Since the entire Sunni faction walked away from the Iraqi government, isolating the recalcitrant Maliki regime, the Bush administration is desperate to have some kind of working government in place when they report to Congress in September they can promise will carry out the political reconciliation they say the over 700 troops killed since the 'surge' have been fighting and dying for.
The prospect of a working government in Iraq, however, which would produce the concessions needed to carry out Bush's pipe-dream and reduce the resistant violence has always been dependent on the Shiite-dominated regime carving out more political room for the Sunni minority who regards the present regime as an enemy and intent on their community's destruction. Even if the entire Sunni bloc came back to Baghdad, there would still be divisions which are aggravated by the continued assaults on their community by Shiite militias splintered off from the government forces.
Monday, as he called for a 'crisis conference' to address his government's collapse, Maliki threatened to replace the political blocs who walked out, signaling his intention to seek their replacement with Sunni tribal leaders who have recently banded together with the U.S. forces as they press their attacks on communities they say are aligned with al-Qaeda. Never mind that these same forces almost certainly have engaged our own troops in battle as they pressed forward with their repression of these Sunni communities over the years with the Shiite-dominated government forces at their side.
"We hope to end this crisis and that the ministers will return,'' al-Maliki said. "But if that doesn't happen, we will go to our brothers who are offering their help and we will choose ministers from among them.''
Today, a report from Dubai quoted a senior administration official who signaled that "the structure, nature and direction of the Iraqi state" was being prepared by the U.S. (in concert with Maliki's 'crisis summit') for "major" political changes. Apparently Bush is so desperate to fend off criticism that the 'surge' hasn't produced the political effects he promised that he's willing to force through any pretense of government in Iraq; including sanctioning political alignments with elements there which could be considered as adversary to the U.S. interests and safety as the Iran Revolutionary Guard our State Dept. just designated as 'terrorists.'
Whatever government facade Maliki manages to cobble together, with the aid and comfort of U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker who manipulated the advancement of the 'crisis summit,' that effort shouldn't find any 'patience or will' from Congress to allow Bush to continue indefinitely while they wait for the new cast of Iraqi players to provide a more efficient mimic of democracy than they have so far behind the sacrifices of our nation's defenders.
"Troops can't force a government to be stable; troops can't force an Iraqi police force to put aside sectarian predispositions and enforce the rule of law," Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) told reporters after his trip to Iraq this week.
Democratic Sen. Carl Levin chided the Iraqi regime's recalcitrance today, saying, "Folks, if you want a civil war in this country, that's your choice. Count us out of your civil war. We've been here four-and-a-half years."
"I'm going to try to see if we can't shift the attention of the American people from the report on the military situation to a report on the political situation since everybody acknowledges that it's the failure of the political arena and the political areas that are the cause of the ongoing violence in Iraq," Levin said.
Despite reports today that the general in charge of the Iraq mission, David Petraeus, intends to recommend a token pullback from the 'surge,' there is still the reality that Bush will manipulate any report which contradicts his intention to continue on indefinitely. Paint and spackle on the props in his collapsing Potemkin Village of democracy in Iraq shouldn't be enough to cover for Bush's reckless indifference to the sacrifices of the hundreds of lives he's sacrificed to give his ruse of government in Iraq "breathing room."