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Reasons and whyfores

Condoleezza Rice says the coalition gets the leading role in rebuilding Iraq:

“It would only be natural to expect that … having given life and blood to liberate Iraq, the coalition would have the leading role. I don’t think anybody is surprised by that,” President Bush’s national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, told reporters.

Well, sure, if we were doing for the reward. I was under the impression we were doing it a) to protect the West from terrorism and b) to give the Iraqis a better government. Rice makes it sound like we should get to rebuild Iraq… as a reward. Shouldn’t we be selecting the rebuilders with an eye towards who will best help reach those two goals?

I mean, hell. Let’s say (it’s a hypothetical, breathe easy) that France is the country which can do the best job of keeping Iraq from turning into a haven for terrorists. Wouldn’t it in fact be utterly wrong of Bush to do anything other than hand it to France? I think he’s obliged to continue planning with our established and public reasons for invading Iraq at the forefront of his selection criteria. Reward should be at best a distant third.

Machiavelli had this great trick for conquering nations. You put a harsh ruler in to really piss everyone off; then you bring in a nice guy and they’re so grateful they forget they were conquered. Through no real fault of our own other than being there, we’re doing a solid job of pissing people off. It’s unavoidable in a war. I’m thinking we should give the Arab world something they can perceive as a victory by reluctantly handing over the post-war reconstruction to the UN.

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