Monday, April 12, 2004

Couldn't you have told us this, oh, I don't know, BEFORE!

Tom Friedman, liberal hawk, remembers he left the oven on.

[Bush the Elder] understood that he could not expel Saddam Hussein from Kuwait without a real coalition that included Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and other key Arab states, not to mention all the NATO allies and the U.N. America would not have had the legitimacy to operate in that theater for the length of time required without Arab and European cover. What was true for expelling Saddam from Kuwait was triply true for expelling Saddam from Iraq and is quadruply true for expelling the die-hard Baathists from Falluja and the Shiite radicals from Najaf.
Wasn't the lack of a coalition with this sort of legitimacy a good reason for not ousting Saddam when we did?
We have a staggering legitimacy deficit for the task ahead. I am glad El Salvador is with us, but when Iraqis get satellite dishes, they don't tune in TV El Salvador. They tune in TV Al Jazeera.
When did you reach this epiphany, Tom?
If it is America alone against the Iraqi street, we lose. If it is the world against the Iraqi street, we have a chance.
Even if the world came on board (which it won't), the Iraqi street's stake in this fight is larger than anyone else's which means that it'll go for 15 rounds. It doesn't have a choice. Unfortunately, neither do we. But we did as recently as 13 months ago.

UPDATE: The Bush Administration may congratulate (read: thank) Junichiro Koizumi for his resolute decision to keep Japanese forces in Iraq. But does the Administration really think that the kidnapping of Japanese humanitarian workers won't scare off countries whose assistance it is soliciting?

UPDATE: BBC News reports the kidnapping of seven PRC nationals. "Beijing opposed the war and has no troops in the country," which means that this can't be justified as retaliatory or to demand the removal of troops. Of course, the truth probably boils down to, "They all look alike," (Back off, I'm Chinese so I get to make fun) but I'd really enjoy watching the postcolonial left try to squirm its way out of imputing racism to Arabs.

UPDATE: It looks like someone among the Iraqi insurgents can tell us apart. The seven Chinese hostages have been freed. It gets better. Apparently, the hostages were in Iraq because they had secured jobs there. They were economic migrants. From Fujian, no less. Reprazent, boys!