incompetent autocrat, we enouraged his military to (ahem) remove him and looked the other way while he was deposed and murdered, inaugurating a lengthy period of "rule by coup" / military rule in an already unstable South Vietnam. Let's hope Levin and his fellow dems don't succeed in doing to Maliki what Kennedy did to Diem. Somehow, I don't think that making Maliki worry about being deposed by us will win his willing cooperation, do you?

Posted by RyaninZion | August 21, 2007 9:36 AM

Oh, so now when it serves their agenda, the Dems have no problem with regime change?

Posted by Tom | August 21, 2007 10:16 AM

The surge seems to me to be becoming like the old line from surgeons: "The operation was successful, but unfortunately the patient died."

Ultimately, the surge may be completely successful (from a military standpoint) but a complete waste of time. The surge wasn't supposed to be an end in itself, but a means to an end - breathing space for the Iraqi government to get its feet under it and stabilize things. Unfortunately, it ain't happening.

We don't have the troops to maintain the surge forever. All 38 combat brigades of the armed forces are currently committed. Troops have to start rotating out, and as soon as we withdraw from an area, it seems almost certain chaos will return.

As I try to look at this situation long term, all I see is chaos, no matter what we do. The solutions must come from the Iraqis, not Americans. What are we actually accomplishing with all our sacrifice of blood and money? Our staying is causing all sorts of problems. Our leaving will cause all sorts of other problems. The question is, which set of problems are we willing to live with?

By staying, we seem to be generating more terrorists than we kill and accomplishing very little of lasting value. Leaving would be humiliating and in many ways irresponsible. Personally, though, I would not see it as defeat not at the hands of Al-Queda, but simple exasperation at the incompetence of the Iraqi government. You can't help someone who fundamentally doesn't want to be helped.

Posted by Carl Levin | August 21, 2007 10:16 AM

Carl is a puppet for the Democratic fringe. He takes his orders from the popular unions in Michigan. He thinks not for himself.

Posted by NoDonkey | August 21, 2007 10:42 AM

Carl Levin,

Don't the Ann Arbor pinkos get a say?

"They refer to those who ARE helping us in Iraq as the "coalition of the bribed" and scoff because small countries like Denmark and Czech Republic aren't sending hundreds of thousands of troops."

Right docj. It's also worth noting that Denmark's military is unionized and has pretty much the same size and capability of a large boy scout troop.

But they and the Czechs could at least bring some of the best beer in the world, if US troops were allowed to drink in theater.

Posted by David M | August 21, 2007 12:15 PM

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 08/21/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

Posted by Eric | August 21, 2007 1:03 PM

How much has the Democrat Congress accomplished from their platform this session? Who is non-functional?

Posted by Tom W. | August 21, 2007 3:06 PM

Poor Levin. He's doing everything in his power to ensure our defeat, but dammit, his friends the terrorists just aren't doing their part!

Come on, al Qaeda, JAM, and Qods Force! The Dems are offering you victory on a silver platter, and you can't muster the will to defeat General "Betray-us"?

All the cool kids know this war is a failed enterprise, so what's the deal?

I swear, it's enough to make progressives question everything they believe in.

Posted by Neo | August 21, 2007 3:11 PM

I hope the Congress will vote the Pelosi leadership out of office and will have the wisdom to replace it with a less partisan and more unifying Speaker and leadership.

PS same goes for Haryy Reid

Posted by Achillea | August 21, 2007 3:23 PM

By staying, we seem to be generating more terrorists than we kill and accomplishing very little of lasting value.

Got some actual numbers to support this, or is it just another of the multitudinous articles of faith from the left?

Posted by jr565 | August 21, 2007 3:26 PM

ok, so if we replace the Maliki govt with something else wont that mean we'll have to increase our presence and spend more time there until we can determine that the new govt is actually working?
ie, wont we have to test the results or our latest overthrow, with actual on the ground results which would require both time and involvement on our part until events played out? Who are we going to replace the current govt with? Are we similarly going to disband the current cabinet? If we replace them with new people, are they going to be ready to govern, or will they need time to get their feet wet and become acclimated?

Posted by pa | August 21, 2007 3:49 PM

Several commenters have made an apt comparison between the nonfunctional Iraqi Congress and the nonfunctional United States Congress. Levin's solution to the Iraqi problem -- immediate removal of Maliki from office -- is a classic psychological manifestation. Levin's fantasy solution to the nonfunctional United States Congress would be the immediate removal of George Bush from office. Since he cannot act on this wish (thanks to the long-established US Constitution), he is visiting it upon the less well-established Iraqi government. In making this demand, he is merely stating his unfulfilled wish to attain control over America by removing Bush from office.

The entire process of stabilizing the Iraqi political situation has been rushed along on the most unreasonable and unrealistic schedule possible, including US demands for actions that are not necessarily what the Iraqi people want. Democrats, in particular, have been so aggressive about demanding instant results that no rational and normal evolutionary process has been possible. Of course the Iraqi government cannot achieve such unrealistic standards and satisfy such unrelenting demands for perfection. And, of course, the terrorists would likely not have fought on so aggressively and for so long if Democrats in America had not held out such strong promises of surrender.

Would someone please post link(s) to article(s) that show, in comparison, the many, many years that Germany and Japan took to write their Constitutions and establish stable governments following World War II? Ditto the United States following our own revolution. I know I have read such articles over the past few years, but I don't remember where. I would appreciate some links, if anyone can share them.

Posted by Tom | August 21, 2007 4:58 PM

By staying, we seem to be generating more terrorists than we kill and accomplishing very little of lasting value.

Got some actual numbers to support this, or is it just another of the multitudinous articles of faith from the left?

How about these:,13319,144759,00.html

I could post a lot more, but the picture is pretty clear (and grim), at least to me. And I'm not trying to represent any position, left or right. I'm trying to make my own honest analysis.

Posted by lexhamfox | August 21, 2007 8:53 PM

Well Pa we did not wage total war against Iraq or the Iraqi people the way we did against Germany and Japan during WWII. The goal in Iraq was regime change and the ending of the WMD programs of Saddam's regime. Levin is not calling for a change of governement. He is calling for a change in leadership and calling out the failures under Maliki which were echoed by the Bush appointed AMbassador today. I don't really see Levin's comments as being partisan. He has voiced support for the surge and pointed to some of the successes of the military part of the strategy. Levin, Warner, and Patreus all know and state clearly that any military progress in Iraq is wasted if not matched with political progress. The surge policy is just that and it is political progress that will cement any long term success for US policy in Iraq no matter what political party is in charge of the White House or Congress. It isn't "moving the goal post"... it's pointing out that the kicker can't kick straight. I think the real news is that there is some bipartisan consensus coming out of the visit with military adn political leaders in Iraq and that is a good thing.

Posted by KYJurisDoctor | August 21, 2007 9:15 PM

Should Bush not second the call for Al-Maliki's ouster by parliamentary means?

Posted by Makakilo | August 22, 2007 12:22 AM

Regime Change in Iraq called for by Democrats. Deja vu.

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