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A New (Old) Law of the Land

The Iraqi parliament recently passed a law aimed at reforming the process of "de-Baathification" in Iraq, a key benchmark of political reconciliation set out by President Bush when he announced the troop increase a year ago. Bush hailed the law's passage as "an important step toward reconciliation." Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that "it is clearly a step forward for the process of healing the wounds of the past" and that it reflects "the nature of democratic compromise." The law is intended to replace the first order of the Coalition Provisional Authority, which put tens of thousands of members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party out of work after the 2003 U.S. invasion. As Rice said last May, U.S. officials wanted the Iraqi-drafted replacement "to show that people who perhaps joined the Baath Party because it was an instrumental thing to do can be welcomed back into political life." But a close look at some of the law's key provisions shows that in many ways, it is a step away from reconciliation, not toward it. - Glenn Kessler

 A New (Old) Law of the Land

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Iraq's New Law on Ex-Baathists Could Bring Another Purge
Article | BAGHDAD -- Maj. Gen. Hussein al-Awadi, a former official in Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, became the commander of the Iraqi National Police despite a 2003 law barring the party from government.

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