Opting for failure and other Iraq notes
William Safire concludes today's gung-ho column (NYT) thus: "We will help Iraqis win the final war against Baathist terror. Failure is not an option."

The problem is that the Bush administration already opted for failure by invading Iraq. War is a failure of politics. In this case it was a failure of diplomacy, of respect for the popular will (those millions of us who demonstrated in bitter cold to keep this war from happening!), and obviously of planning -- as David Rieff's article in the Sunday NYT Magazine reminds us (in case you needed reminding). As too often has happened in world history, the men with power refuse to recognize their failures and persist in a doomed course.

A couple of days ago Thomas Friedman wrote that France and Germany's refusal to give millions to support the U.S. occupation of Iraq, in contrast to the open coffers of the Saudis, proved that Saudi Arabia was more committed to stability and democracy in Iraq than are those two great European powers. This is loony! Can Friedman have forgotten that democracy means "government by the people"? As some people in France and Germany see clearly, there can be no democracy in Iraq as long as it is occupied by a foreign power. Paying for the U.S. to stay there, and thus to further subsidize Bechtel and the other profiteers, will only delay the process.

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