Friday, April 16, 2004

Thursday, [American soldiers] had been out, handing out candy, shaking hands with people. Residents had been giving them flowers. Suddenly, they were taking small arms fire from a house. A homemade bomb exploded, and suddenly the same people who had been giving them flowers were now cheering.

The quotation above from the Post-Dispatch illustrates one thing: Lord knows, we need a way to get out of there. Bush’s idea of a credible plan is to put Chalabi and the other Governing Council people in charge. Sigh. On the assumption we can show Bush the door in November, we’ll be needing a real plan. It’s tempting to give Saddam Hussein a shave and a haircut, declare him rehabilitated, and put him back in charge. But nobody will go for that. Bring in the U.N.? Our troops have done an admirable job of balancing force with caution and concern, so I’m not criticizing them when I say that the U.N. couldn’t do worse than we have. Koffi Anan might have a better idea than the cowboys in D.C. of how to settle down this hornets’ nest. Whether the U.N. could actually bring peace is anybody’s guess. Paul Krugman had the most intriguing idea:

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.

That “V” word keeps coming up more and more these days. Sure, the body count in Iraq is miles below that of Vietnam—so far. But the destructive potential of continued conflict in this particularly bloody, maniacal corner of the planet is breathtaking.

You know the situation is beyond awful when Charles Krauthammer agrees with Paul Krugman: "We must put down the rebellions, then transfer power as quickly as we can to those who will inherit it anyway: The Shiite majority . . . ."

Sometimes I just want to grab Dumbya by the shoulders, shake him like a ragdoll, and scream imprecations.


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