Girgenti: A little foresight goes a long way

R. Colin Fly

The Bush administration has yet again shown its shortsightedness. In the aftermath of the fighting in Iraq, the administration had no clear plans for how to replace Saddam Hussein as that nation’s leader. Eventually, the administration found its way to appointing an interim government, headed by former general and weapons manufacturer Jay Garner. Who better to keep peace in the country than someone whose entire livelihood has been based on conflict and war around the world?

At least the administration has not decided to entirely leave the Iraqis out of any government that is formed in the country. The Bush administration is completely enamored of Ahmed Chalabi, who claims to be a Shi’ite Muslim in order to appeal to the 60 percent of the Iraqi population that is Shi’ite.

Chalabi would make a great leader, too. As a former banker, he certainly knows what it takes to lead a country out of chaos and into true democracy. The fact that he was convicted of bank fraud in Jordan shouldn’t make us worry, though; surely our money will be safe in his hands as he uses it to rebuild the country.

How does this all lead to the administration’s shortsightedness? Shortly before the war in Iraq started, a report was leaked from the State Department that suggested a democratically-elected government in Iraq would most likely be anti-American and become an extremist Muslim theocracy. The administration ignored this report, along with warnings from several intelligence agencies and many experts on the region, so it could focus on the goal of removing Saddam from power. Now that he has been defeated, the White House is surprised to learn that the Shi’ite Muslims, the more extreme Muslims, are well-organized and want America to leave Iraq so they can set up a theocracy.

But we can probably trust the Shi’ite majority, if it takes control of the government at some point, not to take vengeance on the Sunni minority in whose benefit Saddam ran Iraq. After all, a formerly oppressed majority would never do that kind of thing to a formerly privileged minority.

On the plus side, the American military was put to good use in Baghdad, protecting the Ministry of Oil. I guess there just weren’t enough troops to protect the National Museum, though. It’s not like there was really anything of value in the museum nearest to the birth of civilization anyway. Fortunately, this war was about Iraqi democracy and had nothing to do with oil or turning Iraq into an American satellite state. I guess this really was a bang-up war, after all.