Walking with the Devil

The United States must avoid getting trapped in its commitments with unstable regimes, and Iraq is the prime example.

Issue: Mar-Apr 2007

BY THE George W. Bush Administration's self-imposed standards, a successful conclusion to the Iraq War was well within reach. The president declared victory on May 1, 2003, a constitution was ratified on October 15, 2005, and a general election took place on December 15 to elect a permanent 275-member Iraqi council. The current government, headed by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, took office on May 20, 2006. Yet this government-as of early 2007-had not met one of Washington's benchmarks regarding national reconciliation, security or governance. Maliki's government refused to distance itself from radical clerics or curb their private militias. Non-sectarian technocrats were not invited to join the cabinet. Police units that practiced sectarian partisanship were not suspended. Government ministries stacked with loyalists bred corruption.

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