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"What effect must it have on a nation if it learns no foreign languages? Probably much the same as that which a total withdrawal from society has upon an individual."
--G.C. Lichtenberg



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Thursday, February 05, 2004
 
From Michael Hersch at Newsweek:

Presently a new team enters the office of Iraq's civil administrator, his democracy task force, the project closest to his heart. Bremer notes he's giving the teaching teams some $450 million, nearly five times what they were budgeted; he talks about bringing in local U.S. battalion and brigade commanders. "You've got basically nothing in this area!" he says, scanning a printout. He asks if there is "an escape clause" in the contract being given to the U.S. company that's doing the democracy promotion because "it very well may be that the U.N. takes over." The Iraqi electricity minister pops in, and Bremer, with his usual genteel good humor, admonishes him for making wild predictions about megawatt increases in the country's still-flickering power supply (even now, Baghdad blacks out several times a day). Though he's careful not to flaunt it, Bremer controls everything down to Iraqi ministers' travel plans. "We're both going to get run out of town if you keep doing that," Bremer says. "What do we care?" the minister jokes, "we're both going to lose our jobs anyway."
[Emphasis added]


Now, we have several facts here. One is that the Christian Right, often described as George W. Bush's base, hates the U.N. The neocons hate the U.N. Mohammad ElBaradei and Hans Blix, the U.N.'s representatives in Iraq, who were attempting to meet U.S. requirements (and who turned out to be right on every major count), were routinely discounted and undermined by members of the Bush Administration.

How is it, then, that the Administration's Chosen Man in Baghdad is entirely sanguine about the fact that U.N., natural counterweight to the unfettered dominance of the United States of America, will likely wind up with the responsibility of running Iraq? Obviously he's a realist, but I'm really surprised he's saying this out loud, because it would be tantamount to saying we have failed in our Great Quest to Liberate Iraq.


via Tacitus