Wednesday, March 29, 2006

American Management of Iraq

Today's New York Times reports that the President has taken a view regarding the incumbent Iraqi Prime Minister that undoubtedly the PM does not share (Bush Opposes Iraq's Premier, Shiites Report - New York Times). There are no rules anymore, it seems. Simply tell the public one thing (free, democratic Iraq and so forth) and do whatever you like. Actions and PR are separate. Law and PR are separate. Here's the difficulty. If you disregard all accepted structures within which actions are carried out, and simply say that they guys on the ground can do or say whatever they want in order to get the job done, then you have absolutely nowhere to go if you fail. Not only are international laws (Geneva Conventions), norms (non-intervention, preeminence of sovereignty) and structures (The UN) ignored in the conduct of American forces in Iraq, but they are proactively dismissed. To compound the problem, where the proponents of these laws, norms and structures proactively attempt to assist, they are actively rebuffed as irrelevant. Abject failure is then met with cries of 'I told you so' and 'what did you expect' and 'who's sorry now?', and, occasionally, 'dumb-ass!'

Time to wake up. People, and nations, are too impatient. Results are demanded instantly where history has taught us that the results we seek can only be secured when given enough time. Europe should watch out too - its integration project has hurtled along at a rate of knots (fifty years since the Coal & Steel Pact this year, if memory serves) which defies convention, and its enlargement needs time to be bedded down. The accession of Romania, Bulgaria, and possibly Turkey and the Ukraine won't help this bedding down process - time, patience, and time, gentlemen, please.

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