Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Provisional Government
The disturbing extension of U.S. rule in Iraq.
By Christopher Hitchens - Wednesday, May 28, 2003, at 10:40 AM PT

In the months preceding the intervention in Iraq, there were almost as many arguments within the "regime-change" constituency as there were between it and the "peace" camp. On both sides, indeed, some internal disagreements were subordinated to the main quarrel. The most enduring suspicion, among the Arab and Kurdish supporters of an attacking policy, was that elements within the American government would seek to keep them from harvesting an "Iraq for the Iraqis" victory. Hence the long tussle between Ahmad Chalabi and the CIA, and hence also the enduring memory among Kurds of the times when they had been used and dumped in the past. It doesn't take much to bring these old suspicions back to life and the appointment of Paul Bremer, latterly of the grand old firm of Kissinger Associates, to a proconsulship could almost have been designed to revive them.

To some extent, every faction in this debate has been looking down the barrel of a rifle that might backfire. If no weapons of mass destruction are ever unearthed, for example, that still doesn't mean that Iraq even attempted to comply with the terms of U.N. Resolution 1441 and it still makes nonsense of those who prophesied an apocalyptic outcome to any invasion. (This self-canceling propaganda has occurred before: Those who argued that the "real" reason for the removal of the Taliban was the building of a Unocal pipeline have yet to present any hard empirical evidence of such a sinister pipeline being laid, or even planned. Meanwhile, previous opponents of a U.S.-led presence in Afghanistan send me gloating e-mails every day, showing that the state of affairs in that country is far from ideal and that Washington's interest in it is lapsing. Unless this means that they prefer Afghanistan the way it was, as some of them doubtless do, I hope they realize that they seem to be arguing for more and better intervention there, not for less.)

Seems to me Hitch was a bit smarmy and condecending toward those of us who forsaw this exact scenario being the likely outcome before the damned invasion. Of course now he can find a way to say it's no big deal and things will work out.



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