Scared straight?! It seems that I'm hearing voices of reason from all corners the last couple of days.
World Bank, IMF admit aid failings [theage.com.au] - "World financial leaders have acknowledged that they are in danger of losing "the other war", conceding that their failure to follow through on past pledges is contributing to global poverty, health crises and other ills.
Members of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank ended their spring meetings in Washington at the weekend with fresh promises to participate in rebuilding Iraq.
But their enthusiasm was tempered by a recognition that the postwar rebuilding program could drain resources from efforts to assist other countries in need."
Also from theage.com.au: The trashing of civilisation - "The allies must make every effort to piece together the fragments of Iraq's heritage ... This is a tragedy with echoes of past catastrophes: the Mongol sack of Baghdad in 1258, and the fifth-century destruction of the library of Alexandria. For the loss is not just Iraq's but ours, too. Iraq has not been called the cradle of civilisation for nothing. Five thousand years ago it was the birthplace of writing, cities, codified law, mathematics, medicine and astronomy.
UNESCO is holding an emergency meeting on Iraq next week. The US authorities must allow it into the country as soon as possible to begin working with Iraqi archaeologists and curators to reconstruct the shattered remnants of Iraq's heritage and rebuild links in the chain between past, present and future."
[How is it sensible that UNESCO should have to ask for permission, since US troops were leaning on their packs while the museums were being ransacked, pillaged, and vandalized?!]
White House Hubris Will End With Domino Effect of Iraq War [The Salt Lake Tribune] - "A reader's letter published in the Los Angeles Times last week said it all: "We have learned two things from the war in Iraq. We have learned that the Tigris flows through Baghdad, and the Hubris flows through the White House." Hubris -- the belief that you are so clever and so powerful that you can get away with anything -- is certainly the prevailing state of mind in Washington this week as the Iraqi regime collapses before the U.S. onslaught. So where is the next war?
"Consider the remarks of former Central Intelligence Agency James Woolsey, a Bush administration insider who was recently mentioned in a leaked Pentagon document as one of the possible administrators of post-war Iraq. Last week in Los Angeles, he described the war in Iraq as the start of the Fourth World War (the Cold War being the third), and warned his audience that "this Fourth orld War will last considerably longer than either the First or Second World Wars did for us."
The real enemies this time, he explained, were the religious rulers of Iran, the "fascists" of Iraq and Syria, and the Islamic extremists of al-Qaeda. He made no distinctions between them (though in real life they have very little in common), and he promised a long crusade against them. There was no suggestion that the US would bother to get legal authority from the United Nations before attacking the sovereign states on his list."
IMF, World Bank Meeting Ends with Agreement on Iraq [voanews.com] - "The International Monetary Fund and World Bank meeting ended in Washington Sunday with agreement to assess the reconstruction needs of Iraq and to expand the amount of cash available to the world's poorest countries.
The IMF and World Bank will be sending a mission to Iraq in the next few weeks to find out what needs to be done to help in the reconstruction of oil-rich Iraq.
World Bank President James Wolfensohn says he's not worried that money for Iraq will diminish the flow of resources to poor countries. He is skeptical of reports that Iraq needs $20 billion in immediate aid. "I don't think anybody has been explicit as to where the $20 billion would come from, if it is $20 billion. There are those who think it will come from oil revenue and most people think it will come from somebody else," says Mr. Wolfensohn. "So, I think we're at the beginning of that negotiation, of which we're quite familiar."