Democrats and Republicans Agree on Iraq Issue

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The Iraqi parliament wanted to take a two-month vacation during July and August, but fortunately thought better of it when the U.S. Congress went nuts. This is one of those occasions in which I would think Democrats and Republicans are joining hands in the U.S. Congress. As long as American soldiers are patrolling Baghdad, shooting and getting shot, Iraq's parliament ought to be on the job trying to figure out a political agreement between warring Shia and Sunnis that might end the sectarian violence.

Americans of all political stripes are getting the feeling that Iraqis don't actually care if the sectarian violence ends. In fact, Americans who are Republicans and conservatives and independents who have supported the war and the construction of an Iraqi democracy have had reason to wonder if the Iraq government itself isn't behind some of the sectarian violence. We ask ourselves: Do Iraqi Sunnis want to kill Iraqi Shia and do Iraqi Shia want to kill Iraqi Sunnis, and if that's the case maybe we should leave and just let them?

After all, new studies on Iraq's oil reserves — giant underground oceans of oil that haven't been tapped — show that Iraq might be the richest country in the world someday. If there aren't enough billions for Iraq's Sunnis to share with Iraq's Shia and vice versa, why should we be involved in a squabble about who gets the entire pile of mega billions?

Seriously. Many people think the real dispute in Iraq is over oil, and the warring parties are happy to let it sit in the ground untouched while they work on killing all those on the other side who would share in the wealth if they were alive, but won't be able to spend a dollar if they are dead.

This is leaving aside the centuries-old dispute between Sunni and Shia about how Islam should be run: by descendants of the prophet or by a council of wisemen. That dispute alone has led to countless deaths. The oil haggle is leading to countless more.

The Iraqi parliament's job is to sort that out, not to let it flame unattended while they go off on a two-month vacation that would make the French envious.

That's My Word.

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