Not Good

Threats Force Retreat From Wide-Ranging Plans for Iraq (washingtonpost.com)
The attacks have ramped up again after the capture of Saddam and we seem to be responding, politically, in exactly the wrong way. I know the attacks on the troops are not the only issue — getting support from other countries based on a transfer of sovereignty, etc. — and these are the worst reasons to be scaling back plans for the transformation.

If the transfer of sovereignty has to be delayed to meet objectives, then we should do so. It’s unlikely that our troops will be made safer by a quicker handover to a rag-tag government that can’t provide for its own security. We’ll still end up with the responsibility for the security of the country, only in support of a different entity.

The most troubling aspect of the rushed schedule is the delay of a constitution. Once a government is cobbled together and is considered “sovereign” we’ll have even less say in the outcome, which could mean any number of things. The economy could remain socialist and the government could be tyrannical. Considering that we’ll likely get little or nothing from the rest of the world in any case, I see no need to rush to hand over sovereignty.

The United States has backed away from several of its more ambitious initiatives to transform Iraq’s economy, political system and security forces as attacks on U.S. troops have escalated and the timetable for ending the civil occupation has accelerated.

Plans to privatize state-owned businesses — a key part of a larger Bush administration goal to replace the socialist economy of deposed president Saddam Hussein with a free-market system — have been dropped over the past few months. So too has a demand that Iraqis write a constitution before a transfer of sovereignty.

With the administration’s plans tempered by time and threat, the U.S. administrator of Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, and his deputies are now focused on forging compromises with Iraqi leaders and combating a persistent insurgency in order to meet a July 1 deadline to transfer sovereignty to a provisional government.

“There’s no question that many of the big-picture items have been pushed down the list or erased completely,” said a senior U.S. official involved in Iraq’s reconstruction, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Right now, everyone’s attention is focused [on] doing what we need to do to hand over sovereignty by next summer.”

The new approach, U.S. diplomats said, calls into question the prospects for initiatives touted by conservative strategists to fashion Iraq into a secular, pluralistic, market-driven nation. While the diplomats maintain those goals are still attainable, the senior official said, “ideology has become subordinate to the schedule.”

It would be a shame, a real shame, to think we have sacrificed lives and resources only to create an illiberal state.

For more on the casualties look here.

UPDATE: I received a comment from one George Ganza that exceeds 3400 words and is pure crap. I’ve moved it into the extended entry in case anyone is interested in reading it. It takes up too much space on the page and is idiotic as well.

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