Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 26, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

GETTING IT WRONG....Do we really have to continue reading about George Bush's criminal incompetence for four more years? Apparently so:

The Bush administration is talking to Iraqi leaders about guaranteeing Sunni Arabs a certain number of ministries or high-level jobs in the future Iraqi government if, as is widely predicted, Sunni candidates fail to do well in Iraq's elections.

...."There's some flexibility in approaching this problem," said an administration official. "There's a willingness to play with the end result - not changing the numbers, but maybe guaranteeing that a certain number of seats go to Sunni areas even if their candidates did not receive a certain percentage of the vote."

The idea of altering election results is so sensitive that administration officials who spoke about it did not want their names revealed. Some experts on Iraq say such talk could undercut efforts to drum up support for voting in Sunni areas.

It's the same story over and over and over again, isn't it? By the time the Bushies finally figure something out, it's too late to do anything about it. At this point, if they let the Shiites win all the seats it's a disaster, but if they arbitrarily take away some of their seats and award them to the Sunnis instead, that's a disaster too.

A year ago there were plenty of good proposals that could have avoided the worst of this fiasco. The best of them made use of geographical precincts, like an American congressional election. Under a system like that, there would have been plenty of predominantly Sunni precincts that would have elected Sunni representatives regardless of whether or not turnout was low. It wouldn't have been perfect, but it almost certainly would have been better than the kludge we're ending up with.

Watching these guys in action is truly a remarkable thing. I mean, it only makes sense that I think the Bush administration chooses the wrong course on ideological issues. After all, we're on opposite ends of the partisan spectrum. But what continually astonishes me and yes, I know it shouldn't anymore is their almost supernatural ability to choose the precisely wrong course even on purely operational, nonideological tasks. You'd think they'd occasionally get something right just by chance, wouldn't you?

UPDATE: And speaking of getting it wrong, here's a precis of getting it right from Eric Shinseki, the Army General who got it right before the Iraq war and was of course completely ignored by the Bush admnistration folks who thought they knew better.

Kevin Drum 2:02 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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