Thomas Friedman writes a pretty good column in the Times today, Worth a Thousand Words:
“… There is much to dislike about this war in Iraq, but there is no denying the stakes. … this is a war between some people in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world who – for the first time ever in their region – are trying to organize an election to choose their own leaders and write their own constitution versus all the forces arrayed against them.
[. . .] However this war started, however badly it has been managed, however much you wish we were not there, do not kid yourself that this is not what it is about: people who want to hold a free and fair election to determine their own future, opposed by a virulent nihilistic minority that wants to prevent that. That is all that the insurgents stand for.
[ . . . ] What is terrifying is that the noble sacrifice of our soldiers, while never in vain, may not be enough. We may actually lose in Iraq. The vitally important may turn out to be the effectively impossible.”
Yes, those are the “facts on the ground” now — thanks to Bush. We caused this horrible situation — even more horrible for the people in Iraq than for our troops there — and we have to try to help them form a government now, and work to calm things down. But then Friedman gets it entirely wrong, buying into right-wing framing:
“We may lose because most Europeans, having been made stupid by their own weakness, would rather see America fail in Iraq than lift a finger for free and fair elections there.”
The Europeans and others are not refusing to help in Iraq, they are refusing to help when the offer is entirely on Bush’s terms! The Europeans are not buying into the typical Republican trick of offering their solution and then casting anyone who won’t do it their way as obstructionist.