Friday, May 11, 2007

The best defense

is the soul of wit. It turns out my thesis defense today went a wee bit long. I presumed on my committee's indulgence. But it doesn't matter, because I passed. Our long educational nightmare is over.

Our long national nightmare continues apace... if you didn't catch a story about the Iraqi parliament,

Supporters of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said Thursday that they'd gathered enough support in Iraq's parliament to pass a bill requiring a timetable for U.S. forces to pull out.

The legal or practical implications of an Iraqi law that would attempt to require a timetable for U.S. troops to leave the country were unclear. Even those circulating the legislation said they expected to sort out particulars in parliamentary debate.

But the announcement, on the anniversary of the parliament's swearing-in last year, underscores the difficulty of the American position in Iraq.


Word of the Iraqi pullout legislation came amid growing signs of dissatisfaction in parliament over the inability of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government and U.S. officials to curb violence in neighboring Diyala province. Sunni insurgents tied to the group al-Qaida in Iraq have undertaken a campaign there against Shiite residents.

A parliamentary committee reported Thursday that 11,200 people have been killed in Diyala since 2004. Its report says 9,500 families have been displaced, 8,250 women have been widowed, 16,500 children orphaned and 66 mosques or shrines destroyed in the same period.

When some lawmakers appeared preoccupied as the report on Diyala was being read, a member of the United Iraqi Alliance, which represents the parliament's narrow Shiite majority, chastised them.

"You received the report as if it's about the sewage flowing," Shatha al-Mosawi said. "We heard about kids who are given to their families fried after being kidnapped."

And it's got a great clincher:

In a meeting with Maliki on Wednesday, Cheney repeated U.S. officials' warnings that the Iraqi parliament should cancel its two-month summer break to deal with the country's political issues.

I told my dad when he visited last week that I am not optimistic about the situation in Iraq because I see the pogrom has already begun.

For more on these issues and daily translation and interpretation of news from Iraq (I find it hard to read most days), visit Juan Cole. He's sometimes polemical (I ignore those), but mostly the news just forms his argument for him.

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