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November 30, 2008

Thomas Friedman: Iraq Suddenly Looking Like a Success, and Guess What? Obama Gets the Credit

This Lightworker is truly amazing. He causes wars to end successfully and young democracies to strengthen before taking office.

Here’s a story you don’t see very often. Iraq’s highest court told the Iraqi Parliament last Monday that it had no right to strip one of its members of immunity so he could be prosecuted for an alleged crime: visiting Israel for a seminar on counterterrorism. The Iraqi justices said the Sunni lawmaker, Mithal al-Alusi, had committed no crime and told the Parliament to back off.

That’s not all. The Iraqi newspaper Al-Umma al-Iraqiyya carried an open letter signed by 400 Iraqi intellectuals, both Kurdish and Arab, defending Alusi. That takes a lot of courage and a lot of press freedom. I can’t imagine any other Arab country today where independent judges would tell the government it could not prosecute a parliamentarian for visiting Israel — and intellectuals would openly defend him in the press.

In the case of Iraq, though, the federal high court, in a unanimous decision, vacated the Parliament’s rescinding of Alusi’s immunity, with the decision delivered personally by Chief Justice Medhat al-Mahmoud. The decision explained that although a 1950s-era law made traveling to Israel a crime punishable by death, Iraq’s new Constitution establishes freedom to travel. Therefore the Parliament’s move was “illegal and unconstitutional because the current Constitution does not prevent citizens from traveling to any country in the world,” Abdul-Sattar Bayrkdar, spokesman for the court, told The Associated Press. The judgment even made the Parliament speaker responsible for the expenses of the court and the defense counsel!

...

If Iraq can keep improving — still uncertain — and become a place where Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites can write their own social contract and live together with a modicum of stability, it could one day become a strategic asset for the United States in the post-9/11 effort to promote different politics in the Arab-Muslim world.

...


If he [Obama] pull this off, and help that decent Iraq take root, Obama and the Democrats could not only end the Iraq war but salvage something positive from it. Nothing would do more to enhance the Democratic Party’s national security credentials than that.

Um, a decent Iraq has already taken root and is in fact growing. Obama and the Democrats cannot "pull this off," except if you mean "claim credit for a fait accompli."

The general pattern here is that after years of calling more or less explicitly for a cleansing defeat in Iraq, liberals are beginning to make the case that we shouldn't lose a war we've already won just to appease the netroots-- in other words, Bush was right.

But they didn't say that before. Only now that Obama has been elected to they admit it.

Partly because they are now willing to argue in the American interest rather than the liberal Democratic Party interest, and partly because politics continues well past the water's edge -- they want credit for a victory and won't permit the fallout from a defeat suffered on their watch.

Thanks to Mr. Wolf.


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posted by Ace at 05:07 PM

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