Last Real Chance in Iraq
: Another clear piece from Fareed Zakaria. "Weeks after formal hostilities ended, France and Germany made clear that they would be willing to provide major support for postwar reconstruction in Iraq. But they asked that it take place under U.N. auspices, as had all recent nation-building, including Afghanistan's. Tony Blair urged that the United States accept these offers, but Washington spurned them, finding the requirement for U.N. control intolerable. "We're utterly surprised," a senior U.N. diplomat told me in June 2003. "We thought the United States would dump Iraq on the world's lap and the rest of the world would object ... The opposite is happening. The rest of the world is saying, 'We're willing to help,' but Washington is determined to run Iraq itself.".. [Now] an administration so hostile to the U.N. finds that it is at the mercy of the U.N. for its salvation." 3:19:43 PM
Snares and Delusions
: Krugman nails it. "Mr. Bush, who once challenged his own father to go mano a mano, is still addicted to tough talk, and still personalizes everything.
Again and again, administration officials have insisted that some particular evildoer is causing all our problems. Last July they confidently predicted an end to the insurgency after Saddam's sons were killed. In December, they predicted an end to the insurgency after capturing Saddam himself. Six weeks ago — was it only six weeks? — Al Qaeda was orchestrating the insurgency, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was the root of all evil. The obvious point that we're facing widespread religious and nationalist resentment in Iraq, which is exploited but not caused by the bad guy du jour, never seems to sink in.
The situation in Falluja seems to have been greatly exacerbated by tough-guy posturing and wishful thinking. According to The Jerusalem Post, after the murder and mutilation of American contractors, Mr. Bush told officials that "I want heads to roll." Didn't someone warn him of the likely consequences of attempting to carry out a manhunt in a hostile, densely populated urban area?
And now we have a new villain. Yesterday Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez declared that "the mission of the U.S. forces is to kill or capture Moktada al-Sadr." If and when they do, we'll hear once again that we've turned the corner. Does anyone believe it?
When will we learn that we're not going to end the mess in Iraq by getting bad guys? There are always new bad guys to take their place. And let's can the rhetoric about staying the course. In fact, we desperately need a change in course.
The best we can realistically hope for now is to turn power over to relatively moderate Iraqis with a real base of popular support. Yes, that mainly means Islamic clerics. The architects of the war will complain bitterly, and claim that we could have achieved far more. But they've been wrong about everything so far — and if we keep following their advice, Iraq really will turn into another Vietnam. " 12:53:17 AM