Intending merely to download my e-mail for a quiet Saturday evening of correspondence, I happened to look into today's Netscape News and found myself pondering a couple of articles that fit this thread.
The Hidden Cost of Peace spells out pretty well the huge consequences of unilateralism, as well as some of its dangers. "[Y]ou can't replace Saddam, as one former American military official puts it, with "some other mustache, a guy who's a thug, but just not as much of a thug as Saddam, and then leave." This standard is basic, and indeed Bush has publicly committed himself to it, emphasizing that a liberated Iraq should be a beacon in the totalitarian Middle East.
The problem is, it requires almost by definition that the U.S. get way under the fingernails of a post-Saddam Iraq." And that's the problem ... under the most favorable circumstances it's a can of worms. "That means, just for starters, that the U.S. needs Shiite Muslims in the south to not rise up in sectarian vengeance against the Sunni minority that has brutalized the country for decades."
This article was written nearly a week ago; the next sentence rings with near eerie prescience: "It needs the Turks and the Kurds, no matter how much they don't trust each other, to stand down. This is not even close to a given. Rubar Sandi, head of the U.S.-Iraqi Business Council, says flatly that the possibility that Turkish-Kurdish fighting destabilizes postwar Iraq is "my biggest fear right now." Today we know what's happening on Iraq's northern border ...
For those who don't like the idea of military adventeurism in the service of corporate interests, or even gun-boat diplomacy, the scenario emergin seems too grotesque to be real, but real it is. Again written nearly a week ago, "Iraq's New Chief?" might have been written to nauseate.
Jay Garner could soon be in charge of 23 million Iraqis.
"Jay Garner is about to become the most important businessman you've never heard of. On leave from defense contractor L-3 communications, he's on track to be the de facto governor of 23 million Iraqis after what looks like an inevitable U.S. invasion. Garner, 64, is an almost perfect fit for the job. As an Army general in 1991, he helped lead Operation Provide Comfort, which delivered food and shelter to Kurds in northern Iraq after the first Gulf war. He became well-known in military circles for espousing the then-unorthodox view that the military should be used as a "merciful instrument in shaping future humanitarian operations."After hubris, nemesis. God have mercy on the innocents who believe naively in those who have acquired power and accumulated wealth.
That's one reason his friend Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld brought Garner back to the Pentagon in January to head the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, which is working seven days a week to develop detailed plans for a post-Saddam Iraq. Insiders say Garner will implement those plans as the head of civil authority under General Tommy Franks.
[R]evitalizing Iraq will depend on two factors beyond Garner's control: the ability of U.S. soldiers to pacify Saddam's troops and the willingness of allies to assist in reconstruction (the tab could reach $20 billion a year, experts say). The military part of the cleanup will be led by Franks's Arabic-speaking deputy, Army Lt. Gen. John Abizaid. The rest--feeding the hungry, fixing the infrastructure, and creating a democratic government--will fall to Garner."