Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was in Iraq this past week. The surprising theme of his visit was the c-word. That’s compromise, which has been a very dirty word describing an almost obscene concept for the current regime in Washington.
Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds are having a hard time deciding on how to define federalism. They’re also at odds over the issue of whether to treat adult women as fully empowered citizens or as chattels, the latter justified as usual by resort to religious texts.
Rumsfeld was pushing the Bush notion of a united, democratic Iraq, the achievement of which, on paper anyway, is critical to the administration’s less and less popular project of reforming Iraq. The administration is worried that the constitution writers in Bagdad will end up by replacing the Saddam Hussein version of a unified Iraq with something closer to chaos than confederation.
So there was bullheaded Donald Rumsfeld, caught on videocam, scolding his recalcitrant clients: “It’s time for compromise. That’s what politics is all about.”