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Stable, Democratic, Whatever

Look, look, it is fun to get all upset about Democrats who'll accept a "stable" Iraq rather than a "democratic" one, but you've got to ask yourself a thing or two. Would I rather have a stable Iraq or would I rather have a failed state Iraq that the president of the United States calls a democracy? This is your choice. If you like what's behind door number two (i.e., Afghanistan) then you really ought to vote for George W. Bush. He's really good at talking about democracy-promotion. Way better than John Kerry. The only Democrat who even gets the text in the right neighborhood is Joe Biden and his delivery is nothing compared to Bush's. And not only is Bush good at talking about democracy promotion, he's really good at calling Afghanistan a democracy, and really, really good at pretending that Baathist hitman Iyad Allawi is an emerging liberal democrat.

George W. Bush for President: Because He'll Keep You Detatched From Reality.

Back in the real world, democracies don't just blossom in the desert like so many warring ethno-religious sub-groups. If you have a stable state in place, that state can liberalize and democratize. If you have no stability, on the other hand, then it doesn't really matter what you say about democracy, does it? If we should ever find ourselves in the fortunate situation of having a stable Iraq on our hands debating whether or not to push for it to democratize some more, we will be lucky people indeed.

July 30, 2004 | Permalink

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» Democratic Coherence and the Lack Thereof from Priorities & Frivolities
Matt Yglesias seems pretty hot-and-bothered with my criticisms of John Edwards's speech:Look, look, it is fun to get all upset about Democrats who'll accept a... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 31, 2004 12:02:04 AM

» Democratic Coherence and the Lack Thereof from Priorities & Frivolities
Matt Yglesias seems pretty hot-and-bothered with my criticisms of John Edwards's speech:Look, look, it is fun to get all upset about Democrats who'll accept a... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 31, 2004 12:10:14 AM

» Stability vs. Democracy from fredschoeneman.com
Matthew Yglesias has an interesting point about stability vs. democracy. Look, look, it is fun to get all upset about Democrats who'll accept a "stable" Iraq rather than a "democratic" one, but you've got to ask yourself a thing or... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 31, 2004 1:37:56 AM

» Democratic Coherence and the Lack Thereof from Priorities & Frivolities
Matt Yglesias seems pretty hot-and-bothered with my criticisms of John Edwards's speech:Look, look, it is fun to get all upset about Democrats who'll accept a... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 31, 2004 3:08:44 AM

» Stability and Democracy from Political Animal
STABILITY AND DEMOCRACY....I'm with Matt on this:Look, look, it is fun to get all upset about Democrats who'll accept a "stable" Iraq rather than a "democratic" one, but you've got to ask yourself a thing or two. Would I rather... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 31, 2004 12:20:53 PM

» Stability vs. Democracy from fredschoeneman.com
Matthew Yglesias has an interesting point about stability vs. democracy. Look, look, it is fun to get all upset about Democrats who'll accept a "stable" Iraq rather than a "democratic" one, but you've got to ask yourself a thing or... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 31, 2004 1:32:05 PM

» The proof of the pudding is in the recipe from Lawyers, Guns and Money
Moreover, we know exactly where Kerry stands on the theoretical idea of a liberal democratic Iraq--he's an favor of it. Who isn't? What Kerry understands is that Iraq was an exceptionally unlikely candidate for democracy before Bush's quarter-assed r... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 31, 2004 4:40:18 PM

» Democratic Coherence and the Lack Thereof from Priorities & Frivolities
Matt Yglesias seems pretty hot-and-bothered with my criticisms of John Edwards's speech:Look, look, it is fun to get all upset about Democrats who'll accept a... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 31, 2004 5:33:41 PM

» Chestnuts, fire, Iraq from Waveflux
As advertised, the main strength of John Kerry's alternate plan for dealing with Iraq is that it wouldn't be George Bush who executes it. While there are some who would immediately scoff at this, it's important to remember that... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 31, 2004 6:18:05 PM

» Stability and Democracy from Political Animal
STABILITY AND DEMOCRACY....I'm with Matt on this:Look, look, it is fun to get all upset about Democrats who'll accept a "stable" Iraq rather than a "democratic" one, but you've got to ask yourself a thing or two. Would I rather... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 6, 2004 2:04:27 PM

Comments

Wait a second - you're comparing the actuality of a stable state versus the appearance of a democratic one. By your reasoning there should be two more options on the table:

3. The appearance of stability
4. The actuality of democracy

You can't just throw away the idea of striving for a democratic Iraq because the Bush Administration has decorated the Allawi puppet regime with construction paper silhouettes of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.

Clearly a democratic Iraq that is actually democratic is manifestly better than 1, 2, or 3; whether it is achievable or not is a perfectly legitimate topic for debate. But reducing Iraq to the false dilemma of Saddam Hussein Lite versus Failed State a la Afghanistan is not intellectually honest.

Posted by: oodja | Jul 30, 2004 10:26:47 PM

Well, the Allawi/Saudi/Cole idea of getting 50k Sunni troops might help toward Democracy, as the Shia would have treat the Sunni fairly. Or not.

I fall into a profound depression about the mainsream media. When you have a President who will just blatantly lie about the most serious matters day after day, every day; when he will not hold press conferences where the press by their rules are allowed to confront him; where the rules do not allow the press to contradict him: Iraq does become a "Democracy". The Allawi prisoner execution story was lightly covered because the American press is just terrified of confronting Bush. If Bush hadn't had external pressures, I believe the man could have held up the Abu Gharaib pictures, point at them , and say "Didn't happen."

The press just can't handle it.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Jul 30, 2004 11:02:10 PM

agreed mr. mcmanus. I think more and more people will start calling Bush's bluff. He has to feel somewhat betrayed at this point, but I wouldn't underestimate his ability to hold strong.

codja, I don't think MY is "throw[ing] away the idea of striving for a democratic Iraq." He's just saying, I think, that the path towards an actual democratic Iraq inevitably has to involve a stable state upon which a liberal society of some sort can be built. It's sort of a pragmatic point really. I agree with the point so I don't think it's intellectually dishonest. What would you say to the nation, given what we know about the current state of affairs in Iraq, about your goals for the immediate future, i.e. before and just after November 2004. Kerry isn't willing to bet the farm on more than "stability" at this point because he doesn't want to make a promise he can't keep. What's the matter with that? Choices like that reflect good judgment and honesty. Bush's crew knows the words, but their beat is for the fucking birds.

Posted by: fnook | Jul 30, 2004 11:26:43 PM

The problem with this false dichotomy and the belief that this "strongman" or any other has an interest in only quelling violent dissent to provide stability but a will to allow intellectual dissent is not only disingenuous but shows an incredible suspension of disbelief with regards to all recorded history.

Over 250 and the leading intellectuals in Iraq have been killed over the last year, we are privitizing their only assets for our pillaging and leaving the majority of the people in absolute poverty. This is a strategy designed to foment dissent to give the false impression that a strongman is required.

Kerry's national security team is correct when they identify a prime model for stabilizing the area is creating a "middle-class" in the country through microcredit and instilling in that class the renewed sense of nationalism and pride. MY's belief in this false dichotomy is a dangerously myopic view of strategic situational awareness and all too common in today's environment.

There are options people, we just need to back away from our overarching policy of capitalism at any cost to enact successful and viable policies. The people of the middle-east would respond favorably and so would the rest of the world.

Posted by: aProgressive | Jul 30, 2004 11:59:50 PM

it has been shown time and again that arab muslim democracies do not usually co-operate with the west. do u really think that iraqis will elect an atheist/secular govt in a free and fair election?
i mean, really? stop dreaming! when algeria had elections in 1992 the fundamentalist islamic party was set to win! the only way "that catastrophe" was prevented was by the military junta, with the help of france, cancelling elections and banning the party (FIS).
so go on ahead and dream abt iraqis electing a pro-american govt - but wake up at some point for chrissakes.
when america went to iraq, it wasnt to bring democracy or to do any of those oh-so-goodly things people pretended americans went there to do. moreover i dont believe the people who planned the campaign were dumb or lacked a plan. their plan was complete destabilization of iraq - an iraq in civil war is a threat to nobody. american troops are there to make sure the kurds, the turks, the saudis and the iranians don't fill the vacuum.
the reason kerry didnt give a plan for iraq or deplore the sudanese arabs for their genocide of black sudanese or express dismay at building that wall by the israelis is because kerry does not intend to significantly change the course of foreign policy. he is a good cop in a good-cop-bad-cop act but that's the only choice one has. gimme a good cop and a sack of platitudes any day - and i mean it!

Posted by: captainblak | Jul 31, 2004 1:26:57 AM

captainblak,

First of all, no I don't think that any muslim country will elect an atheist government, however I do believe that Iraqi's are capable of electing a secular government.

Now, what do you mean by pro-american government? Do you mean a regime content to accept it's "cut" while we colonize the resources of the country for strategic benefit? If that's your definition, then no, I don't think any people on the planet would accept such a demeaning model, as Bolivia has just reminded us. However, if you mean a government that guarentees it's peoples liberties, and economic opportunity for all class levels then yes I believe it not only possible, but likely.

With regards to the post-war plan, and it's goal of destabilization to make sure Iraq is not a threat is certainly likely. It is tried and true, however, Iraq wasn't a threat in the first place so our reason for going in had nothing to do with physical threats either directly or by proxy from Iraq. The strategic requirement and the ramp up to war became apparent when Iran decided to use the Euro to trade it's oil, and Saddam openly stated his intent to do the same. Since the only thing that backs our massive deficits is OPEC's willingness to use the Dollar for it's trading currency the effect of Saddam's movement to the Euro would have been devastating to the USA and would have given the appearance to dissatisfied members of OPEC that America was weak or helpless to stop him. So we had to save face, and put the fear of God, forgive the wordplay, in the rest of the oil producing countries.

With that said it is neither economically beneficial for the US nor convenient for us to be occuping Iraq and having the oil flow interrupted because we didn't have a valid plan to stabilize the country. So I completely disagree with your assertion that the plan was to keep Iraq destabilized. That is neither in our national economic interest nor our global strategic interests. The fact that we are currently working out the fine print to get the Saudi's to send their troops into Iraq nudges me in a direction that makes it difficult for me to find your assertion that our troops are there to prevent the local tribes/countries from filling the void as strictly rediculous. We could have long since sealed the borders to that country if we so choose, as the Iranians have made abundently clear from their side of the border.

Now with regards to the Sudan, Kerry was the first Senator to actually call what is going on in Sudan "genocide" and he has spoken out vehemently against it.

As far as I know Kerry has not spoken out against the Israeli wall, and on this point I think he's saving this fight for when he gets into the White House. This is strictly the politics of the Israeli vote in this country plain and simple, it's to contentious of an issue right now for him to take on with Bush's unwavering support for Sharon. I don't agree with it, but that's politics in an election year.

So in the final analysis, I think you can see that I don't really agree with your assessment of the world at large, and I strongly disagree with your conclusions, but I welcome any comments you may have.

Posted by: aProgressive | Jul 31, 2004 1:55:01 AM

u make it sound as if the iraq war was a contingency plan hatched in response to iranian switch-over to the euro. it is now a widely known "secret" that it was hatched in the mid-90s and the question is why? the answer is, as i said, destabilization of iraq. the evidence: it's on the ground; a yr later and the violence is still escalating.
the intervening justifications and such are unimportant. it all goes back to the differences in the way totalitarian and democratic govts wage war. a democratic govt cannot simply invade a neighbor with no provocation without upsetting the social order among its citizens. moreover, there is a need to justify every moment longer spent at war without revealing the desired result to the general populace. indication: we are arguing abt this, aren't we?
iraq was a threat in that it desired to forcibly unify the arab world - that is the stated goal of ba'athists anyway. a pan-arab nationalist state whose unifying principle is islam and an only slightly masked disdain for the west poses some measure of danger to a lot of people including africa and the west.
whether by force or volition, on a long enough timeline the arabs will unite in one country (so will the koreans). the question is what kind of relationship that political entity will have with the west. letting it happen by force or delaying it past its due time will result in strained relations with the rest of the world.
special relationships with regard to this administration(oil and arms industries) made them choose the cheap delay trick when they could have used a smarter less intrusive strategy such as publicly supporting saddam, lifting the sanctions to build rapport with the iraqi people and quietly in the back channels ensuring his downfall. america had enough bases around there to ensure the process would be well-guided.
by the way, why exactly did the turks refuse to allow american troops to cross through their territory?

Posted by: captainblak | Jul 31, 2004 3:53:12 AM

Thank you for that moment of sanity Matt.

Now, back to my paranoia.

My newly emerging fear is that Americans now gnerally recognize that George Bush is driving us all over a cliff, but will gayly enter into his suicide pact come November. George W Bush is the classic romantic - charismatic, self-destructive, and ultimately tragic - that guy you knew in college who could somehow convince the most prudish virgin Christian girl on campus to share an eightball of coke with him, then drive up some winding mountain road at breakneck speed in his 65 Mustang, and once they get to the top screw until dawn. Like child molesters and serial rapists, this type of personality - risk-taking, even suicidal - may find Jesus or the Buddha or whatever, but those impulses don't disappear, they just go underground, always seeking new outlets. In the end, George W Bush may feel some remorse about miring a good portion of America's armed forces in a sandtrap in the desert, destroying America's credibility in the world, and pushing this country to the brink of fiscal and potentially economic ruin, but like every good romantic, he needs the exhilaration of risk and hubris, and the catharsis of his own tragedy. He *needs* to be punished. Make no mistake about: George W Bush would do it again and again if he had the chance, and I fear that there are enough of those Christian girls in this country to give him ample oppurtunity to finish writing his own tragedy.

Posted by: Green Democrat | Jul 31, 2004 4:00:08 AM

I don't think you can achieve a democratic government without stability but does that mean a stable fascist state should be condoned? It seems that these two goals are connected and should be persued as one.

Posted by: Sgt Hook | Jul 31, 2004 4:36:28 AM

If you have no stability, on the other hand, then it doesn't really matter what you say about democracy, does it?
*************************************************
But the trains run on time? Seems like we have heard that before. Odd how apoligists keep coming up with the same refrain ;-)

Posted by: Dan Kauffman | Jul 31, 2004 4:39:26 AM

Great post, Matthew. The big point is this: going from totalitarianism to 'democracy' overnight means that extremist groups will take over the political process. It's obvious if you think about it. Who has an existing organization? Who's mobilised? Who can turn from dissidents into political players? They're the resistance groups: the ethnically-divided, ideologically-driven underground and exile movements.

In Jordan, which is admittedly not a democracy, the king has tried to dip his toe in the water by appointing a national unity cabinet before full elections. The idea is to create a climate where there's a political centre.

Once you accept stability as a means to a democratic end -- and the stability of, say, the Jordanian cabinet government is very different from the stability of a 'strongman' quasi-autocracy -- then you have the potential to encourage the development of political parties and movements that haven't been born out of radical opposition.

Posted by: nick | Jul 31, 2004 7:20:57 AM

I think Bush hatred has infected this post and thread. When the Bush administration cooperates with the UN in the selection of the leader of an interim government, the choice is still not accepted. So, are you really suggesting that a Kerry administration would break with the UN and dump Allawi? I think not. To the contrary, I think when Kerry says he wants stability, he is actually supporting the Bush administration's and the UN's choice of Allawi, who has managed to get Iraqi police and military to be willing to fight against Muslims.

Now, as to the question whether Bush's rhetoric about democracy is consistent with this choice, without stability Democracy cannot grow. Bottom line is that Allawi is far less of a threat to his own people, his neighbors or the US than Saddam was. Posters on this board are upset that he has engaged in executions. Well, guess what? Human Rights groups have recognized the hundreds of thousands of executions Saddam caused, so consistency would suggest that, this alone, supports the US removal of Saddam. If you have a problem with Allawi (and forced stability), then blame the UN who chose him. Personally, I think (when viewed in context) Allawi is showing amazing restraint (and polls suggest he is incredible popular with Iraqi's).

Moreover, on a historical basis, both Afganistan and Iraq are well ahead of the curve for development of stability and self-governance after totalitarianism, and a war that (due to an desire to limit civilian casulties, failed to erradicate the enemy who has faded into the cities from which it continues to launch terrorist attacks). I really wish that Liberals would support democracy like they used to. Unfortunately, after decades of chiding conservatives for being willing to deal with and accept dictators (and arguably convincing the right of the value of democracy), the left has decided that democracy is something that the less fortunate cannot comprehend (and, in any event is not worth the US fighting for). But, Liberals are wrong. The Bush administration is having success with pressuring Arab nations (beyond Iraq and Afganistan) to grant involvement to their citizens. This will take time, given the deep seeded cultural barriers, e.g., totalitarian control, religious dogma, discrimination against women, etc., but the US is on the right side of history and Kerry knows it. What's really sad is that he can't come out and say it because his party doesn't want to hear it.

Finally, as to the claims that Kerry was the first Senator to care about the Sudan, it simply isn't true. Sam Brownback, for one, has made AT LEAST TWO trips to the Sudan and introduced legislation relating to Sudan. Also, Colin Powell has visited Sudan and the Bush administration has been putting pressure on the UN to act. However, it is hard because the UN cares more about Sovereignty of dictators and stability than Human Rights.

Posted by: hanke | Jul 31, 2004 8:00:28 AM

Captainblak, we should look at your idea in more detail.

Sure, there are lots of conspiracies trying to determine what the USA will do. Did the Neocons get Bush's ear and get to actually carry theirs out? All the evidence fits that. They wouldn't have Kerry's ear and so we could get some new plan, that has to start with the wreckage they left us.

On the other hand, maybe there's some secret group that's actually running things, and they use the neocons as a cover story. They not only chose Bush, and Gore, they also manipulated things so Kerry would be the Democrats' choice because they own him. All the evidence fits that too. Practically anything would fit that. The only thing I can think of that wouldn't would be a disaster that very much weakens the USA. A military defeat in iraq where we lose several divisions, a depression, the world community treating the US economy the way they treated argentina's, that sort of thing. And even that could have several explanations -- the secret group could be disagreed about what they want, so they let things slide while they argue it, or their old guys die off and they're having a power struggle to decide who gets to run things and they tear up the country while they fight each other, or they're actually an international group that doesn't particularly care about the USA. This explanation is not falsifiable and -- while it may be true -- it's about as useful as believing that the elves or the tooth fairy is running things.

I might as well suppose that Kerry does get to make choices. And if he gets elected after the Republicans continually smear him as a flip-flopper, then he can take that as a mandate for flip-flopping. So it's an entirely open question what he will do, except he's a politician and he's used to bargaining, and he appears to be relatively sane. So that's two ways we can hope he'll be better than Bush.

Posted by: J Thomas | Jul 31, 2004 8:40:19 AM

Back to Matt's idea, when you have a strong military that suppresses dissent, the natural thing is for it to take over whenever democracy seems to be faltering. Don't we have a lot of examples worldwide of that?

Stable democracies seem to arise better from multiple strong groups that see the need to negotiate. So for example the USA started out as a federation of over a dozen armed states, some of whom were on the edge of war. The reason they put the capital in a swamp was to keep Virginia and Maryland from fighting over that swamp.

Get a bunch of militias that don't actually want to fight, and they can negotiate. Maybe it starts out One Gun, One Vote. Say they argue out what they want, see how the alliances would go, and then the losers don't actually have to fight and die to lose. For the next vote the alliances might work out different, and it seems better to negotiate and get 30% of what you want than fight a war at 1:2 odds.

Sometimes that breaks down into open warfare, in the USA that's happened once. But usually people would rather put up with bad government than fight and destroy the economy. That's a lot of why the USA is so rich -- it's been nearly 150 years since we've been willing to destroy half the country over a political dispute.

That could work in iraq. Get local governments elected, get the local militias talking, then get local governments talking with their neigbors openly. You can have a secret alliance among militias so a militia that didn't know about it gets destroyed. But when a public vote comes everybody sees where the legislators stand, and they're mostly still standing a month later. Get used to the idea that you don't want to destroy the other guy, you might need him to help you fight somebody who isn't from around here.

When it fails everybody gets to see how bad it is when it fails. Much better than getting a replacement authoritarian regime that makes the trains run on time. It's as good as we get for a fail-safe system. When it fails nobody likes that.

I'm not sure whether Kerry would want that. A strongman can give you his word and you can reasonably expect him to keep it. A democracy has a lot of trouble making big choices quickly and keeping to them. The USA has hardly ever worked toward democracy in other countries, democracies are hard to work with. But we *could*, this time.

Posted by: J Thomas | Jul 31, 2004 9:02:16 AM

Democracy vs. "Whatever":

Isn't democracy a social positive, on the same order as the ability to breathe unpolluted air?

Isn't promoting an unstable government where democracy has a chance to survive more desirable than promoting a "stable" government where it won't? We actually tried the latter with Saddam, and it didn't work, did it?

(I don't understand some Democrats' tendency to believe that the "right" dictatorship is better than the "wrong" democracy. Such people suck up to Castro like he was old uncle Fidel. I find it odious.)

Posted by: Scott Ferguson | Jul 31, 2004 9:47:24 AM

(I don't understand some Democrats' tendency to believe that the "right" dictatorship is better than the "wrong" democracy.

Well ... The USA made the transition from stability under King George III to democracy ... England itself had representative democracy before we did, made possible in part because of its stable feudal history ... same with France, a little more violently ... in fact, Scott, I can't think of a single democracy in all of history that was not some kind of non-democratic stable society before it was a democracy (stable or not) since classical Athens. All of these examples, except the last, had a discontinuity between the old stability and the later democratic stability, so we could be generous and say that Iraq is just going through such a period. But President Bunnypants, with his reverse-Midas touch, seems to be the least likely person to guide it through to a succesful conclusion. (Yes, that is Bush hatred. Rational Bush hatred.)

MY, great post! You'll make a liberal yet.

Posted by: tcb or tcb3 | Jul 31, 2004 10:08:19 AM

aProgressive,
This theory that switching to Euro for oil trade would be "devastating to the USA". I've heard it many times, but could never understand it.

Currencies are easily convertible on the forex market, so, what difference does it make? Oil is priced in US dollars. So, oil consumers buy dollars, give them to oil producers in exchange for oil and then oil producers sell their dollars and buy any other currency they want. This is all done electronically, the whole transaction probably takes a fraction of a second. What is the effect of all this on the USA? I'd say it must be somewhere around zero.

Posted by: abb1 | Jul 31, 2004 10:08:51 AM

I'd like to see a paper about how the internet and satellite news channels are affecting are rebuilding efforts. I bet the Marshall Plan would never have worked in today's now's-news-now environment.

Posted by: Jeff | Jul 31, 2004 11:01:35 AM

"This theory that switching to Euro for oil trade
would be "devastating to the USA"."

There is a considerable premium in being the preferred transaction currency. In order to efficiently and cheaply make a future transaction, you must take dollars off the market and put them into reserve. Asian countries have something like 40 trillion in reserves. This drives up the value or price of the dollar without having to raise interest rates.

The switch to Euros as the reserve currency is not something that could happen overnight, for the more dollars you try to sell, the lower the price would go. But it is serious enough to be a possible grounds for war. Asia could drive our interest rates to double digits in a week.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Jul 31, 2004 12:02:41 PM

"When the Bush administration cooperates with the UN in the selection of the leader of an interim government, the choice is still not accepted."

This gentleman, like most of his ilk, is uninformed, deluded, or disingenuous.

On the other hand, what J Thomas said. I trust the market. US troops in Iraq can play the role of the SEC, keeping the market reasonably honest and insuring no monopolies arise.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Jul 31, 2004 12:07:01 PM

"On the other hand, what J Thomas said. I trust the market. US troops in Iraq can play the role of the SEC, keeping the market reasonably honest and insuring no monopolies arise."

Judging by Enron's antics, I think we may need U.S. troops to play the role of the SEC in the U.S.

Seriously, returning to MY's post, remember his context: conservatives like Tacitus dump on Kerry for his supposed lack of "democracy promotion." The point isn't that Kerry won't push democracy where that's an option; the point is that Bush pretends to be pushing democracy without actually doing anything realistic towards it.

Posted by: Andy | Jul 31, 2004 12:15:17 PM

My post:
"When the Bush administration cooperates with the UN in the selection of the leader of an interim government, the choice is still not accepted."

McManus Response:
"This gentleman, like most of his ilk, is uninformed, deluded, or disingenuous."

Rather than merely attack, why not explain why this statement is incorrect?

Posted by: hanke | Jul 31, 2004 12:20:41 PM

hanke- because of this biography of Allawi!
doesn't it read like Saddam's biography to you?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iyad_Allawi

Posted by: captainblak | Jul 31, 2004 12:33:03 PM

Captainblak:

I think ya'll are missing the point. Bush can't win for losing and, if an election is decided on this kind of tortured logic, President Elect Kerry will not be able to get any support from across the isle on any foreign policy either.

Specifically, Bush was bashed again and again for not involving the UN, despite the fact that he spent almost a year seeking support for the invasion (without success), and then was rebuffed by the UN in his desire to provide military protection to UN offices (the UN wrongly thought it would be safe if it rebuffed the US). Then, after the UN pulled out, and there was constant criticsm of the "interim government," Bush agreed to turn the selection of the Prime Minister over to the UN, which chose Allawi. (I remember reports at the time that the US was backing another candidate).

Anyway, now posters on this board are blaming Bush for Allawi (presumably because of his Baathist ties). Of course, the left has consistently attacked Bush for arrogantly purging the military and civil government of Baathist. So, again, he can't win for losing.

Now, once again, what was incorrect about my comment that "When the Bush administration cooperates with the UN in the selection of the leader of an interim government, the choice is still not accepted."

Posted by: hanke | Jul 31, 2004 12:43:21 PM

According to reports filtering out of Iraq, the selection of Allawi may have been as a result of maneuverings between the members of Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) - all hand-picked by the Americans - along with back-channel participation of L Paul Bremer, the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), and Robert Blackwill, President George W Bush's special envoy to Iraq. As these reports indicate, Brahimi was serious about picking someone with no IGC or US connections so that the Iraqis should have little doubt about the integrity of such a prime minister. Allawi was on Brahimi's short list of candidates for premiership, but definitely was not his first choice.

However, Brahimi was reportedly surprised by the IGC's choice of Allawi and the speed with which Bremer and Blackwill endorsed that selection. Realizing that he was clearly outmaneuvered, Brahimi found it expedient to accept Allawi's selection as fait accompli. As Fred Eckered, spokesman for UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, noted: "This is not the way we expected this to happen, no, but the Iraqis [ie, members of IGC] seem to agree on this name, and if they do, Mr Brahimi is ready to work with him."

This kind of sums it up. The source doesn't matter, I could have found fifty versions of the same story. It was common knowledge, until Repub trolls try to rewrite history. Maybe there is a meaning of "cooperate" like a meaning of "is" that would make an argument, but I am very tired of the lying Republican trolls.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Jul 31, 2004 1:04:55 PM

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