Sunday, April 06, 2003

What comes after? Saddam is still around, but already the question is on the minds of observers, amid news that retired American Gen. Jay Garner is planning to move from Kuwait to Iraq soon and install his civil administration. The Washington Post has a detailed article on the politics involved in control over postwar Iraq--in the U.S. between the Pentagon and the State Department and between Congress and the Administration, but also, internationally, between the U.S. and everybody else on whether the U.N. should be given a postwar role--something the Bush administration is very ambiguous about.

Jane Perlez in the New York Times has another postwar politics piece, where she revealingly writes of Garner's team:

European and American leaders may still be arguing over whether the United Nations plays a role in postwar Iraq, and, if it does, how large that part should be. But those disputes are considered largely irrelevant by the team here, whose members argue that they are better off unfettered by the United Nations.

So the cliché may be right after all: it would be a relatively easy war (we keep our fingers crossed), but the U.S. might well screw up the postwar, since the Iraqis, whatever American spokesmen say, will very probably not regard a U.S. civil administration (under tight Pentagon control) as the first step towards democracy.

For more on this story, you can also refer to this article in London's The Observer. The Pentagon's open hostility to the U.N. is described:

The decision to proceed with an embryonic government comes in response to memoranda written by Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld last week, urging that the US begin to entrench its authority in areas under its control before the war is over.

Pentagon officials told The Observer that the administration is determined to impose the Rumsfeld plan and sees no use for a UN role, describing the international body as 'irrelevant'.

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