OPED34 Mistakes along the way....

On the eve of military action against Iraq the United States finds itself with few allies by its side. The administration has singularly failed to rally many to its cause, and in fact has alienated many who would normally be predisposed to agree with its position. The alienation of so many has resulted not so much from weaknesses in the facts, as there are enough of these to justify action against Saddam. Rather it has been a result of the tactics, language, attitudes, and overreaching used by and exhibited by this administration. The root cause of this amazing 'achievement' has been the hubris exhibited by many in the administration, starting with President George Bush. Totally sure of the rectitude of their position they apparently believe that the correctness of their position is so totally evident that they admit of no other possibilities, and that any one who does not agree must be a fool or knave. Thus they have treated those who disagree as fools (e.g. the Turks who do not understand what is best for them) or as knaves (e.g. the French and their double-dealing), not exactly the best method for making friends or influencing people.

In sum, although starting with a strong hand and a world-wide reservoir of good wishes the administration has succeeded in frittering most of it away. However, the time for war appears to have arrived.... It is to be hoped that a fairly quick victory will be followed by the post-Saddam reconstruction of Iraq, and that the rifts between the U.S. and many of its natural allies will be healed.

© SNi 03/16/03