Intrepid reporter Spencer asks the tough questions about the new Iraqi reconciliation law:
This de-Baathification law sounds worse than not having a law in the first place. The Sunnis see the fix is in. Acrimony increases. The Shiites get frustrated -- haven't they gone as far as they could? Other efforts to reintegrate the Sunnis into the process of which the Shiites are already suspicious -- languish. The Sunnis have 70,000 new gunmen on the streets. Are they going to be silent while their relatives are purged even further, in the name of de-Baathification, or while the Shiite government breaks its promises?
That last question is the most interesting to Charlie. If the surge was meant to allow for political progress, then we've been left wanting. We can all celebrate the decline in violence (especially those with friends and family deployed), but the clock hasn't stopped while party members negotiate in Baghdad. Quite the contrary. If some sort of national consensus isn't formed, and if the Sunni CLCs aren't integrated into the Iraqi Security Forces, we may well still see helicopters on top of embassies before this is all over.