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Monday, June 21, 2004

Nuts, my time will be in short supply over the next two weeks so I'm going to take some time off from blogging and following news to focus on other things. Anyway, here are some thoughts about the new Hersh article and other various issues:

1.) The Kurds are going to be a thorn in the side of U.S. relations in the Middle East for years to come. The U.S. can barely support one Israel, let alone two (by that I mean states surrounded by largely antagonistic neighbors). It is not in the current or future interests of the United States to support a Kurdish state.

2.) As the article makes clear, the war in Iraq has made the situation worse for Israel. It has strengthened the Iranians in the region. It has sparked a wave of Shiite fundamentalism in Iraq that could be potentially damaging to Israeli interests. While Saddam was a threat, he wasn't religiously dedicated to the eradication of the state of Israel. His anti-Israel views sprang from his power lust. Now, with Iran's influence in Iraqi politics on the rise, the stage is set for a new generation of Iraqis who, for religious reasons, are opposed to Israel.

3.) One of the largest stumbling blocks in the path to democracy in Iraq is its almost complete reliance on oil revenues for its income. Oil-based economies are not known producers of democracies. For that matter, any country that has only one or two sources of wealth is in a precarious position. Unless Iraq implements a plan to diversify its economy, almost all attempts at establishing democracy are in peril. It is highly unfortunate that the Bush administration is expending little effort to sow the seeds of economic diversity in Iraq.

4.) The battle of documents continues. We began with the various books, now it's moved on to the 9/11 commission, and we suspect it won't end there. The Bush administration can't have it both ways -- if they're going to press for support on politically challenging policies, they'll need to show the evidence to prove that they're right. The issue of torture is not going away; as we learn more about what's going on in U.S. military prisons abroad we'll have to face the issue head-on: should the U.S. government support torture as a means of gathering intelligence? History tells us that in most cases torture is the wrong thing to do. We'll be paying attention to how this debate plays out in the U.S. My personal opinion is that torture is ineffective for gathering intelligence and should never be used, no matter what the situation may be. I have yet to see anything that would pursuade me otherwise.

5.) I can't wait until Hersh's book comes out. I hope that in the meantime he keeps writing articles for the New Yorker. It's nice to get some trustworthy information every once in awhile.

Andrew 1:30 PM : |


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