Iraq’s tortuous effort to hold its parliamentary election on schedule in January collapsed Monday, raising the prospect of a political and constitutional crisis next year as the United States begins withdrawing the majority of its combat troops.
After two days of divisive sessions and failed talks, Parliament disregarded a veto by one of the country’s vice presidents and approved new amendments that the vice president promptly indicated he would veto as well.
The moves deepened a crisis that had fleetingly seemed resolved after months of wrangling over how to set up the vote, widely seen as a barometer of Iraq’s progress toward democracy. [continued…]
Colonel J.K.Tanner: “We experienced real difficulty in dealing with the American military and civilian organisations who, partly through arrogance and partly through bureaucracy, dictate that there is only one way: the American way. As far as the Iraqis were concerned, here was a nation who could put people on the moon but who could not, or would not, fix the electricity supply. You need to have money in order to make things happen, to buy protection from the looters, to smooth out tribal problems and to have immediate and visible effect and we did not have that. Despite our so-called ‘special relationship’ I reckon that we were treated no differently to the Portugese…
“I realise now that I am a European, not an American. We managed to get on better militarily and administratively with our European partners and indeed at times with the Arabs than with the Americans. Europeans chat to each other whereas dialogue is alien to the US military.
“They need to reintroduce dialogue as a tool of command because, although it is easy to speak to Americans face-to-face and understand each other completely, dealing with them corporately is akin to dealing with a group of Martians.” [continued…]