Attesting to our “success” in helping Iraq form a government, we hear that yesterday they ousted the speaker of parliament for being “an embarrassment”. The speaker, Mahmoud Mashhadani, was almost thrown out last year, so this has been going on for a while. But in NPR's report on the situation, we get the distinct impression that Mr Mashhadani is not the only “embarrassment” in the benighted parliament:
Some of the people that we talk to, some of the more experienced politicians, say that a lot of the people in parliament are immature. They have no experience of doing their jobs and they come at it with a very immature perspective. Parliament's supposed to meet at 11 a.m., and the press is there at 11 a.m., and most of the parliamentarians don't turn up until 1. So they don't even present themselves as being serious in their duties. We hear a lot of reports about the absenteeism, the fact that they often don't have enough numbers to hold a session, and that, in fact, when they do turn up it's usually because the agenda of the day concerns their salaries or their benefits or things like that. So they're not taken seriously on the streets of Baghdad, people don't believe that the Iraqi parliamentarians actually work in their interest, and they're seen, pretty much, here as largely irrelevant.
Of course, I suppose they could instead be working on symbolic resolutions that have no real weight, and they could have a member who's under indictment for bribery, racketeering, and money laundering after being caught with money stashed in his freezer.
But, really, the worst that our congress gets seems far more professional and productive. Granted, it's a young parliament, so perhaps we shouldn't be judging it too harshly yet. Except for the screaming success that our leadership claims off of it.