Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Zakaria on Iraq 

Here's Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria's latest piece on Iraq. A couple key graf's:

"The tragedy is that so much of this was avoidable. The Bush administration went into Iraq with a series of prejudices about Iraq, rogue states, nation-building, the Clinton administration, multilateralism and the U.N. It believed Iraq was going to vindicate these ideological positions. As events unfolded the administration proved stubbornly unwilling to look at facts on the ground, new evidence and the need for shifts in its basic approach. It was more important to prove that it was right than to get Iraq right."


"the troops were not asked to make security for the Iraqi people their core mission. After spending a week in Iraq last November, the Brookings Institution's Kenneth Pollack noted that "the single greatest impediment" to the success of the reconstruction efforts was that Iraqis "do not feel safe in their own country. Iraqis resent the fact that American forces take such pains to protect themselves and do so little to protect the Iraqi people." He noted the "constant (and fully justified) complaint of Iraqis: the Americans have no presence and make no effort to stop street crime or the attacks on [Iraqis] by the [insurgents]." Since November, American forces have been moving out of cities into heavily armed base camps in outlying districts, out of sight. In Baghdad, the Army started out with more than 60 small units scattered throughout the city. It will soon be based in eight camps, mostly outside the city. When patrols take place, they are usually quick tours using armored cars and tanks, not the frequent foot patrols that provide order and friendly relations with locals."

It's scary how little planning seems to have taken place in anticipation of what could happen and even worse, how little the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) has properly adapted to correct what has gone wrong. When asked, last night, about who we're going to hand Iraq to on June 30th, the President replied, "we'll find out soon." I don't think he even knows.


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