Man Without Qualities

Monday, March 03, 2003

A Striking Admission

The New York Times admits today:

The Bush administration proved over the weekend that it can plan for war against Iraq and fight international terrorism at the same time.

Of course, the Times has been denying this very fact for many months. One might hope that having just admitted being so spectacularly in error for so long, the Times would show a little modesty, perhaps a hint that they might not really have what it takes to second guess the Administration on this topic. But, no. The editorial goes right on to reprise another of the Times' Looney Tunes:

President Bush may be able to win a military victory against Saddam Hussein without broad international support, but he won't be able to rebuild Iraq, much less change the political and economic dynamics of the Islamic world, without a great deal of foreign assistance.

Perhaps the Times might want to keep in mind that the very persistence of Saddam Hussein as ruler of Iraq demonstrates that once one controls a country with the world's second largest proven oil reserves, the "international community" is very flexible and forgiving in providing "broad international support." A new government of Iraq - almost any new government of Iraq - will have more legitimacy than Mr. Hussein. And that new government will - surprise - be thanking the United States for putting it in power and forgiving the United States for any acts which the "international community" views as a transgression. How is the "international community" supposed to resist all that - and the political, factual and economic realities behind it? Is the EU going to boycott Iraqi oil?

And it is hard to think of anything that will "change the political and economic dynamics of the Islamic world" more effectively than the utter and complete destruction of the power of a person who so personifies the current political and economic dynamics of the Islamic world even where he received "a great deal of foreign assistance."

Having begun its editorial so well, the Times' apparently complete absence of personal insight sadly brings it to a ringing affirmation of its own dimwittedness:

We believe more time is warranted to determine whether Iraq's dismantlement of missiles is a signal that Mr. Hussein is reconsidering his stubborn defiance of the United Nations and to see if a solution short of war is still possible.

Just what will it take to make the Times wake up and grow up and smarten up?

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