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September 7, 2003

Another good question. Juan Cole is a University of Michigan history professor who blogs on “the Middle East, History, Islam, and Religion.” And who doesn’t seem to have been very impressed by Donald “Mr. Diplomacy” Rumsfeld’s recent comments suggesting that Iraqis need to “take responsibility” for their security, “instead of pointing fingers, it seems to me, at the security forces of the coalition.” Remarks Cole:
Does anybody but me find this sort of rhetoric disgraceful? First of all, it lumps all Iraqis together. Do people in Najaf even know anybody in Tikrit, where the recent bombing was probably planned? How could they have tipped the US off about something a small group of Sunni Arabs in another town were planning? Since the US dissolved the Iraqi army, moreover, how exactly could Iraqis track such terrorists? With the PTA? It is the US that has 140,000 troops in the country and is supposed to be in control of places like Tikrit, and which has special forces and CIA field officers on the ground. Why isn’t it the responsibility of the US to stop bombings and provide security?
Cole, of course, actually knows something about the Middle East, history, etc. For that reason, look for him to be extensively slagged off as an “idiotarian.” [01:18 PM]
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Comments on Another good question.:

Jaquandor ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2003, 02:35 PM:

I seem to recall Bush, last fall, suggesting that the rebuilding would be up to the "International coalition" or some such thing, even when it was demonstrably clear that the war was pretty much going to be a unilateral US effort. "Other people are going to have to clean up our mess" has pretty much been the subtext of the whole Iraq policy all along.

(Hell, come to think of it, that's been the subtext of EVERY Bush policy all along.)

Michael Ward ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2003, 05:32 PM:

Tar-Baby, or Tiger-by-the-Tail?

Pretty clear that there wasn't sufficient planning for what happens after the war is over (or sort-of-over). Ooops, guess they forgot about that extra $80 billion we're going to need to spend there. Ooops, guess we forgot to figure in what to do about the left-over munitions. Ooops, well, why go on. What if we won a war and lost the peace? [Hey, we've already done that once. Need a different slogan.]

It's time to Iraquicize the war, right?

Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2003, 09:43 PM:

I guess that I am a bit of a jerk about this, but I have to bring back up that as an occupying power under international law, civilian security is our responsibility, and that will not change until an internationally recognized independent Iraqi government can exercise sovereignity. You don't want to be responsible -- dont invade.

Doug Rivers ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2003, 12:29 PM:

I'm sure Mr. Cole is a smart guy, but I don't think the rhetoric is disgraceful at all. Common sense. The Iraqi's will have to take control of their own security. The legitimate question is not "if", but: when?

Rumsfeld said we needed more help from the Iraqi people in the way of tips etc about terrorists. Why is that controversial to anyone? You might well argue that we should have never gone in, but that's a different issue than addressing the realities of today. Even Hodean has said (words to the effect) that we're there and shouldn't just blindly exit. And I'll guarantee you, excepting President Kucinich or Nader, we'll be doing what Rummy (basically) says whoever's blowing the whistle.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2003, 05:29 PM: