Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki and his colleagues have made an impressive start.
Remember that daily drum beat from inside the DC beltway about how the Iraqi government just had to get started and had to find agreement soon between their factions? Threats and deadlines filled the airwaves.
The Iraqis were building a democratic government out of three factions with little recent history of cooperation or trust, and what was their model? Well, they could study the US government and how it worked via daily TV broadcasts and newspapers.
So the Iraqis have done it. They pulled a government together. And they have demonstrated an ability to work together, despite all that daily noise from DC.
There is a theory abroad about how that happened. As the Iraqi politicians studied and searched for ways to work together and build a new democratic government, someone came up with a new and bold idea: turn off all television sets reporting on the US government, and ban all newspaper accounts about politics in the US.
In the startling silence that followed, the theory goes, they quickly fashioned something never before seen in those parts: a democratic government.
Has anyone ever calculated how much our DC lawmakers accomplished in the way of cooperation and agreement during that same period of time?
Maybe they should think about how the Iraqis did it.
Lebanon is still the only land in the Middle East where anyone is legally free to change their religious affiliation. Believers from most other Arab countries can more freely come to Lebanon for training.
Operation World, July 25, 2006
Ever have a day when everything seems to be just a little off? Nothing is big enough to draw your attention; but almost below the radar. It feels like something is about to happen, something nobody expects. But you can’t quite put your finger on it.
On the one side, there are Hezbollah terrorists stirring up things, as they often do. On the other side, an Israeli army responds with great confidence, and a large bag of high tech tools and weapons. So why is there a feeling that something unexpected is about to happen? Why aren’t the terrorists shaking in their boots as they watch the stately ballet of deployment of all that 21st century technology and warriors into the arena?
Those rockets were a surprise, and now there are rumbles that the air attacks did not yield the results the planners expected.
Hezbollah seems confident as they watch and wait. What do they know that we don’t?
Piecing together information about one’s enemies can be maddeningly slow and tedious. It rarely resembles anything in a Hollywood movie. It can sometimes look like a jigsaw puzzle, finding one piece at a time. There is often a light bulb that helps you find the pieces. If the light goes off, finding pieces falls off and may stop altogether.
Everybody is curious about secrets, other people’s secrets. Everybody wants to know. Everybody says they won’t tell anyone. But somebody does.
So how many people does it take to turn off that light bulb? Just one.
It is easy to see why professional reporters often don’t believe that. They are trained to seek confirmation. But if you had a single source that said someone had stolen the combination to your safe, or the password to your computer, would you change the combination or password then and there, or wait for confirmation from another source?
The news that Americans being evacuated from Lebanon have to sign an IOU to pay for their transportation out is stirring passions back here. Reports from the front have suggested that the evacuees themselves are not objecting. Who would under the circumstances? Tony Snow has said it is the will of Congress that people pay for their evacuation, and was one item of a large bill. Fortunately, the administration isn’t asking for cash.
A suggestion for each evacuee: hand a copy of that IOU over to your congressperson and your senator as soon as you can. Even the ones who aren’t running this year will be happy to help you on this one.
Just another reason for a presidential line item veto, isn’t it?
Anyone who has ever disregarded a warning and ended up in a tight spot can identify with those Americans who have remained in Lebanon and now want to leave. There are clearly too few embassy people to do all that everyone wants them to do. There are not enough to talk each client through their fears, and no one to update the embassy web site that anxious families and friends keep checking for news, and . . . .
Where are the ships to take them to safety? Military ships, especially American ones, could be welcome targets for those who attacked that Israeli ship. The airfield seems to be in the war zone. Commercial liners are being chartered and diverted to the scene, not at interstate speeds, but at the more stately pace of cruise liners.
There will be enough stories to go around, once out of danger. Until then, if you are in the habit of prayer, this is a good time for it. If you are not, this might be a good time to start.
The Democrats say they want to win the House so they can impeach Bush. Does that mean they really want Cheney to succeed him in the WH, and who could then perhaps run for President in 2008? And is that why Sen. Warner is pushing to name the next carrier after Gerald Ford?
Washington is such a confusing place.
What the world needs is another blog
Well, not really.
Years ago, an old man named Tom liked to sit on his front porch, smoking his pipe, and watching the world go by. A man of few words, Uncle Tom nevertheless welcomed the company of his great nephew, an elementary school student, and listened to the boy talk about whatever he saw or thought about. Uncle Tom is gone now, but those times on the Porch are a mind’s eye model of the aim of this venture.