“In other words, Americans understand you’re newcomers to the political arena. But pretty soon it’s time to shut her down and get governing.” ~AP Wire

Via Antiwar

Well, four months and no government later, a skeptic might be forgiven for thinking the exercise of establishing a “unity government” in Iraq rather hopeless. Mr. Bush speaks here as if the Iraqis could form a unity government but have just been dithering because they haven’t been paying enough attention to the situation around them. Some Iraqi politicos are not taking the “Get ‘er done!” exhortations very well:

In the face of growing pressure from the Bush administration for him to step down, Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari of Iraq on Wednesday vigorously asserted his right to stay in office and warned the Americans against undue interference in Iraq’s political process.

Of course, Mr. Bush has probably only hardened divisions and made the settlement harder because of this:

Senior Shiite politicians said Tuesday that the American ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, had weighed in over the weekend, telling the leader of the Shiite bloc that President George W. Bush did not want Jaafari as prime minister. That was the first time the Americans had openly expressed a preference for the occupant of post, the politicians said, and it showed the Bush administration’s acute impatience over the stagnant political process. Relations between Shiite leaders and the Americans have been fraying for months, and reached a crisis point after a bloody assault on a Shiite mosque compound Sunday night by American and Iraqi forces.

That old Jaafari, thinking that Iraqis could chose their own prime minister! What’s next? Iraqi independence? So, what is the problem with Jaafari that Washington would risk upsetting the entire process like this? Well, even though he was duly elected according to the vaunted Iraqi constitution, he was elected by some of the wrong people, the deputies who represent Moqtada al-Sadr’s faction. So, to recap, one militant Shi’ite faction (the bad one) helps a militant Shi’ite to become prime minister and Mr. Bush says that this is unacceptable. Surely the irony of opposing Jaafari’s candidacy in a Shi’ite-majority country in the name of democracy has occurred to some of the sharper minds at the White House. Jaafari may be an awful choice (he almost certainly is), but why go through the whole song and dance of offering representative institutions to these people if they are not going to be allowed to use them? Who exactly does Mr. Bush think he is kidding?