Re-De-Baathification

Given my crack like addiction to the presidential primaries, my Iraq blogging has gotten a little rusty, so just bare with me.  It’s simply worth noting that despite the cheerleading, the situation in Iraq continues to defy any kind of meaningful reconciliation, and the mistakes of our past have come to haunt us again.

Among the major blunders that characterize our early presence in Iraq, one of the biggest was De-Baathification, a process that put a significant number of Iraqis out of work, and laid the responsibility of the crimes of a few on the shoulders of the many.

This is important to point out because the whole premise of the Surge was to allow for reconciliation, but the greatest flaw in such a plan is the very idea that US military presence could ever have a direct and measurable effect on reconciliation.  Furthermore, we are now learning that our mistakes in the past are not buried there, but are recurring.

As Reuters reports, Iraq’s Vice President has made it clear that he and the rest of the members of the Presidential Council will not ratify a bill that would end de-baathification, allowing for the reinstatement of former members of Saddam’s tyranical party.  This alone is a blow against meaningful reconciliation in Iraq, but to make matters worse, some Baathists have begun entering life in public service.

This move could result in their being purged yet again.

Not that there isn’t some logical foundation behind the refusal to see the law ratified; apparently it would put out of place man Shiites who have since filled the vacancies left in the wake of de-baathification.  But in either case, passed or not, there is certain to be blowback as a result of this law.

And here we are, right back where we started from.

2 Responses to “Re-De-Baathification”

  1. Gregory T says:

    Thanks for posting about this. A hugely important topic that’s been undercovered. Regardless of one’s other feelings about the invasion the issue of Re-/De-Baathification is not one that can be solved by boots on the ground or guns in hand.

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