January 18, 2005

Irony, the Blog, and the Missing Links

I realize that the links that were supposed to be included in the last post aren't there. Those links were of course, to bad news about Iraq in the lead-up to the election. I will blame blogger for these missing links. Or maybe the Craigorian Chant Intern. Either way, what was supposed to be pitch perfect ironical statements now just sit there like dead fish. The result must be a bit of sarchasm for you readers out there. So as to clear up confusion - Iraq is going badly. The Bush team messed it up. I can't find the old links so here's a new one:

Kerry, who had recently returned from a trip to Iraq, found Rice's reply "disturbing," and not just because it marked another instance of the Bush administration's refusal to admit mistakes. There was nothing "unforeseen" about the insurgents' re-emergence, he said. The U.S. military "encouraged" them to vanish from the battlefield, promising to pay them if they did so. "But we didn't pay them," Kerry said. So "they got angry and organized."

This is an oversimplified view of the insurgency, but it has some validity. Certainly it rebuts Rice's explanation of the insurgency as the result of an all-too-speedy victory by U.S.-led forces (or, as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has described it, a "catastrophic success"). Kerry's argument also speaks to a broader failure of Bush's policy in Iraq—a failure to come to grips with the internal, sectarian tensions unleashed by the removal of Saddam's oppressive regime.

Rice replied that the insurgents are angry not because we didn't pay them, but because "they've lost power and they want it back." Kerry agreed, but noted that's precisely the point. In the Iraqi election, still scheduled for Jan. 30, the Shiite parties are going to win, and win big, partly because Shiites comprise a strong majority of Iraq's population, partly because—owing mainly to poor security and insurgents' threats—few Sunnis are likely to vote. Kerry asked: What is the administration going to do, right after the election, to help reconcile the sectarian factions and thus stave off a potential civil war?

The elections are not going to save us. That was an unironic sentence.

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