Sunday, December 14, 2003

The big news of today, of course, is the capture of Saddam Hussein. There's not much to really say that hasn't already been said. It is, of course, a great day for Iraq - a horrible dictator is gone. It is also a testament to our armed forces - I thought we'd never get him, and am amazed that we did. I wonder, however, that anything will really change in the region, and Osama is still out there. If we bring in outside countries, which in turn enables us to lower our presence in Iraq and focus on pursuing Osama and make progress dismantling his network, then, as someone said to me today, "I'll have some respect for Bush". However, as so often happens, it's hard to say how this will play out.

What I hope isn't lost is the fact that this was a unilateral, elective war that has led to a loss of much of our credibility and stature around the world. I know many people think this isn't important, but the only way to successfully pursue the war on terror is to enlist many allies in our efforts. Our image as the renegade cowboy doesn't help us in this regard -- when respect is gained solely through the gun, someone is going to come and try to be a quicker draw than we are. I suppose what would mollify me would be an internationalization of the rebuilding effort, and a stop to the "to the victor goes the spoils" attitude. What I mean by that is when we hog the contracts, the implementation of a government, and other resources to just our select friends - instead of putting the priority of the Iraqi people first - then we haven't learned from history about the perils of plunder and empire. The reason WWII was fought is because greedy WWI victors torched and plundered a defeated Germany, whereas the rebuilding effort post-WWII was a true measure of how nation building should occur. I'm not saying we're acting like we're at Versailles, but it certainly doesn't look good when we say "it's our war, so we're hogging Iraq to ourselves".

In any event, if we do bring in other countries, reduce troop deployment in Iraq based on successful integration of world forces, permit the Iraqis to build their government (with world help), and we re-focus on Osama, then maybe we know what we're doing. The democrats have been a little
flaccid in their responses, but I guess that is to be expected.

Notwithstanding all of that stuff above, it is a good thing he's gone. Now we've got to get Osama.

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