Monday, January 14, 2008
don't you try to fake me out:
This would explain why Ryan Crocker hasn't been crowing about the new de-Baathification law:

The measure, known as the Justice and Accountability Law, is meant to open government jobs to former members of the Baath Party of Saddam Hussein — the bureaucrats, engineers, city workers, teachers, soldiers and police officers who made the government work until they were barred from office after the American invasion in 2003.

But the legislation is at once confusing and controversial, a document riddled with loopholes and caveats to the point that some Sunni and Shiite officials say it could actually exclude more former Baathists than it lets back in, particularly in the crucial security ministries.

Welcome back to the world of fake reconciliation. At long last, the Shiite/Kurdish government finally passes a de-Baathification law, only the law is phony. The Sunnis are outraged: one Sunni parliamentarian calls the law "a sword on the neck of the people." But the Shiites throw their hands up and say What do you want from us? It took us over a year of arduous compromise to get to this point. That's as far as we can go! Or, for what they actually said:

One particular improvement, [a Maliki adviser] said, was that de-Baathification cases would now be subject to judicial review, whereas the old de-Baathification committee’s decisions were final. And the Council of Ministers would have the right to make exceptions to the law in order to serve the public interest. “Before, we dealt with Baath Party members as a group,” he said. “Now, being a Baath Party member is not a crime by itself. If someone has committed a crime in the old regime, that accusation should be made in court. And all of the members can get a pension.”
This de-Baathification law sounds worse than not having a law in the first place. The Sunnis see the fix is in. Acrimony increases. The Shiites get frustrated -- haven't they gone as far as they could? Other efforts to reintegrate the Sunnis into the process -- of which the Shiites are already suspicious -- languish. The Sunnis have 70,000 new gunmen on the streets. Are they going to be silent while their relatives are purged even further, in the name of de-Baathification, or while the Shiite government breaks its promises?
--Spencer Ackerman
Good stuff Spencer. And just wanted to say that it's nice to see you've fired up the ol' toohot wurlitzer again. The 'sphere is richer for it.

-Eric Martin
Blogger Eric | 1:21 PM