Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Off Course

Paul Krugman has an interesting column today in the NYT about the administration's divorce from reality in Iraq. Among many interesting points:

"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."

It brings to mind something else I heard this morning, the tail end of an NPR interview with Senator McCain. It was pointed out that not a single official has been fired from the administration or a US agency/department over the intelligence failure around 9/11. Its also interesting to note that, despite not one of their assertations on Iraq having been held to be true, not a single person has been fired over Iraq. Where are the WMDs? Where are the cheering crowds greeting us as liberators? Where is this great and shining Middle East democracy we were promised? Where are our troops? Why has no one stood up and said that they're responsible for this mess? Why do we continue to refuse to send more troops, despite our military commanders requesting them?Why do we continue to talk about "staying the course" in Iraq when that course was flawed from the beginning, and is still flawed now. Isn't our "course" what got us into this mess in the first place?

John Kerry has an oped piece in the Post today on this subject. While I think his plan to get NATO involved will be a non-starter with our European friends (at least with the current administration still in power here), I continue to like getting the UN more heavily involved. One thing he said of particular note:

"Finally, we must level with our citizens. Increasingly, the American people are confused about our goals in Iraq, particularly why we are going it almost alone. The president must rally the country around a clear and credible goal. The challenges are significant and the costs are high. But the stakes are too great to lose the support of the American people."

This is something I've wanted for a long, long time. I don't believe El Presidente is capable of it, given the appaling lack of hubris in his administration. But I might be wrong. Maybe he isn't afraid of admitting that mistakes were made. I suppose we'll see. I won't hold my breath, though.


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