Thursday, August 19, 2004

George Will Hates America?

Well, if you listen to the Republicans and the talking heads being fed the Bushco party line, anyone espousing gloom and doom, critiquing Administration policy, or, heaven forbid, dissenting, is involved in some form of America hating. Thanks much to Eric Alterman for pointing this out. He found the story on the Washington Post. Could it be that George Will is defecting from the Bushite fold?

But in a New York Times story from Najaf, readers learn, regarding the problem of Moqtada Sadr and his militia, that a Marine spokesman says, "We'll continue operations as the prime minister [Ayad Allawi] sees fit." And readers learn that U.S. commanders "curbed a broader national amnesty proposal announced by Dr. Allawi earlier this week, limiting its terms to exclude any rebels who have taken part in actions killing or wounding American troops."

So does sovereignty reside with the prime minister whose will evidently commands U.S. commanders? Or with those commanders who curb the prime minister's will?

A house so divided cannot stand. If it is the prime minister's will, or that of Iraq's embryonic democratic institutions, to conduct with insurgent factions negotiations that strip the Iraqi state of an essential attribute of statehood -- a monopoly on the legitimate exercise of violence -- the U.S. presence will become untenable.

Untenable even before what may be coming before November: an Iraqi version of the North Vietnamese Tet offensive of 1968. To say that the coming offensive will be by "Baathists" is, according to one administration official, akin to saying "Nazis" when you mean "the SS" -- the most fearsome of the Nazis. Such an offensive could make Sadr's insurgency seem a minor irritant. And it could unmake a presidency, as Tet did.
Alas, I must again bid you all adieu for a weekend. I'm heading up Philadelphia way to meet the future in-laws, or a few of them. Friday night consists of going to an Eagles pre-season game in the company of future neice and nephew. And, hopefully, if he gets back to me, I'll spend Sunday afternoon over a couple adult beverages with Richard on Rittenhouse Square. Or how about some mussels and belgian beers at Monks, Richard?