Iraq – National Reconciliation: Slowly, but surely

Ed Morrissey was on a teleconference with Rep. Michele Bachmann who relayed the following news:

[T]he National Assembly passed a pension bill, a critical step in reconciliation. That did not get much mention in the American media, but the Sunnis now have government pensions denied them after the fall of Saddam, which should alleviate much of the hostility.

Another step in the national reconciliation process is underway as well:

The Iraqi cabinet approved a draft law on Wednesday that will offer a general pardon to thousands of prisoners in U.S. military and Iraqi custody, a government spokesman said.

“The cabinet has passed the general pardon law, which will define who is eligible to be freed from all prisons, both Iraqi and American,” spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told Reuters.

The law still needs to be approved by parliament.

Iraq’s national security adviser, Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, said earlier this month that the draft law was aimed at boosting reconciliation between majority Shi’ite and Sunni Arab Muslims, locked in a cycle of violence.

In addition, while the oil revenue law hasn’t yet been passed, oil revenue is being shared among the various factions within Iraq. It is, in fact, directly responsible for much of the economic renewal that is happening there as well as many of the much needed infrastructure repairs.

Speaking of progress, another outspoken critic is seeing changes for the better in Iraq:

U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., who has been a vocal critic of President Bush’s policy in the war in Iraq, on Monday visited troops in Iraq and said the situation appears to be improving.

“It’s headed in a much better direction but everything is very tentative,” Boyda said after receiving briefings from war commander Army Gen. David Petraeus, U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and others.

She said that violence has decreased significantly in the region but that U.S. military and civilian officials don’t want to raise hopes yet.

“What is happening on the ground tactically is very good, and everyone is hopeful that it will continue, but no one is taking anything for granted and they don’t want to overstate things,” she said.

No, you don’t want to overstate things yet, but progress has become so obvious now, that even the critics can’t ignore it or deny it any longer … well, except in our comment section.

Cross-posted at QandO.

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