Feingold: Pay No Attention to That Elected Government In the Corner

Here’s an appalling little exchange I heard on NPR this morning, where Senator Russ Feingold, everybody’s favorite defender of free speech, exercises his own to question the legitimacy of the elected Iraqi government.
Feingold was thrillled to point out that Iraqi leaders meeting in Egypt at an Arab League summit called for a timetable for U.S. forces to withdraw from Iraq. Steve Inskeep of NPR, to his credit, pointed out that the position of the elected government of Iraq differs from that expressed at the summit, but Feingold would have none of it (RealAudio):
Inskeep: “We heard earlier this hour from the national security advisor in Iraq, who said Iraqi politicians said [that they wanted a timetable for withdrawal] but the government of Iraq essentially agrees with the Bush administration.”
Feingold: That’s right: the government of Iraq that was produced basically as a result of an American occupation as opposed to a general consensus from the country is not the test. The test is what the major interests in the country said. The major interests in the country, the political parties, hey, these are the people that are going to decide the future of the country. If you got the Sunnis, the Shiites, and the Kurds all agreeing that we need a timetable, who do you listen do? Do you listen to them, or do you listen to these folks that have a very shaky government that frankly was a result — of course, of an election — but also of an American invasion of the country… that is a very bad way to ignore the wishes of the Iraqi people.”

Absolutely charming.
Another way of describing, as Feingold put it in disapproving tones, “a very shaky government that frankly was a result… of an American invasion of the country,” would be “One of the first democratic governments in the history of the Middle East which over two thousand American soldiers have given their lives to establish, and which many more stand in harm’s way every day to protect.”
I think my formulation is more appropriate, and I’d like to wager Senator Feingold that the vast majority of the American soldiers he protests so much to support with demands for a withdrawal timetable would agree with me.
I’d also appreciate if someone on Senator Feingold’s staff could explain to me the following:
a) If the good Senator truly means what he implies: that he does not accept the legitimacy of the elected Iraqi government.
b) Whether he believes that the foreign policy of the United States will be aided, or hindered, by casting such aspersions on the Iraqi government and de facto agreeing with the terrorists who, not incidentally, are also quite interested in undermining the credibility and legitimacy of the government in the eyes of Iraqis and the world
It is apparently not sufficient for Senator Feingold to focus exclusively on the failures which have undeniably occurred during the Iraq war. He now finds it necessary to also cast aspersions on the actual victories —- i.e., the conduct of elections and the establishment of a democratically, if imperfectly, elected government.
One has to wonder what, exactly, would constitute “success” for the Senator — other than, of course, the political humiliation of George W. Bush.

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