Monday, August 29, 2005

Did You See Him? He's Probably Still Scratching His Head

Steven R. Weisman has an analysis of the Constitutional situation in Iraq in today's NY Times. It's not that it's necessarily a bad analysis or anything. But it's got one sentence which shows, more than anything, the disconnect, not only between the Bush administration and reality, but the media's perceptions and reality.
It was not long ago that the administration was loath to be seen as interfering in internal Iraqi politics.
I'd say invading a country under false pretenses, trashing its infrastructure and then handing over the rebuilding contracts to American companies under a no-bid process rather than letting locals have a chance, building fourteen permanent military bases, forcing clans which have warred for decades to try and make nice without addressing any of their grievances, and ramming a hand-picked government down their throats all count as interfering. But, then, I'm not a professional news analyst.

As you know, we have done everything possible to convince the Sunnis/Baathists that the "democratic process" offers them nothing, so they might as well join the insurgency. The "debaathification" of Iraq, in which we disbanded the Iraqi army, fired tens of thousands of civilians because they were Baathist, and outlawed the Baath party, was a grotesque blunder that alienated most of the Sunnis. We tried to reverse many of these policies, but the damage had already been done.

"I see developments on the constitutional side as potentially disastrous," said Larry Diamond, a scholar at Stanford University and former senior advisor in the defunct Coalition Provisional Authority. "I think the Bush administration has miscalculated profoundly by trying to get this constitution done by Aug. 15 at any price."

Larry Diamond, who was appointed by Condi Rice to assist and advise in the reconstruction of Iraq, explains how thoroughly we've messed things up in his wonderful book
"Squandered Victory : The American Occupation and the Bungled Effort to Bring Democracy to Iraq"
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