Wax and Wane
Michael Ubaldi, April 4, 2005.
Straight press reports of the Iraqi National Assembly's selection of a speaker, as anticipated after holding session on March 28, are practically impossible to find. Most articles have been injected with ancillary information from inside and beyond the country, or subjective inferences drawn from the assembly's two-month inaugural negotiations. It's striking that while journalists are choosing a variety of qualifiers, newspapers reflect a mob effort to skirt the repudiation of their claim that Iraqis were unable to compromise. Deals have been struck and good men are met in confidence:
Over two months after national assembly elections, Iraq's 275-seat parliament on Sunday chose Sunni Arab Hajen al-Hassani as the parliamentary president by a majority vote. The vote represented compromises on all sides, with Shiite and Sunni groups withdrawing their rival candidates to end the impasse.
An attack on the Abu Ghraib prison has invigorated some quarters on the left, and editorialized reports have been stuffed into several articles on Al-Hassani. In spite of loaded media characterizations of the attack — a "brazen" thing to "overshadow" the assembly vote — the attack was a demonstration of desperation and incapability. Iraq's enemies tried a jailbreak at one of the country's most fortified detention centers; Central Command reported assaults from a heavily armed force of roughly sixty terrorists. After Marines neutralized a car bomb and organized superior fire, less than a fifth of the terrorists escaped. Rushes have been made before against smaller, Iraqi targets, with some success until late last year. It's assumed at least some of the killers subscribe to the logic of self-preservation. Why would the enemy risk and lose nearly an entire gang against an impossible target — unless he had no other choice?
More stark by the day, Iraq's reversal of fortune is welcome, earned and deserved.
DUST IN THE THROAT: As expected, Austin Bay found in this news the same condition of weakness, the word "desperate" figuring prominently in his remarks.
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