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April 08, 2008

Is Political Reconciliation Happening?
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

Spencer Ackerman points out that Crocker and Petraeus don't really know if political reconciliation is actually happening or refuse to give a straight answer.

It is with a great deal of respect and deference to you," Nelson said, that he pressed the issue: the point of the surge was to create political reconciliation. "Has political reconciliation happened?" 

Petraeus: "As the Ambassador laid out, there has been agreement among different political parties on a number of pieces of important reconciliation laws, if you will, that represent reconciliation... [laws on] de-Ba'athification, a provincial powers law, a pensions reform bill..."

But have the laws been implemented?

Petraeus: I believe the pensions law is in the process of being implemented. De-Ba'athification --"

Nelson wondered: To the extent of bringing about political reconciliation "that is the goal in the first place?"

Petraeus kicked it over to Crocker. (I called it!) Crocker: "I noted in my testimony, obviously how it's implemented is going to be key. The amnesty law, part of the legislation package passed in February, is being implemented. There have been 24,000 applications for amnesty received, and 17,000 approved. The provincial powers law comes into effect after the forthcoming provincial elections -- it's prospective, and does not apply to the current provincial council..."

Nelson whacked Crocker's weeds.  "So you think we're moving toward political reconciliation?"

Oh, for a straight answer. Crocker: "I think various elements that I mentioned -- national legislation -- the way parliament works, there's a lot of cross-bloc horse-trading that goes on,... that process is as encouraging as the results. Yes, I think there is movement in the right direction." Whether it's 4,000-lives-and-counting's worth of movement in the right direction, he couldn't say.

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Comments

As your quotations here show, every time they would try to answer the question, they would be cut off. I heard plenty about political gains, and I keep track of things by reading extensively from people that are actually over there in the middle of it all. Is it perfect? Absolutely not, but to act like no political process is being made is either intellectually dishonest or just plain uninformed.

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