Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Mirage in the Desert

NYTs Michael Ignatieff's mea culpa:
...For if the country needs anything as it faces up to Iraq, it is to put away the messianic and missionary oratory of presidential funerals and learn some humility while there is still time.

At Abu Ghraib, America paid the price for American exceptionalism, the idea that America is too noble, too special, too great to actually obey international treaties like the Torture Convention or international bodies like the Red Cross. Enthralled by narcissism and deluded by servility, American lawyers forgot their own Constitution and its peremptory prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.

[snip]

This administration was fumbling for a plan two months before the invasion. Who can read Bob Woodward's ''Plan of Attack'' and not find his jaw dropping at the fact that from the very beginning, in late 2001, none of the civilian leadership, not Rice, not Powell, not Tenet, not the president, asked where the plan for the occupation phase was? Who can't feel that U.S. captains, majors and lieutenants were betrayed by the Beltway wars between State and Defense? Who can't feel rage that victorious armies stood by and watched for a month while Iraq was looted bare?

Someone like me who supported the war on human rights grounds has nowhere to hide: we didn't suppose the administration was particularly nice, but we did assume it would be competent. There isn't much excuse for its incompetence, but equally, there isn't much excuse for our naivete either.

Memo to all those someones like him -- isn't it time you too faced reality? Show Bush the door in '04!

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