Monday, September 01, 2003

Not much that I can add to this. Take it away, Kevin Drum:

I know this is beating a dead horse, but what on earth are the Bushies thinking? They started a war no one else wanted, they treated anyone opposed to the war as virtual traitors to humanity, and they are still insisting that America needs to be 100% in charge of everything that goes on in Iraq.

But despite all that they're "puzzled" about how to get the rest of the world to pony up to help us out of our mess? Even though the rest of the world warned us repeatedly about the likely result of our adventure? What planet are they living on?

For chrissake, we told the rest of the world to go to hell before the war, and they haven't forgotten. They aren't going to bail us out unless we give them considerable authority over the reconstruction effort, and they might not help us even if we do. We're on our own.

The Bush administration has been incompetent and arrogant throughout this entire effort. Their prewar conduct seemed almost deliberately designed to make sure the rest of the world was against us, they were criminally negligent in their postwar planning, and George Bush personally has shown immense cowardice by consistently refusing to prepare Congress and the American public for the real cost and length of the war. He's paying the price for that cowardice now, as he watches support for the reconstruction dwindle because its expense, length, and cost in lives is taking most people by surprise.

It's pretty obvious why liberals should oppose George Bush's reelection, but the fact is that conservatives ought to oppose him too. His incompetence and cowardice have betrayed the very things they claim to stand for.
Many conservatives are criticizing him, although I suspect it's more for Iraq's inability to fit their expectations and their subsequent need to find someone to pin the blame on. (Excepting those few who were asking questions prior to the war, of course.)

In any case, this is precisely why myself and others were extremly wary of the United States going to war without international support via a U.N. resolution- the U.S. can't be sure that it won't need help, and thumbing its nose at the rest of the world puts the U.S. in a very dangerous position. Yes, things may go fine, and the help may be unnecessary. Like with insurance, the important thing to remember is that occasionally you do need it. Now they do, and they're up a creek.

An argument can be made that the international community should help anyway, because of the humanitarian crisis in Iraq. Were all other things equal, I'd agree; they aren't equal. If they aid now, there will be an expectation they will in the future, and the United States will be able to engage in whatever adventurism it wishes. That's a very dangerous road, and I can understand why, say, Russia and Japan would not want to go down it.

It's sad, because it only hurts the people of Iraq; that's Bush's responsibility, not anybody else's. If he wants to take the credit for the successes, he must take the blame for the failures. That's what he's paid for.

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