Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Legal Fictions

There's been a lot of background chatter recently about replacing the Maliki government in Iraq, whether by coup or by ballot. Here's Sen. Carl Levin, just back from a fact-finding trip to Iraq:

I hope that the Iraqi assembly, when it reconvenes in a few weeks, will vote the Maliki government out of office and will have the wisdom to replace it with a less sectarian and a more unifying prime minister and government.

I'm not sure where to begin with a remark like that. For starters, just who does Levin have in mind? The reason Iraq skeptics are ready to throw in the towel is because a "unifying prime minister and government" does not exist.

As much as anything, this kind of remark reveals the Iraqi government for the legal fiction it is. It's an unwritten but often declared tenet of international relations that sovereign countries don't meddle in each other's internal affairs. That's why heads of state refuse to endorse candidates in foreign elections. To openly call for a prime minister's replacement borders on open hostilities.

The reality is that, absent American forces, Iraq does not meet the criteria of a sovereign nation. So it's unrealistic to expect a unifying central government. What Levin and others are expressing is simply frustration that despite all our investment of both blood and treasure, we can't even get the pretense of one.

Posted by Judah in:  Iraq   

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