Across the Bay

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Michael Young on Rumsfeld

Michael Young wrote this excellent yet depressing piece on the uncertain future of Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and Douglas Feith. Young made the accurate, and truly worrisome, point that the whole Iraq project liberals have been dreaming about in the Arab world might be handed over to the useless hands of Colin Powell and "the party of stalemate" as Young calls Powell & Co.

Young recognizes the centrality of Paul Wolfowitz, as did Kanan Makiya, the Iraqi intellectual godfather of the project for the removal of Saddam Hussein and the creation of a democratic pluralist Iraq. The removal of Wolfowitz would leave a cabinet full of Realists. Although, Cheney is left out in this article. I know Cheney doesn't strike people as an Idealist, yet some might argue that he has been convinced of Wolfowitz's vision. Hey, at least he and Powell don't see eye to eye, and that might be a good thing.

If Wolfowitz leaves, Arab liberals will lose the only real voice for their cause in Washington.

The New York Times' David Brooks also pondered the tragic irony of this war:

"There was, above all, a failure to understand the consequences of our power. There was a failure to anticipate the response our power would have on the people we sought to liberate. They resent us for our power and at the same time expect us to be capable of everything. There was a failure to understand the effect our power would have on other people around the world. We were so sure we were using our might for noble purposes, we assumed that sooner or later, everybody else would see that as well. Far from being blinded by greed, we were blinded by idealism.


We didn't understand the tragic irony that our power is also our weakness. As long as we seemed so mighty, others, even those we were aiming to assist, were bound to revolt. They would do so for their own self-respect. In taking out Saddam, we robbed the Iraqis of the honor of liberating themselves. The fact that they had no means to do so is beside the point.

Brooks concludes with this sad, yet probably accurate point:

"If the Iraqis do campaign this fall, then at their rallies they will jeer at us. We will still be hated around the world. But we will have succeeded in doing what we set out to do."