Looking for Uncle Muhammad

By Noble Johns

WASHINGTON (BNW)—In its failed effort to occupy a country that has successfully resisted occupation before America was born, the Bush administration is now trying to institute the old “Uncle Tom” system in a country that has resisted outside control over its culture and way of life for over two thousand years. They are not like Uncle Tom Blacks in America!

As a result of its failed tricks on the Iraqi people, the administration is wondering what to do with the Iraqi Council. A puppet Council that Bush thought he could use like he uses Uncle Toms in this country; it just won’t work over there!

Paul Bremer, Chief U.S. administrator in Iraq abruptly returned to Washington on this week signaling that the Bush administration is considering changes to improve security in Iraq and hasten the return of Iraqi sovereignty.

Bremer "has not given up yet on the Governing Council, but he has been frustrated that they have not been on the job as much as he'd like," said Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., speaking by telephone from Germany after a visit to Iraq, where he met with Bremer on Sunday.

Bremer met at the White House with Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, CIA director George Tenet, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other top national security officials.

"They are taking a look at the political horizon and the security horizon, making sure we are making the tactical adaptations we need to succeed," said an administration official with knowledge of the meeting.

The officials met after several weeks of intensifying violence in Iraq and mounting criticism of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council, which faces a Dec. 15 United Nations deadline for setting a timetable for a new constitution and elections. A major focus is on how to help the council meet the deadline, said a high-level State Department official. Discussions with Bremer are expected to continue today.

Bremer's sudden departure caused him to cancel a planned meeting in Baghdad with Polish Prime Minister Leszek Miller. A U.S. official familiar with Bremer's trip said he came to discuss a "reasonable timeline" for turning over sovereignty to an Iraqi government. A congressional aide closely involved in Iraq policy said the administration is debating a new political framework that would put in place an interim Iraqi administration with more power than the current Governing Council while a constitution is prepared. The Bush administration has rejected this approach on the grounds that any Iraqi government should work within agreed-on constitutional limits.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar also criticized the 24-member council Tuesday. He said the group's meeting schedule is "spasmodic" and that its rotating monthly presidents prefer traveling the globe to the hard work of restoring Iraqi sovereignty.

Lugar suggested weighing alternate ways of moving from the U.S.-led occupation to Iraqi rule. One option: a nationwide conference to choose an interim government along the lines of the loya jirga, or grand council, held in Afghanistan last year.

Lugar said that while some officials have legitimate concerns for their safety — council member Aquila al-Hashimi was assassinated in September — others appear interested in the trappings of power.

Council member Ahmad Chalabi disputed Lugar, insisting in a telephone interview from Baghdad that the council has taken many important steps, including appointing ministers and passing new laws on banking, taxation, and investment. The council's problem, Chalabi said, "is that we have bad media outreach."

Council members met last Thursday with Bremer and urged him to expand the council into an interim government while Iraqis elect a constitution-writing conference. Bremer was non-committal, Chalabi said.

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