I have to say, I find it fascinating that the Iraq Prime Minister will not give up his seat for the good of his country. He persists in holding onto his seat with clenched teeth, despite his own party turning away from him. See CBS news report. When we were in Iraq, we, the USA forces, strove mightily from the lowest rungs of the political ladder to the upper most rungs, to "coach" the Iraqis to be more inclusive and to explore the art of the compromise. Not every disagreement needs to be settled with the wrong end of a rifle. 

But, it is impressive that the President nominated the deputy speaker of the Parliament to serve as Prime Minister. Some of our lessons apparently took hold. 

During my time in Iraq in 2005-2006, we were struck at how long it took the Iraqi Parliament to form a new government after their first elections. That scenario has since played itself out again. Political compromise is so very hard for folks who are untrained and unschooled in democracy. Skills we learn in high school fishing clubs are still very new to so many Iraqis. Those high school clubs serve an important purpose. They often serve as our introduction to democracy. But, in Iraq, prior to 2003, everything was dictated by a central government. 

While on the subject of Iraq, I will add that is is disheartening to see much of the facilities and institutions we built being wasted. How hard we worked to connect the oil refinery in Bayji with Baghdad. How many times we briefed the status of the all-important power lines between Mosul, Tikrit and Baghdad. Now, none of that matters because ISIS controls everything between Mosul and Tikrit. 

We gave the Iraqis the tools to form a country. But, it is up to them to hang onto that country. Or not.