Monday, May 19, 2003
Is it my imagination, or was it only weeks ago (right before the start of the Iraq campaign) that Amir Taheri was demanding that the U.S. not take too vigorous a hand in Iraq, but let the Iraqis quickly organize their own democracy? Well, now he's singing a somewhat different tune: the Iraqi exiles, formerly the natural leaders of the country, are now "argumentative, suspicious, given to plotting against one another, and enamored of their often-bizarre ideas;" meanwhile the locals invited to take part in discussions about forming a government are either "the kind of busibodies, loudmouths and opportunists one finds in any confused political situation" or Baathist thugs bent on undermining the American authorities (or, he neglects to add, agents of the government in Tehran). Apparently, "what Iraq urgently needs is an authority" but one that is not just another "mustachioed strongman."
Funny, this is the argument some of us were making at the time for a much stronger American administration, for not relying on the locals or the exiles. Indeed, some of us were concerned that too easy a victory would make the occupation more difficult because the Iraqis would not have the caution of a conquered people. Doesn't sound like we were so nuts.
Anyhow, it would be nice if Taheri would acknowledge his change of tune.