Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Giving in to the French, part II

Hot on the heels of yesterday's news that the US will speed up the transition to Iraqi self-rule comes this bombshell: they have agreed in principle to international control in Iraq.

The United States accepts that to avoid humiliating failure in Iraq it needs to bring its forces quickly under international control and speed the handover of power, Javier Solana, the European Union foreign policy chief, has said. Decisions along these lines will be made in the "coming days", Mr Solana told The Independent.

The comments, signalling a major policy shift by the US, precede President George Bush's state visit this week to London, during which he and Tony Blair will discuss an exit strategy for forces in Iraq.

Unfortunately, I think this is too little, too late. The US had their chance, and they've blown it. Yes, they liberated Iraq from Saddam, but they've managed to piss away any resulting goodwill by kicking in doors, "disappearing" people, using collective punishment, and shooting or arresting anyone who protests (not to mention the failure to restore basic services and the chance of random death from an American teenager with a twitchy trigger-finger). As a result, the opposition has gone from a few yahoos and "dead-enders" to a serious guerilla campaign with widespread public support (How widespread? They can graffitti warnings in Arabic next to their roadside bombs and no-one tells the Americans. That's some conspiracy of silence). They've fucked things up completely, and now that Bush is facing re-election, he wants to cut and run and dump the problem on the international community.

Frankly, the international community should tell him to fuck off. Thanks to America's actions, the situation in Iraq is fast approaching being unsalvagable (if it isn't already). Realistically, there is nothing we can do to help the Iraqi people at this late stage. The only "good" we can do is to die in the place of Americans - and help Bush get re-elected in the process.

If the US had done this six months ago, then I would have supported it; hell, if they'd made even a half-arsed effort at doing things properly rather than trying to turn Iraq into Haliburton and Bechtel's private fiefdom on the Euphrates, I'd have some sympathy for them. But now? Not a chance. They broke it, they can try fixing it. It's their responsability, not ours.