Redacted All Absurdum
Maybe Valerie Plame's 'outing' didn't do much damage.
Imposing a liberal constitutional order in Iraq would be to accomplish something that has never been done before.** Of all the world's political cultures, an Arab-Muslim one may be the most resistant to such change ...."
Odom also indulges in some suspiciously vague and optimistic talk about our ability to "knit together a large coalition, including the major states of Europe, Japan, South Korea, China and India to back a strategy for stabilizing the area"--without explaining how the South Koreans and Indians are going to succeed in stopping the Sunni insurgency if we have failed.
But you can't say Odom isn't candid:
There is no question the insurgents and other anti-American parties will take over the government once we leave. ...
The quicker a new dictator wins the political power in Iraq and imposes order, the sooner the country will stop producing well-experienced terrorists. [Emph. added]
P.S.: There's also one troubling sentence on what could turn out to be the fatal contradiction in the current Bush strategy of training an effective Iraqi military--if we're successful, it may just produce a coup down the road.
Experience around the world teaches us that military dictatorships arise when the military's institutional modernization gets ahead of political consolidation.
But experience around the world also teaches us that experience around the world is speeding up. "Political consolidation" that once took decades may now take years. At least that's a possibility Odom should confront, before he dismisses those who conclude, with President Clinton, that "this enterprise could still work."
**--That would be why it's worth doing! 12:07 A.M.
I tend to blame Wagner Act unionism--especially productivity-sapping work rules--for GM's decline. It's hard to blame globalization--the usual suspect--since Honda, Toyota and Nissan all assemble cars in North America with (non-union) North American labor and they're all still beating GM. High materials costs? The Japanese transplants face those too. The health care explanation also seems bogus. GM has to pay for the health care of its employees whether they work or not, right? If the company could build a car and make a profit, which would help defray those costs, it would do it--whether those costs were $4 million or $4 billion. The problem is the company can't build a car and make a profit. Or enough of a profit. ... The only good argument I can see for pinning most of the blame on pure inept management is the Buick LaCrosse. According to the most recent Consumer Reports, the LaCrosse is an excellent car, achieving a level of reliability that approaches Acuras and Toyotas. But it's so dumpy-looking television ads dare show it only in shadow. Blame bad styling decisions, not Buick workers. (Except that, at $30,000, it's overpriced by $5,000, and the UAW and CAW have something to do with that.) ... P.S.: The UAW's peculiar problem is too much decentralization--even when its national leadership senses the need for concessions, its locals often have the power to resist. ... P.P.S.: Another blow to Detroit-- next generation Toyota Camry is handsome. ...
Update: Emailer J puts the central case against Wagner Act unionism more succinctly:
Photograph of Judith Miller on the Slate home page by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.