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NYT: All The Conjecture That's Fit To Print
May 21, 2006
The new Iraqi government has selected a cabinet (minus a few ministers whose appointments must still be worked out in coming days). Amidst ongoing sectarian violence and a great deal of underreported progress in Iraq, it is another landmark, along with the adoption of a constitution and the election of a new, post-Saddam parliament. Read in full each of the four reports I link to below, to see how different papers cover the same story differently. The New York Times stands out. The Grey Lady has a lot invested in the failure of Iraq. The first few grafs of each version follow.
First, the L.A. Times, via the SF Chron:
Iraq's battling communities came together Saturday to approve their first full-term government since the fall of Saddam Hussein, placing a nation fractured from three years of war into the hands of a diverse but potentially weak Cabinet. In a stuffy chamber tucked deep inside rings of blast walls, barbed wire and bomb-sniffing dogs, parliament voted in favor of a 37-member Cabinet cobbled together by new Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. In the heart of the Green Zone, far from the reach of ordinary Iraqis, lawmakers raised their hands to vet each member. Although it was marked by a walkout by a handful of angry Sunni lawmakers, the inauguration shattered the deadlock that had paralyzed Iraqi governance since December.
Now, The Guardian (UK):
Iraq's first democratic postwar government was finally sworn in yesterday, a critical step raising the prospect of British troop withdrawals. Tony Blair, who hailed what he said was a 'huge step forward' for the fledgling democracy, insisted the soldiers would stay until their job was done rather than setting a fixed timetable for departure. He promised to support the new Iraqi cabinet in securing the country so it could 'get to the point where Iraq can take control of its own destiny'. That would mean assuming command of its own security, allowing Britain and the US to start bringing their soldiers home. However, two crucial posts in the defence and interior ministries - central to ending the insurgency - remain unfilled because the parliament was unable to agree on candidates. Both London and Washington are hoping that the appointment of a government with greater credibility and determination than its predecessor will help calm the insurgency, which has flourished unabated during months of effective political vacuum.
Prime Minister John Howard has urged the West not to be so cynical about Iraq following the first meeting of new Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's cabinet. The ratification of the new government is a true milestone on Iraq's hard march towards a more hopeful future, Mr Howard said, noting that the Iraqi people have voted in democratic elections three times despite violent intimidation. He wrote to Mr al-Maliki today promising continued Australian support for the nation as it attempts to rebuild. "We tend to forget how long it has taken other societies to fully embrace democracy," Mr Howard told reporters in Dublin. "We're too hard on the Iraqis. The cynics in the West are unreasonable, they're over demanding, their expectations are far too high. "They forget history and they forget how long it has taken countries that are now accepted entrenched democracies to fully embrace it, and I think this is an occasion where the world should applaud the courage of the Iraqis."
Finally, the NYT:
Iraqi leaders on Saturday approved a full-term government here for the first time since the fall of Saddam Hussein more than three years ago, but one that appeared to lack the cohesion needed to quell the sectarian and guerrilla violence engulfing the country. Members of Iraq's Parliament voted on Saturday to approve cabinet members for the new government led by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. The Iraqi Parliament approved 36 ministers who will form a cabinet led by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, a member of the dominant Shiite coalition that captured a majority of the votes cast in nationwide elections on Dec. 15. But three of the most important posts in the government â€” the Ministries of Defense, Interior and National Security â€” were left vacant because Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish leaders could not agree on who should fill them. Those three ministries are especially sensitive because each controls some part of Iraq's new security forces. That gives them a central role in fighting the guerrilla insurgency, but they have been accused of carrying out sectarian vendettas as well.
When those posts are filled, we can rest assured The Times will continue to provide all the news that's fit to print about what's gone wrong in Iraq, and what The Times thinks will probably go wrong in Iraq. Once again, thank goodness for Google News, and the blogosphere.
Posted by Matt Rosenberg at May 21, 2006 01:36 PM
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