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31 October 2003

Rummie's memo

A Memo That Speaks Volumes is an opinion piece in the LA Times about the confidential memo from Sec. of Def. Donald Rumsfeld. Gideon Rose notes that critics focus on the bleak assessment of the Iraq situation vis-a-vis the "official" happy-talk, while Rummie's fans give him credit for his tough approach. But Rose says they both miss the point; tough or not, Rumsfeld et. al.'s prescriptions will not work. The thing that no one gets in the Bush administration, whether they talk tough or spin it happy, is that "coercion and manipulation" will not "win hearts and minds". It didn't work in Vietnam and it is not going to work anywhere in the world today. Only when people are offered an alternative to weak or oppressive governments will they side with their "rescuers".
(By the way, I notice that this editorial makes a lot of the same points as Paul Krugman's, cited below. Is nobody listening?)

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