Things that take time, um, take time

Noticed this question and answer from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s recent Princeton speech appearance:

Q4: Do you foresee a possibility of a federal outcome in Iraq, and is the US OK on it?

Dr. Rice: I expect a distribution of power between the center and the regions. The constitution acknowledges a federal system but there’ll be quite a debate as to what it means. Iraq’s neighbors expect a united Iraq but of course in a united Iraq there will be a distribution of powers between the center and the regions. The constitution left the writing of rules to the next assembly, which will be more representative, and then those rules will be written in a way that addresses that certain functions will be reserved to the state. We’ll stand back and let them figure it out.” [emphasis mine]

I figure the speech must have been a good one, since it received so little attention. But this is top-notch.

Many of the same folks who don’t understand why it’s taking so long to build a professional army in Iraq also don’t understand why the process to write, approve, and implement a new Iraqi constitution is taking so long.

What do the two issues have in common? A large group of folks who don’t understand them.

Also, it bears reminding that America’s new constitution went over so well that we threw it out within a few years. And the replacement wasn’t approved until major additions had been tacked on. And even then, of course, the thing wasn’t quite perfect. Two hundred years later, it still isn’t.

(via The Bad Hair Blog)


  1. Why is the burden to ‘understand’ on us? Shouldn’t the aministartion explain it in clear terms so we can understand. Maybe the delivery of there message is the problem.

  2. I have the feeling the Iraq Constitution, as written, actually encourages the break-up of Iraq. Kurdistan seems destined to go its own way, if it already hasn’t. And if the Sunni Arabs don’t soon accept the idea that their minority no longer has dictatorial power, the Shiites can take what’s left of the oil and go, too. That would leave Iraq’s Sunni Arabs with a lot of sand, unless they want to move in with their neighboring Sunnis in oil-rich Saudi Arabia. It would be unfair to punish all Sunni Arabs for the violence that a minority of their minority is inflicting on Iraq. On the other hand, too many ‘moderate’ Sunnis are tolerating the totalitarians in their midst. If Iraq breaks up, the Sunni Arabs will have asked for it.

  3. Joe: You are right that we don’t always get everything we need from the administration, but Sec. Rice is a member of the administration and she said this. They can’t stand there and try to teach everybody about history and explain everything they’re telling us like we’re all five-year-olds.

  4. The Iraqi national legislature, much like ours, will almost certainly accrete powere to itself. I’d be surprised if they ever give up control of oil revenues.

  5. Joe, you are ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. The delivery is the problem. For example, regarding the facts around the number of Iraqi battalions at L1, L2, etc. It is shoddy communication at best, intentional deceit at worst, to talk about 2 battalions slipping from L1 to L2, while ignoring the 18 that moved from L3 to L2 in the same time period, and talking like it was a terrible thing. Also, talking about L1 battalions as though they ar ethe only ones usful for fighting. The delivery of that message is a serious problem, though it can only really be solved by voting with your remote control, web browser, etc. Good call on that one, Joe.

  6. Listen up man! (JOE) Its true that President Bush may not be the most eloquent man alive – nevertheless I’m sick and tired of hearing that he hasn’t told us such and such (this is going to be a long hard fight, what are we fighting for, what do we need to accomplish to win in Iraq, what’s our stratagey in the war on terror, ecta.) The President has addressed all of these and more. And if you haven’t heard it than – excuse me for saying so – the President’s lack of eloquence is nothing compaired to your cloth ears. – BTW NICE work Murdoc.