Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 21, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

NEOCON HAWKS AND POST-WAR IRAQ....Several people have emailed to tell me that it's not neocon hawks who are ignoring the democratic rebuilding of a post-war Iraq, as I have implied once or twice recently. In fact, it's the neocons who are most strongly in favor of democracy building, as you can see in this article by Ian Buruma in the Guardian last month.

I stand corrected. And since I wrote about the Bush administration's seeming unwillingness to produce a decent plan for post-war Iraq a couple of days ago, I also want to point to this article in the Washington Post today. It summarizes a U.S. blueprint that while not ideal is not too bad. At any rate, it's better than the rumors buzzing around Washington lead me to believe.

There will probably be a lot of discussion of this article over the next few days, but here are a couple of quick thoughts:

  • It's pretty fuzzy on the idea of democracy. I fully understand that introducing democratic institutions will be a slow process at best, but I sure wish it was at least an explicit goal.

  • The plan calls for a civilian administrator, which is good, but it's a U.S. administrator, which I think is bad. It's unfortunate that the Bush administration is so suspicious of the value of the UN, because this is a case where UN support would be valuable to us (and, in turn, why UN support for the war would also be valuable). While it's true that the U.S. is the only country with the military muscle to invade Iraq, the UN is probably a better choice for long term post-war reconstruction because (a) it commits them to helping pay for it, (b) they have more experience at it than we do, and (c) the rest of the Arab world is more likely to cooperate with the UN than with an American administrator that they distrust.

  • It's not very transparent about producing all those WMDs for world inspection. I think this is critical to maintaining our credibility, but the report says that outside inspectors would be allowed in only "at an appropriate time." I would like to see them working side by side with us, so the world can see absolutely convincing proof that Saddam really has all those hidden weapons that we say he has.

That's all for now, but I'll probably comment further about this as more details trickle out.

Kevin Drum 5:17 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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