Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Strategy for Iraq?

Kerry's Strategy for Iraq was published in the Washington Post today. Much of it is the same boilerplate he has said before.

Three points stand out: (1) pushing for the US to support any governance plan proposed by UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi -- that gives Brahimi too much lattitude, the US has spent its blood and treasure on toppling Saddam and reconfiguring Iraq into a democracy to allow a UN envoy to exercise semi-plenary power over solving Iraq's governance issues (plus Paul Bremer is doing a standout job); (2) Kerry's farcical notion that: "The United Nations, not the United States, should be the primary civilian partner in working with Iraqi leaders to hold elections, restore government services, rebuild the economy, and re-create a sense of hope and optimism among the Iraqi people". This statement is risible -- the UN Oil for Food program allowed Saddam to bilk the Iraqi people while the UN reaped rewards and the UN fled after the US's first attempt to involve it in Iraqi reconstruction. Any belief that the UN is a more responsible, authoritative, capable or legal entity for working with Iraqi civilians is an article of blind faith that has no relation to the facts. (3) Kerry again touts NATO involvement to ease the burden on US troops. But our allies are the weak links in the peacekeeping chain, as Brendan Miniter demonstrates.

Lastly, Kerry claims that Pres. Bush seeking Brahimi's help is a tacit concession of failure -- this is pure drivel. There is no failure because Iraq is being governed much better with Paul Bremer than with Saddam. The infrastructure, hospital and school construction has increased many times over under Bremer and Iraq as a whole is much better off. Are there insurgents and Islamist terrorism? Yes. Should the US step up the pressure on them and their state sponsors (read: Iran, Syria)? Again, yes. Is Iraq becoming Vietnam II? No.

Ultimately, Pres. Bush is seeking UN cover for US actions, yet again, as urged repeatedly by the internationalists in Kerry's own party and by our best ally, the British. If the Administration had not been sandbagged by the French before the "second" Security Council vote on force against Saddam last year (which ultimately was not held), the fig leaf of UN legitimacy would not be sought today.

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