Saturday, April 03, 2004

Uh-Oh, Reliable Right-Wing Stooge, gets Unstoogified, nyuk, nyuk, nyuk. Wiseguy, eh? Some folks may remember Bruce Fein. Many may not wish too. He was one of the many right-wing Constitutional scholars that for a brief moment gave Ann Coulter her last shred of credibility during the insanity known as the Lewinski Affair. Of course, Coulter lost her credibility about as long ago as she had her last sandwich. Now we know Coulter as the shrillest harpy since Odysseus finally gave in to his mens' pleas and bought himself a compass. But, I digress. Fein should be considered a reliable Bush ally, who should trumpet how much progress we are making in Iraq. But he isn't, in an article that was published the day before the Fallujah massacres in of all things the Moonie Times (hence, why I missed it) Fein is to say the least, throwing crap into Bush's fan. V olcanic. That characterizes a heated symposium I attended in Ankara, Turkey, last week sponsored by the Foreign Policy Institute and Bilkent University to appraise "Iraq on the way to its new Constitution." The attendees included Iraqi participants in the March 8, 2004, interim constitution promulgated by the 25 member Iraqi Governing Council (IGC). Other attendees hailed from Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. The symposium exposed numerous fault lines destined to fracture Iraq soon after the Coalition Provisional Authority and United States sovereignty dissolve on June 30, 2004: • An interim constitution and Iraqi Transitional Government devoid of legitimacy. • A legal system denuded of legal principles. • An irreconcilable conflict between the universal tenets of Islam and fundamental democratic freedoms. • Implacable embitterment of Kurds toward Arabs born of their wretched oppression and genocide under Saddam Hussein. • A demand by Turkmen to the same language and autonomy privileges enjoyed by Kurds. • And exchanges and monologues that smacked more of belligerence than of fraternity. ... The staggering blunders of the Bush administration in governing post-Saddam Iraq have left no satisfactory post-June 30 denouements. The least bad option is a managed partition into statelets for Kurds, Turkmen, Sunnis and Shi'ites to escape a reprise of Yugoslavia's blood-stained disintegration. Symposium participants challenged Iraqi representatives to defend the legitimacy of their constitutional handiwork, soporifically styled the "Law of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period." No member of the IGC was elected. All were appointed by the United States. None enjoy more than a crumb of popular support. A favorite of the Defense Department, Ahmed Chalabi, is more reviled than Saddam Hussein. The interim constitution was neither drafted nor debated in a public forum before its promulgation. The document turned precepts of self-government on their heads. The defenders fatuously retorted that the interim constitution and the IGC deserved legitimacy because both were superior to Saddam Hussein and Ba'athist tyranny. By that yardstick, a restoration of the King Feisel dynasty would be defensible. It was further urged that the IGC featured members from all of Iraq's major ethnic and religious groups. ... The United States should declare its post-Saddam nation-building enterprise a failure. It should begin immediately to arrange the partition of Iraq by regional self-determination plebiscites. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, it would be the worst imaginable last chapter of Operation Enduring Freedom, except for all the plausible alternative scripts. And thus we have it again -- in a manner that in a fashion updates James Fallows brilliant and depressing articles in the Atlantic Monthly earlier this year. The Bush Administration has made a gigantic blunder going into Iraq, and now is in the midst of a gigantic blunder in governing Iraq. Fein's solution is frankly also damn scary (the Turks would not be happy about this proposal to say the least). But the fact is that the world that is going to be created out of Iraq stands a very fair chance of being worse then the world that existed during Saddam's time in power. THAT is a potential tragedy completely of the Bush Administration's making and history will curse them for it -- and in the rest of the world's eys ALL OF US for it.
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