Well, Friedman’s Back To Normal

Or, Department of Welcome to the Party:

In Iraq, and in Palestine, when Saddam and Yasir Arafat toppled over like walls, their disappearances did not leave behind civil societies yearning to be free, united and democratic. Saddam and Arafat were products of their societies more than we want to admit – not artificial impositions.

In the long run their departures are huge opportunities. But in the short run they have left behind two pots that are boiling over – two highly tribalized societies, full of pent-up problems, with few civil society institutions or consensus leaders. They left behind two huge rebuilding challenges. The Bush team helped remove the lids off both these pots. But the first rule of cooking and warfare is: Never take the lid off a boiling pot unless you also have a strategy for turning down the heat. President Bush had a lid-removing strategy only. He’s been improvising on the heat part ever since.

Improv time is over. This is crunch time. Iraq will be won or lost in the next few months. But it won’t be won with high rhetoric. It will be won on the ground in a war over the last mile.

Improv time is OVER? NOW? What, did the 1,000th American casualty end improv time officially? It was okay to improvise so long as we were only killing the brown and be-turbaned? So long as it looked like we might be able to claim some kind of victory? Improv would have been okay if it had all worked out to America’s satisfaction? I’m sorry, but was there a bell of some kind signifying that practice was over? If so, somebody really should tell the Iraqis that so sorry, we’ve just been trying this thing out, and we’re ready to send in the varsity now. I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to hear we’ve set some kind of limit on our incompetence.

Jesus H. Donkey Balls. Anybody with half a brain knew this administration didn’t have a post-war plan, didn’t think it needed a post-war plan, and intended “improv time” as the indefinite period after we knocked off a third world dictator but before we got the hell out of Dodge. Plenty of people were raising holy living hell about the lack of planning this administration was doing for its war, the lack of care that went into examining the history of this country and its position in the region, to say nothing of the unbelievable hyping of its threat to us. The administration’s response was to shrug and give the finger to anybody who questioned their rationale. But that was okay with Tommy and his like-minded brethren at the Times, who were perfectly content to sit back and see where this whole big improvised war went. After all, it wasn’t their skin in the game.

Go back on vacation, Tommykins. You’re making my head hurt.

A.