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Friday, May 28, 2004

Bilmon is back, with a vengence 

Billmon
The Whiskey Bar is open again, with a brilliant post describing the totality of US failure in Iraq.
So this is what failure looks like -- and, realistically, it's much too late to look to the UN or NATO or our Arab "allies" to save us from the consequences of the administration's folly. Strategic failure on such a grand scale is obviously going to have huge repercussions, not just in Iraq, not just in the Middle East, and not just for the war against Al Qaeda. Much more than 9/11, a U.S. defeat in Iraq . . . has at least the potential to change, if not everything, then lots of things -- from the U.S. political balance of power, to the future of NATO, to the health of the global economy. Old debates -- about the limits of U.S. power and the consequences of U.S. decline -- may be resurrected. America's attractiveness as a destination for foreign investment -- the main prop beneath our current prosperity -- could be undermined. But the ultimate consequences of the Iraq fiasco are really almost impossible to predict. In other words, while we may not be looking into the abyss (to borrow Gen. Hoar's phrase) we are certainly peering out over a dark and fog-covered landscape. Still, we do what we can. So over the next few weeks, I'm going to . . .focus on these unknowns -- Rumsfeld's unknown unknowns, so to speak. The most critical of these, of course, is Iraq itself, and the U.S. position in the Middle East (the most immediate casualty of Shrub's boneheaded play). This sucking chest wound - and what, if anything might be done to heal it - should be the topic of my next post.
Rock on, Bilmon.
When John Kerry is elected, he is going to face a hell of a mess. Here are the first steps as I see them. Regardless of who is in control of Congress, Kerry can:
1. Apologize to the world for America's 9.ll hysteria.
2. Close Gitmo and every other CIA and Homeland Security secret prison in America and around the world. Tell the military and the CIA to put up or shut up -- if they can charge people, do so. If they cannot, let them go home.
3. Host a summit of world leaders and the foreign service staff to announce a new era in international relations and security cooperation.
4. Put Gore in charge of Homeland Security with a mandate to focus on all of the clear and present dangers which that department has avoided. Require the CIA and the FBI to brief him every single day.
5, Send Clinton to the Middle East, with mandate and money for a Palestinian homeland. Then send him to North Korea to make a deal.

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