Power of Story
Send a Tweet        
- Advertisement -
OpEdNews Op Eds

Accountability in Iraq

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Bob Burnett     Permalink
      (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Author 93
Become a Fan
  (22 fans)
The latest Gallup Poll indicates that Americans continue to be deeply divided about Iraq. What's been ignored in this bitter debate is the issue of political stability: how long should the United States stay in Iraq if the elected government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki fails to meet its commitments? Most Americans believe that while US should bolster Iraqi security, the government of Iraq must function on its own. The commander of US forces General David Petraeus acknowledges this: "A military solution to Iraq is not possible;" there has to be a political solution. The key to the future of Iraq is the Bush Administration's willingness to hold the Iraqi government accountable. "Accountability" has been a prominent theme in the speeches of President Bush and conservative dogma. In his 2006 State-of-the-Union address Bush observed: "Raising up a democracy requires the rule of law, and protection of minorities, and strong, accountable institutions that last longer than a single vote." [Emphasis added.] Unfortunately, Bush has not applied these standards in Iraq. The Bush Administration refuses to hold the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki accountable for essential decisions: electoral reform, a formula for sharing oil revenues, control of militias, and stabilization of Iraq security forces. Writing in the New York Times, Iraq Study Group member Leon Panetta observed: President Bush "must make the Iraqi government understand that future financial and military support is going to depend on Baghdad's making substantial progress toward the milestones Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has publicly committed to... Unfortunately, with a few exceptions, little progress has been made." Panetta goes on to list the specific milestones that have been missed. Many of these have to do with democratic reforms-provision for regional elections and constitutional amendments. A key issue still to be determined is regulation of the Iraqi oil industry and oil revenue sharing among the provinces. All the reconciliation issues have yet to be resolved: for example, the pending de-Baathification law to permit former members of the Baath party to participate in public affairs. There's been no progress on laws controlling militias. And, on the vital issue of security the results have been similarly dismal; the Iraqis have not taken over control of the Iraq Army and seem unlikely to meet two key 2007 milestones: taking over civil control of all provinces and achieving "total security self-reliance." Rather than frame the Iraqi debate on how long our troops should stay in Iraq, it's better to ask: When will the government of Iraq be functional? When will they be able to keep their commitments? President Bush is unwilling to view Iraq from this perspective; he continues to define "victory" as military success rather than as a function of the viability of the al-Maliki government. Two weeks ago, the House and Senate passed military appropriations bills. The public debate focused on whether these bills went too far-restricting President Bush's conduct of the war-or not far enough-denying funds for "surge" forces. Lost in this cacophony was the fact that these bills also call upon President Bush to hold the Iraqi government accountable for the reforms they promised. The House Bill, H.R. 1591 directs the President to report to Congress by Jul 1, 2007, on three issues: militias; reconciliation; and "whether the Government of Iraq and United States Armed Forces are making substantial progress in reducing the level of sectarian violence in Iraq." By October 1, 2007, President Bush must certify that the government of Iraq has met five milestones: "a broadly accepted hydro-carbon law that equitably shares oil revenues among all Iraqis;" establishment of "provincial and local elections;" new laws guaranteeing fair treatment of former members of the Baath Party; amendments to the Iraqi constitutions that guarantee the rights of women and human rights, in general; and the Iraqi government must begin to spend "$10 billion in Iraqi revenues for reconstruction projects." If President Bush finds that some of these efforts have not taken place, or if he fails to make the certification, "the Secretary of Defense shall commence the redeployment of the Armed Forces from Iraq and complete such redeployment within180 days." The fundamentals of accountability are clear: negotiate with the other party in good faith; arrive at a set of measurable objectives; agree on what will happen if either party fails to keep their commitments; measure the results; and honor the terms of the agreement. The United States has negotiated an agreement with the government of Iraq. If the elected Iraqi leadership fails to meet its commitments then we have no choice but to hold them accountable and withdraw US forces. That's what the Congressional legislation specifies and that's what most Americans expect. Nonetheless, President Bush remains unwilling to hold the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki accountable. No wonder, because Bush is unwilling to be held accountable for his own mistakes. That's why Congress must intervene to insure that someone is held accountable for the tragedy of Iraq.

 

- Advertisement -

View Ratings | Rate It

Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer. In a previous life he was one of the executive founders of Cisco Systems.

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon



Go To Commenting
/* The Petition Site */
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Related Topic(s): , Add Tags
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Ten Telltale Signs of Republican Disease

Big Liars and The Voters Who Love Them

Obama vs. Romney: The Bottom Line

The GOP Chooses Fascism

2011 Budget Battle: Obama Wins While Democrats Lose

Obama vs. Romney: The Popularity Contest