Friday, December 02, 2005

fish or cut bait in Iraq

Madeleine Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State, is much wiser and more knowledgable than I on this topic:

The administration will not simply cut and run. A decent interval will be observed. The White House will need time to recondition public expectations. If it is Machiavellian enough, it will find a way to blame anti-war critics for emboldening the enemy such that phased withdrawal became the only option. The administration will blame allies for not doing more, the United Nations for inadequate election planning, Iran and Syria for fueling the violence and Iraqi security forces for refusing to kill other Iraqis. It will blame everyone except itself. And it will leave behind a deadly, unpredictable, combustible mess.

I hope I am wrong.

How to turn things around

As grim as the situation is, the United States should stay focused on how to achieve success in Iraq, not simply declare it. We owe that to our armed forces and to the Iraqis who believed in us. The bad guys in Iraq are truly bad and cannot be allowed to win. But to have any chance of turning things around, the administration must do what it has steadfastly refused to do — admit mistakes; emphasize a political instead of a military strategy; do what it takes to secure the cooperation of Iraq's neighbors; hold senior officials accountable for the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison and other blunders; and launch, finally, an economic reconstruction program that puts paychecks in Iraqi wallets and food in Iraqi stomachs.

The United States will not be in Iraq forever, though it may seem that way to our military families. It is reasonable to begin thinking about strategies for withdrawal. But it is critical that any plan be designed and carried out with ingredients missing from the administration's Iraq policy thus far — honesty, foresight, competence and an accurate assessment of how Iraqis will respond. Perhaps then we will truly be able to talk about "enormous success" in Iraq.
--USA Today editorial, 1/25/05

I admire Ms. Albright for her candor and savvy in international relations. She has seen firsthand some horrible fiascos of U.S. involvement abroad, and she has worked tirelessly to save millions of lives and to protect democratic principles around the globe. Moreover, she's absolutely right.

The job is not finished. We need a Marshall Plan. To the dissidents, who argue that the world's most powerful nations should not police the world, Albright says we must navigate a path "between disengagement, which is not possible, and over-extension, which is not sustainable."


Blogger Old Man Rich said...

Rule in my house - you make the mess, you clear it up.

applies equally to playing with lego & illegally invading forign coutries.

7:14 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Some day you should change your name to Wise Old Man Rich.

9:07 PM  

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