Wed. May 19, 2004
A Year of Questions
You probably feel like you’ve heard enough of this kind of thing, so what’s the point in more of same? But there is a point.
It’s surprising to me that such an image conscious administration didn’t clue in on the fact this Post-War era would be critical to the long term impressions of this war. And plan for it, in great detail. Because no matter how shiningly the military won the war, the lasting impression left by, oh, say, November 2004, will be based on how shiningly we handled post-War Iraq.
And so far, the evidence is that the Democrats will be handed a silver baseball bat with which to pound on Bush at reelection time. You’d think that would have been motivation enough to do about 500% more than they have so far.
George Bush made no bones about it during the 2000 Election, he’s not into nation building. But now, he has to be. He’s now wrestling a two headed beast of his own creation. In order to win reelection, it’s obvious the US economy is the big issue where he must prove success. And that’s going to be hard enough.
But now, he’s got the economies of two nations to resurrect. Just one may not be enough.
But that’s not more of the current harping against the President. No, I wrote the above one year ago today, when I first asked “Where Was The Plan?” A year later, there are no answers, and the concerns I expressed are just as valid — and evident — as they were then.
Obviously, this election will indeed be a referendum on Bush’s policies, and I now think it will be Iraq at the forefront, not the US economy. Thus my amazement, even a year ago, that they have botched the effort so badly. It should have been clear even then, even to someone more focused on beating Democrats than Ba’athists, that the only course acceptable was a full court press. They should have known that every corner they cut, and every misstep they made would be amplified by the election year climate. The fact that Rove & Co., allegedly a state of the art Political Machine, failed to perceive and focus on this is indictable. Even if they didn’t care a whit about Iraqis, self interest dictated a far more robust approach than they’ve shown. And it was evident to me a year ago. It ought to be clear to everyone by now, it could end up tipping the election.
A year is a long time to wait, even for an American living in comfort, never mind an Iraqi living in Baghdad. But I’m willing to wait a bit longer. I believe that the coming handover of power on June 30 may be driving a lot of the violence we’ve seen in the past month or so, as insurgents try to do their worst before it becomes clear to all they are merely attacking Iraqis, not Iraq’s occupiers.
It is possible that after a couple of months of Iraqi self government, things will be calmer and more stable there. By mid-September, I think we’ll know. Also by then, the G8 Summit, Democratic Convention, Summer Olympics, Republican Convention, and anniversary of 9/11 will have all passed. In one way or another.
I know enough now to pass a pretty harsh judgement, have known it for a year, and have already described it as “unconscionable malpractice.” But by mid-September, we’ll likely know a lot of things we don’t today. Good, bad, and maybe even horrifically ugly.