Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Pride Before a Fall…

President Bush has finally made a long overdue overture to the United Nations to gain their involvement in the rebuilding of Iraq. He understands, like he hasn’t before, that what he has started is a much bigger undertaking than he had ever imagined; and to ask America to go it alone holds the potential for bankrupting the country and costing him the election. More than any other issue, the now apparent lack of planning concerning Iraq’s rebuilding and its staggering cost makes Bush vulnerable at the polls. More than any other reason, I feel that is why he’s making that move now rather than any altruistic impulse to do what is best for the people of Iraq.

Bush’s refusal to turn over the keys, however, may be the proverbial shot in his own foot. His desire to get UN help but not give them say in what happens is unrealistic; it’s just not how politics works. In the long run, whether the Iraqis decide to adopt a free government or not, they must be convinced they made that decision themselves and not because it was rammed down their throats by a puppet U.S. Government. This is the danger of a policy of “liberation”. It’s like sending an alcoholic to a treatment center before she hits bottom. If she’s not ready to make the changes on her own, nothing you do will make the treatment take, no matter how good it makes her temporarily feel.