Yes, you read that correctly. The Iraqi parliament - who our brave young men and women are fighting to protect and preserve - is planning on taking a two month vacation during the months of July and August. This is wrong on so many levels. Exactly what are we fighting for again? This doesn't seem like a government committed to getting things done, despite our huge investment and sacrifice. Absolutely shameful. And we thought the 109th Congress was the "do-nothing" champion. It should come as no surprise that Secretary Rice's top priority is the having the Iraqis finish up the oil laws.
Senator Levin weighs in:
The committee considering amendments to the Iraqi Constitution appears to be as far from completing its work as it has always been. Meanwhile, the Assembly is apparently planning to go on a two month recess at the end of June. Let me repeat that since it is so unbelievable - the Iraqi Council of Representatives is apparently planning to go on a two month recess at the end of June. And incredibly, Hasan Suneid, a lawmaker and adviser to Prime Minister Maliki, was quoted in the paper the other day as saying that “time is irrelevant.” Well time is plenty relevant to us, our troops and their families.
"Time is irrelevant," huh? Tell me again why we should let Bush continue his open-ended, no accountability policy...
(transcript below the fold)
Transcript via CNN.com:
BLITZER: Because there's a lot of concern right now that the Iraqis themselves aren't taking all of these benchmarks, all of these requirements that seriously. Supposedly, they're about to go on vacation, the Iraqi parliament, for two months, July and August, in the midst of their failure so far to disarm, disband the militias, deal with the oil resources, the revenue from that, deal with some other critical issues that you want them to deal with.
RICE: Well, certainly they need to keep working. And we've made that very clear to them. I think that they will make some progress on the oil law. They have made a lot of progress on it. They need to close that and finish it.
They need to get the provincial elections set up. And we're continuing to tell them that our patience isn't limitless, but neither is the patience of the Iraqi people limitless on this issue -- these reconciliation issues.
ZEBARI: The government is also determined to launch a major political initiative to enhance national reconciliation, to do a constitutional review according to the agreed procedures. The de- Baathification laws would be reviewed. The militias have to be disarmed, disbanded, and reintegrated in the society. So we have all of these objectives and goals. And we are working (inaudible). We are not sitting idle. In fact...
BLITZER: Well, on that point...
ZEBARI: ... political commission...
BLITZER: Foreign Minister, excuse me for interrupting, but on that point, there's concern here in Washington -- Carl Levin, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, raised it -- that your parliament is about to take a two-month vacation in the midst of all of these challenges.
And that's raising the frustration level, as you well know, on Capitol Hill. Is that true? Is the parliament going to go away and take a break even as you fail to fulfill several of these major requirements?
ZEBARI: Wolf, yesterday I was at a meeting, a very important meeting of Baghdad security plan. In fact, I was the person who raised that issue that although the parliament is the key body that tried to work with us on legislations, on this political plan, their recess is coming for two weeks, and really we should...
BLITZER: Hey, wait a minute, is it going to be -- is it a two- week recess or a two-month recess?
ZEBARI: No, not two -- I'm sorry, two-month. In fact, the recess is two months. And we discussed that issue. That really this should be cut down to two weeks or one week because business is not as usual in our country.
And we have to rise up, let's say, to these challenges, and the parliament or the council of representatives who has a key role here should be up to this new challenge.
And this recess has to be reviewed in consultation with the presidency of the council of representatives. So I'm hopeful. I'm optimistic, really, that we will be able to keep them her e working and not to go in two months' recess.