Payback’s a bitch

So it would seem in Iraq, as evidence mounts that organized Iraqi military, mostly Shia units of the kind we are attaching the future of Iraqi security to, have been carrying out kidnappings and executions of Sunnis from Sunni neighborhoods.
This, of course, is the perceived pay-back for years of abuse of Shia at the hands of the Sunni dominated Baathist government (or perhaps, for other grudges of shorter or longer standing.)
These revelations emerge at the same time that the nascent Iraqi government attempts to try former Iraqi despot Saddam Hussein for various crimes against the Iraqi people. Indeed, the trial has been adjourned for a week so that the defense team of Saddam and other high Baathist government officials can replace defense counsel who were recently murdered.
Can Saddam Hussein (and his co-defendants) be afforded anything resembling a fair trial under these circumstances? Should Shia militiamen with a tendency to murder civilians be placed in charge of security in Iraq? These sorts of facts lead to questions that answer themselves in undesirable ways.
The resounding “NO” as the answer to both questions are for the same reason: Iraq is simply not ready for either event right now. Yes, of course it would be emotionally satisfying to give Saddam Hussein a kangaroo court, and then take him out and shoot him; he would afford any of us nothing better. Ah, but we’re supposed to be better than he is. This is supposed to be the new Iraq. Which takes us to those military units that wantonly abuse Sunni civilians…
Right now, it just doesn’t look like Iraq is ready for us to hand back full control to it. It’s unfortunate that our military imperatives (we have stretched our manpower resources to an unsustainable level, and for that reason alone, must draw down to some degree) and, of course, our domestic political imperatives (36, 37% presidential approval polls less than a year before mid-term Congressional elections) mean… the Iraqis will soon get a lot more control over their own affairs…
OTOH, of course, Iraq will have its parliamentary elections in just two weeks or so; perhaps some kind of a consensus toward a national future can be reached then. Perhaps the Iraqis will sort out their differences, and Shia and Sunni (and Kurd) will figure out how to get along in the joint project of re-forming their own nation, and order can be restored, and a peaceful, prosperous Iraq, grateful to us for its liberation, can go forward into the new Middle East as a bright beacon of freedom and democracy.
Maybe. Certainly, all that would be a good thing… no, it would be a great thing. That’s just not how you bet.