Friday, December 12, 2003

New York Times opinion roundup
Two notable pieces on Iraq in the past two days, one from plodding ol' Thomas Friedman and one from Paul Krugman, who we all know has either not been taking his medication or has been taking too much.

Friedman details the effects the removal of Saddam is having on the Israeli political landscape, and in doing so he puts forth as accurate an explanation of why we really invaded as I've yet seen. I.e., the war wasn't about WMD, oil or even some mo' of that gravy for Halliburton. This war is a grand (or grandiose) attempt to create a friendly Arab democracy, thereby giving us an alternative to knee-jerk, divisive support of Israel, and in doing so to utterly remake a troubled region. I don't necessarily agree that the invasion/occupation is necessarily worth all the lost lives, money and credibility, nor do I believe democracy can be created from the top down. However, it's nice to see a growing understanding of the real reasoning behind this war.
-- Friedman: "Breaking and Entering"

Krugman, for his part, takes on Paul Wolfowitz's memo limiting rebuilding contracts to Coalition partners, and bascially calls it a baldfaced attempt to sabotage a potential reconciliation with France, Germany and their ilk. Could be. But I would like to raise another possibility. What if the memo is nothing but a bargaining tactic, an unrealistically harsh position designed to be rescinded at the negotiating table? Imagine James Baker telling the French, with a crooked saleman's best phony agony, "You're killing me here, fellas, and my boss isn't gonna like this, but...but...bu...Aw hell I tell you what: You folks forgive Saddam's debts, throw in a few fresh troops and dammit if I won't see if I can get you gentlemen in on a few sweetheart roadbuilding deals." Well?
-- Krugman: "A Deliberate Debacle"

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