Representative Ike Skelton (D-Mo.)

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Mother Jones: How will the power shift in Iraq work, politically speaking?

Rep. Ike Skelton: The government has to assume its duties. I’m very disappointed in the government. It is disappointing that it hasn’t done hardly anything toward reconciliation, such as passing legislation. The parliament is a mess and the whole government is waiting to turn to worms.

MJ: Is there enough stability for the Maliki government to be replaced through an organized, constitutional process?

IS: Well, they had successful elections, but I suppose they will have future successful elections. They were secure, and I can’t see any reason to think you cannot have future elections equally so.

MJ: Do you think the Maliki government has much of a future?

IS: Not unless they get their act together.

MJ: Along the lines of passing legislation, what do you think are some key moves the Iraqi government needs to make to prepare for an American withdrawal?

IS: Well, of course, make sure their military assumes their security. Get their police force operating much better than it is today. Make sure parliament works and represents the people. It is a tough job. Reconciliation is difficult at best, but they are going to have to do it or the whole thing just collapses. Even if you had a huge success on the battlefield, it will be for naught unless the political arm gets its act together. Frankly, I’m very, very concerned about this.

MJ: Let me ask you about some of the things we leave behind in Iraq. What do we do with all of the prisoners who are in U.S. detention centers? What do we do with the military bases we’ve been using?

IS: The military bases are one thing. You can hope the Iraqi military will be in such good shape that they can assume security of their own country. We of course could leave some trainers and advisers there and of course some personnel to guard our embassy, our troops.

MJ: What about the detainees in U.S.-run detention centers?

IS: I don’t have a clue.

MJ: Okay, who makes that decision? Is it the military, the administration, I guess?

IS: Yes.

SIX TRUTHS

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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