Friday, March 21, 2003

Makiya watch
You can read a new installment of Kanan Makiya’s War Diary in the New Republic, here.

While I am entirely sympathetic to Makiya’s feeling that a long U.S. military occupation (during which Iraqis are to retain merely an advisory role) is not the ideal way to make Iraq safe for democracy, I find tiresome his studied innocence on U.S. cynicism. In a piece for The Observer several weeks ago, Makiya blamed the State Department and the CIA for efforts to deny the opposition a chance to rule in a postwar Iraq.

That was rank hypocrisy: the person who broke the news to the opposition (in Ankara, Turkey) that it would not soon partake of postwar power was Zalmay Khalilzad, the Bush administration’s envoy to the Iraqi opposition. He’s a Paul Wolfowitz creation. However, because Makiya knows it is the hawks at the Defense Department who butter his political bread, he didn’t go after their people.

Who can disagree with Makiya when he writes that Iraqis should be partners of the U.S., but not its “stooges”? This is his roundabout way of attacking other Iraqi opposition figures who, he notes, “prefer to ride into Iraq atop American tanks.”

I wonder though if Iraqis will really distinguish between those who rode in on tanks and those, like Makiya and Ahmad Chalabi, who walked.

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