Wednesday, June 18, 2003

I am mostly a Tom Friedman fan, but since the Iraq war he's seemed to be trying to shoot the moon with American Middle East policy. First there was his notion about building a new ME by freeing Lebanon. Today, he attributes several trends in the region to the U.S. victory against Saddam. Most of these, however, have little or nothing to do with Iraq whatsoever. Bush's Road Map to peace could have been released at any time. Jordan's elections are a complete non-issue - they've had them before, and these were long promised. It's not like the Jordanian Parliament is that significant. There were also protests in Iran before the war, and its even odds on whether they are helped or hurt by our presence next door. I will give him the introspection within the Arab media, however. And I definitely agree with his basic point that it is far too soon to write Iraq off as a failure. Comments like these from Daily Kos would work better as warnings than descriptions of the present. The crowds are actually rather small, and very, very seldom do I read of coalition forces firing on them. The press is substantially freer than it was under Saddam, despite the censorship flap, and some local government is definitely in Iraqi hands, though I have qualified that here. The situation could collapse, but hasn't yet. And Americans are still dying, despite the end of "major fighting."


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