Home/Daniel Larison/If Iraq’s Parliament Was On Vacation, Would Anyone Notice?

If Iraq’s Parliament Was On Vacation, Would Anyone Notice?

So Cheney went over to Iraq to lay down the law, er, consult with the sovereign and democratic government of an independent and free Iraq recently liberated from the cruel grasp of the tyrant (cue inspiring music in the background).  While he was on his proconsular tour, I mean, diplomatic mission, U.S officials complained about the plans of the Iraqi parliament to adjourn for two months.   Arkin from the Post gives some details:

“For the Iraqi parliament to take a two-month vacation in the middle of summer is impossible to understand,” U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker said. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates also said that he pressed for the recess to be canceled. Sen. John Warner (R-VA) said a two-month recess is “not acceptable.”

This news of proposed adjournment will come as something of a shock to many Americans, who were scarcely aware that the Iraqi parliament was ever in session, since they seem constitutionally incapable of doing anything at all.  At last notice for those who do follow Iraqi politics closely, there was the development that the Sunni bloc was finally fed up with waiting to vote on the amendments that they want for the constitution as a way to guarantee relatively less federalism and to ensure some oil-sharing from the oil-rich regions that they do not control.  They were so frustrated that they were prepared to withdraw entirely.  This makes it less clear how remaining in session during the torridly hot summer months in Baghdad will accomplish anything, except that it will maintain the illusion that the Iraqi government is trying to fix the unfixable and solve the intractable.  As Arkin points out, however, there is nothing about this parliament that suggests that the main problem is the forthcoming summer break.  The main problem is the structure and political makeup of the Iraqi parliament, which is an extension of the bigger problem, which some people like to call “Iraq.”

Iraq has become one of those cases that vindicates the old saw that “if there is no solution, there is no problem.”  Optimists need to stop expecting solutions, and they need to stop trying to force solutions to things that have no solution.  Above all, they need to stop being optimists.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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