Thursday, April 06, 2006


Iraqi Says Visit by Two Diplomats Backfired

A top adviser to Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said Wednesday that the visit this week by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw of Britain had backfired, prolonging a deadlock over a new government and strengthening Mr. Jaafari's resolve to keep his post.

"Pressure from outside is not helping to speed up any solution," said the adviser, Haider al-Abadi. "All it's doing is hardening the position of people who are supporting Jaafari."

He added, "They shouldn't have come to Baghdad."

His comments were echoed by several political leaders on Wednesday, including Kurds and Sunni Arabs.

... "They complicated the thing, and now it's more difficult to solve," said Mahmoud Osman, an independent member of the Kurdistan Alliance, speaking Wednesday about Ms. Rice and Mr. Straw. "They shouldn't have come, and they shouldn't have interfered." ...

I can't speak for Straw and the Brits, but here's how the Bush administration sees these things:

1. Everyone loves freedom.
2. America = freedom.
3. Therefore, everyone loves America.
4. So if we Americans make it clear to people in another country that we want something, they'll just do it.

And it really works like a charm, doesn't it? Not just in this case, but in, say, the Palestinian elections, where we gave nearly $2 million to help Fatah, and Hamas won.

(The U.S. has also tried to aid Syria's liberal opposition -- which turned down the money, saying, in the words of a Reuters reporter, "that its credibility would be damaged if it took the cash." Unfazed, Rice has called for increasing overt aid to Iranian democrats -- because the money we're spending now is doing so much good, right?)

Look, I don't expect the Bushies to internalize the anger at America that's rampant in the world -- I'd just like them to acknowledge it, and consider it when making decisions. But they won't. They think even taking into account the possibility that people in other countries dislike or distrust America makes you a stinking hippie surrender monkey in Birkenstocks.

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