Saturday, September 04, 2004

Even Fox news doesn't consider most of what the Bush administration calls good news in Iraq headline material. While it is heartwarming to build a school or a well in a place where attacks on Americans are uncommon, it doesn't really presage anything great in terms of rebuilding the country and economy of Iraq and creating jobs for those students - which requires ending the civil war. In America, very few conservatives would consider the fact that government was spending money on schools to be good news - they would ask how effective those schools really were. In Iraq, we must ask that - and also what jobs will be available to educated students.

Nevertheless, the New York Times has decided this is actually news:

This week, pursuing a similar strategy in Sadr City, where official agencies have been afraid to operate, the interim prime minister, Ayad Allawi, dangled the prospect of hundreds of millions of dollars in construction aid if local leaders would sideline Mr. Sadr and his militia.

In that dismal Baghdad neighborhood, which houses more than 2.5 million Shiite Muslims, the Army-sponsored sewage repair is one of only a handful the Americans have been able to start. Alluding to the continuing tensions, an Army spokesman said construction work in Sadr City was "very limited due to current activities."

Perhaps they are right. Allawi does seem to know what he's doing. Yesterday there was another article in the NY Times:

Militia Leaders Charging Betrayal by Iraqi Premier

It couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of guys. Allawi does seem smarter than Bush - and if it weren't for the rest of the history of the occupation of Iraq, the Bush administration might deserve a lot of credit for choosing him, although that would still depend on two things.

He does seem to know who to negotiate with, but he hasn't yet proved himself capable of the Herculian never-yet-accomplished task of preventing civil war without Saddam's brand of mass murder. If he's that pragmatic, is he idealistic enough to want to give up power to an elected government? Even some Americans seem to want a strong man - but if that's in the cards, every promise we make about an elected government is building more trouble for the future.

It does begin to seem the future of Iraq depends on Allawi. His history is well worth researching and blogging about. Anyone care to join me?

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