Two very useful reports on the Iraq timetable (in WaPo, and the Los Angeles Times) suggest that while we may or may not be moving too quickly to hand over sovereignty, the "artificial timeline" derided by Hillary Clinton has some obvious virtues. The June 30 deadline focuses the minds of the Americans on what they can and can't expect to accomplish before they've outstayed their welcome-- do we really need to "cash out" Iraq's food rationing program in accordance with Milton-Friedman's theories before we leave?--and it focuses the mind of Iraqis on what they need to do as well, including what compromises they may need to make. From the LAT:
To persuade the Governing Council and other Iraqi groups to work together to establish a new government, the administration has employed a variety of arguments, including warning that the U.S.-led occupation authority will not be around to protect them if they don't.
Bremer's strategy, one U.S. official said, is to "just keep telling people, 'We're going to be gone by June 30 and although you are enthused about that idea, just think about what you're going to do on July 1.' [Emphasis added.]
If the "timeline" needs to be pushed back, it can be pushed back. Even if that needs to be done, it's not at all clear that we will be in worse shape than if we'd never set a deadline at all. "We'll transfer sovereignty one of these days when we're ready"--the Hillary position--isn't exactly an incentive for the various factions to drop their less essential demands and close a deal. That's why I thought her criticism was Washington posturing. ... P.S.: It is pretty clear, though, that we're not moving too slowly (the Howard Dean position). ... P.P.S.: Remember, we're not (in theory) leaving after June 30. The Pentagon is talking about a large negotiated presence for "one or two years, in terms of the troops' staying there," according to Deputy Secretary of State Armitage. And there will be ongoing reconstruction programs. ... To be sure ... It might still be a giant debacle. But not because of the artificiality of the timeline. ... 7:22 P.M.
Sunday, December 28, 2003
I'm not up on my Michael Jacksonalia, but isn't this exchange from the just-aired "60 Minutes" interview potentially key:
ED BRADLEY: Would you allow your children to sleep in the bed with a grown man, who was not a relative, or to sleep in the bedroom?
MICHAEL JACKSON: Sure, if I know that person, trust them, and love them. That's happened many times with me when I was little. [Emphasis added]
Hmmmm. .... Update: Freeper "Shermy" had the same reaction, word for word! [It's a one word reaction-ed Word! He had one more "m"-ed There you go. Overwriting.] 7:39 P.M.
They Hate Us Because of Our ... Intellectual Rigor! That's It! The L.A. Times' Tim Rutten, in a rambling criticism of something he calls "the assault on the ethic of impartiality," says:
[E]xperience has demonstrated that intellectual rigor and emotional self-discipline enable journalists to gather and report facts with an impartiality that — though sometimes imperfect — is good enough to serve the public's interest in the generality of cases. [Emphasis added]
Top 4 dismissive responses--Pick Your Favorite! (drum roll):