On the NYT.com frontpage, this headline:
"Bush Says Iraq Should Be Example for Rest of Middle East."
Example of what. Example "to?" maybe.
If I were a struggling Arab state, I know I'd be queuing up saying "me next! me next!"
Nah, just kidding. After all - they only hate us because we're free. 'Course, does that mean now that they're free, they hate themselves.
Maybe we should export Senator Vasconcellos's self-esteem movement next . . .
More from today's NYT: An editorial that doesn't exactly praise yesterday's events:
Two days early, with a veil of secrecy and a tight security lockdown, Washington's proconsul in Iraq, Paul Bremer III, handed a hollow and uncertain sovereignty to Iyad Allawi, a former Baathist collaborator of Saddam Hussein who spent most of the past three decades exiled in London, the last one of those in the pay of America's Central Intelligence Agency. It goes without saying that this is not the sort of outcome the nation envisioned when we sent our forces to liberate Iraq last year.
Moving the transfer date was a sensible precaution against anticipated insurgent attacks. But it underscores how arbitrary the original date, June 30, was all along. Rather than being timed to coincide with a growing capacity of the new Iraqi authorities to take on the challenges of running the country and preparing it for democratic elections, the June date was fixed upon last November to ensure at least the appearance of progress as the American presidential campaign got under way.
. . . But Washington cannot shed its responsibility for what happens from here on out. The Bush administration has handed off the symbols of sovereignty. But if Iraq dissolves into dictatorship or civil war, the White House will not be able to hand off the blame.
Oh, but won't it be fun to watch them try?
And read Krugman:
Plans for privatization were eventually put on hold. But as he prepared to leave Iraq, Mr. Bremer listed reduced tax rates, reduced tariffs and the liberalization of foreign-investment laws as among his major accomplishments. Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time — but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics.
It's the gift that keeps on giving . . . .