Wednesday, September 03, 2003
::: More Short Takes ~~ Iraq :::
Unprepared For Peace in Iraq
.... the frustration of the Iraqi people grows by the day, as does their anger. The inability of the United States even to restore basic amenities further fuels the fire.
Despite the best hopes for an Iraqi democracy, the Iraqi people and the world see only the worst fears of occupation. Instead of inspiring steps toward self-government, we witness hit-and-run murders of U.S. soldiers, terrorist attacks and sabotage. Our military action in Iraq has forged a caldron of contempt for America, a dangerous brew that may poison the efforts of peace throughout the Middle East and result in the rapid invigoration of worldwide terrorism.
A hallmark of true leadership is the ability to admit when one is wrong and to learn from errors. Candidate George W. Bush spoke about the need for humility from a great and powerful nation. He said, "Let us reject the blinders of isolationism, just as we refuse the crown of empire. Let us not dominate others with our power -- or betray them with our indifference. And let us have an American foreign policy that reflects American character. The modesty of true strength. The humility of real greatness." It is time for the Bush administration to swallow its false pride and return to that philosophy of humility before it is too late.
India, France & Germany .... Will Not Send Troops
WASHINGTON - India is insisting on a United Nations resolution mandating international cooperation before sending 25,000 of its troops to Iraq.
Germany will send troops, too, but not if they're under US command.
France will send its soldiers only if UN weapons inspectors return to Iraq, because it does not trust leaving the hunt for outlawed weapons solely to the Americans.
And in the administration itself, Defense Department officials are refusing to cede any control over the reconstruction of Iraq to the UN.
Last week, after the bombing of the UN office in Baghdad, Washington called for more nations to join the peacekeeping effort. The administration was responding both to growing concern in the United States over the cost of the Iraq occupation and to rising anti-US sentiment in Iraq. Administration officials and international diplomats said yesterday that those and other efforts to win international backing are making little, if any, progress. The US insistence on maintaining full military and political control in Iraq is blocking agreement with France, Germany, Russia, India, Pakistan, and Turkey. The last two, as Islamic nations, are particularly important to the peacekeeping effort, officials said.
Just The Facts ... Or Percentages From Newsweek
Ok guys ... this one just chock full of stats! Like ...
The failure to capture Saddam Hussein or Osama Bin Laden, and the slow progress in Iraq have also affected Americans' views on the Bush administration's efforts to fight terrorists at home and abroad--but not drastically. A slim majority (54 percent) still approve of the way Bush is handling the situation in Iraq, though Bush had a 74 percent approval rating in his handling of Iraq in mid-April
The biggest shift in opinion, however, comes in Bush's handling of non-terror issues. A plurality of voters now think the Democratic leaders in Congress have a better approach to dealing with the economy, tax cuts, healthcare, education, social security, the environment and energy policy. In January 2002, more thought Bush had the best approach to handling all the issues above, except the environment.
Who's Losing Iraq
Karl Rove has got to be nervous.
With Iraqis in Najaf screaming, "There is no order! There is no government! We'd rather have Saddam than this!," we had one more ominous illustration that the Bush team is out of its depth and divided against itself.
You can't conduct a great historical experiment in a petty and bickering frame of mind. The agencies of the Bush administration are behaving like high school cliques. The policy in Iraq is paralyzed almost to the point of nonexistence, stalled by spats between the internationalists and unilateralists, with the national security director, Condoleezza Rice, abnegating her job as policy referee.
The State Department will have to stop sulking and being in denial about the Pentagon running the show in Iraq. And the Pentagon will have to stop being dogmatic, clinging to the quixotic notion that it only wants to succeed with its streamlined force and its trompe l'oeil coalition. Rummy has to accept the magnitude of the task and give up running the Department of Defense the way a misanthropic accountant would.
Another Bush-Cheney energy crony is Anthony Alexander of Ohio's FirstEnergy Corporation, which helped trigger the blackout after failing to upgrade its transmission system properly since deregulation. He was a Bush Pioneer, having raised at least $100,000 for the campaign.
This logrolling attitude has led to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers allowing Halliburton â€” which made Mr. Cheney a rich man with $20 million worth of cashed-in stock â€” to get no-bid contracts in Iraq totaling $1.7 billion, and that's just a start.
When he wasn't meeting secretly with energy lobbyists, Mr. Cheney was meeting secretly with Iraqi exiles. The Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmad Chalabi and other defectors conned Mr. Cheney, Rummy and the naÃ¯ve Wolfowitz of Arabia by playing up the danger of Saddam's W.M.D.'s and playing down the prospect of Iraqi resistance to a U.S. invasion.
UK Official Who Resigned Speaks Out
Hutton's remit was narrow - yet he has exposed the truth about the Iraq war
After eight days of the Hutton inquiry and enormous quantities of media coverage, it is worth pausing to try to take stock. Many of us have said that, deliberately or otherwise, Alastair Campbell's decision to go to war with the BBC had the potential to distract attention from the most important questions arising from the Iraq crisis - whether the nation was deceived on the road to war, and where responsibility lies for the continuing chaos and loss of life in Iraq.
Lord Hutton has been charged with inquiring into the narrower question of the circumstances that led to the death of Dr David Kelly and will report on this very important question. But his inquiry is revealing important information that casts light on the bigger question of how we got to war.
We know through emails revealed by Hutton that Tony Blair's chief of staff made clear that the dossier was likely to convince those who were prepared to be convinced, but that the document "does nothing to demonstrate he [Saddam Hussein] has the motive to attack his neighbours, let alone the west. We will need to be clear in launching the document that we do not claim that we have evidence that he is an imminent threat. The case we are making is that he has continued to develop WMD since 1998, and is in breach of UN resolutions. The international community has to enforce those resolutions if the UN is to be taken seriously."
The tragedy of all this is that if we had followed Jonathan Powell's conclusion, and the UK had used its friendship with the US to keep the world united on a UN route, then, even if it had come to war, a united international community under a UN mandate would almost certainly have made a better job of supporting Iraq's reconstruction. In this scenario the armed forces would have concentrated on keeping order; the UN humanitarian system would have fixed the water and electricity systems; Sergio Vieira de Mello, as Kofi Annan's special representative, would have helped the Iraqis to install an interim government and begin a process of constitutional change, as the UN has done in Afghanistan; and the World Bank and IMF would have advised the Iraqi interim authority on transparent economic reform, rather than a process of handover to US companies.