01 February 2005

Meletus is a contrarian idiot.

Subject: Meletus is a contrarian idiot.
From: Meletus
Date: Feb 1 2005 4:02PM

In his latest op-ed piece in The New York Times, David Brooks defends the success of the Iraqi elections against those who would suggest the elections are only the beginning of a viable democracy in Iraq. He writes:

"In Washington, senators make facile arguments about improving the training of Iraqi troops, trying to reduce problems of motivation to problems of technique."

"Brent Scowcroft warned of incipient civil war, denigrating the Iraqis' ability to manage their own tensions."

If these aren't the two stupidest defenses of the Iraq elections in print, I haven't been able to find two more stupid, including the comments made by the neo-conservative cheerleaders on this board. Turning the Iraqi election into an eschatological journey from the evil of tyranny into the light of democratic hope is bad enough; denigrating the substantive policies needed to keep Iraq from slipping into chaos is, well—pretty darn stupid. Someone should point out to Brooks that the naive optimism in his latest op-ed piece may be uplifting to the Republican [sic] party line, but it fails to offer the Iraqi people anything but false hope.

Fortunately those left "to manage their own tensions" would agree: real policy decisions are better than false hopes, however motivating those hopes may be.

"It's only complete nonsense to ask the troops to leave in this chaos and this vacuum of power," said Ghazi Yawar, Iraq's Interim President, who also suggested that by "the end of this year, we could see the number of foreign troops decreasing."

Clarifying, Interim Defense Minister Hazim Shalan said:

"We don't want to have foreign troops in our country, but at the same time we believe that these forces should stay for some time until we are able to control the borders and establish a new modern army and we have efficient intelligence." Shalan added that this army was necessary before "we'll ask them to leave."

Clearly these two Iraqi leaders trying "to manage their own tensions" would not agree with Brooks; they would agree with Scowcroft and those senators making "facile" suggestions about real policy, that is, policy suggestions rooted in pragmatism, not more American political poetry about overcoming evil. Is it really so difficult to believe that without technique—an army for security, an intelligence agency for intelligence—all the motivation in the world is for naught, even in a world of good versus evil?

Reading columnists like Brooks and optimists [sic] like 1-2-Oscar, both of whom pay lip service to the hard road ahead in Iraq, one would think that real technique is already obselete. But amidst all the trumpeting and cheerleading over the success of the Iraqi election, this contrarian idiot is reassured that in Iraq, cooler heads are prevailing.

After that courageous turnout, the Iraqi people deserve nothing less.

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