Monday, September 08, 2003

President Bush's Speech

Juan Cole's discussion of President Bush's Iraq address is a gem. His main concern is the way the administration continued to link Iraq to the War on Terror with little or no evidence to back it up. He's also skeptical of the pledge to build a democratic Iraq. A key paragraph:

"Iraq isn't at the center of the Middle East. Egypt is. Egypt's ruling National Party is drafting a new election law. All the US would have to do is lean on them a bit, and Egypt could suddenly be much closer to being a democracy. But the US coddles Mubarak's soft police state because it is a US ally. Apparently you have to virtually declare war on the US to have any hope that the Americans will turn your country into a democracy. Otherwise you are stuck with pro-US dictatorships. As for a decent and democratic society, what the Iraqis have so far is a peremptory American administration of the country, a huge crime wave, lack of electricity and potable water, and an unemployment rate hovering around 60%, not to mention deep insecurity from huge bombs going off."

The whole post is definitely worth reading. I was glad to see the President reaffirm the U.S. commitment in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and the budget request is a sign that we will follow through on it. However, I worry it might be too late to salvage the situation in Iraq. It is no longer simply a matter of reconstruction, but of containing a volatile political situation which threatens Sunni/Shi'ite violence in the wake of the Najaf bombing, growing resistance to the occupation leading to more sabotage, and an American public which apparently thought this would be a short-term commitment. It's good to see President Bush adjust his course, though, and I hope his stated agenda succeeds, for the sake of all Americans, Iraqis, and Afghans.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home