Defining victory down, part 2 (Crossposted at CT)
In this post, I mentioned that I hadn’t seen any commentary from pro-war bloggers on reports that the US will spend no more on Iraqi infrastructure once the current allocation of $18 billion, most of which was diverted to military projects, is exhausted. Although there was lengthy discussion both here and at Crooked Timber, no one pointed to any examples of comments on the topic.
I said at the time I didn’t want to get into a “Silence of the Hawks” pointscoring exercise on this. As a general rule, no particular blogger is obliged to post on any particular topic. But I would have thought, if you made it your business to report regularly on Iraqi reconstruction, that such a report was worth covering or correcting.
The Winds of Change website gives a weekly report on Iraq, with a focus on reconstruction news. It appears to be a successor to Chrenkoff’s Good News from Iraq, though less relentlessly upbeat. This week’s report contains no mention of the end of reconstruction funding. In case the WOC editors missed it, the WP report is here.
Update Armed Liberal at WoC responds (graciously) to this provocation, calling the Administration’s decision “bizarre” and pointing to an earlier critique of the wiretapping policy. That still leaves the policy undefended, so I thought I’d try again.
Instapundit is usually quick to disseminate pro-Administration talking points (for example on wiretapping) and has posted regularly on Iraqi reconstruction. Only a month ago, Instapundit linked to an Austin Bay post headed (rather ironically in retrospect) The White House Finally Gets Serious About Iraqi Reconstruction. So, now that the nature of “seriousness” in the White House has become clear, does Glenn Reynolds support the cessation of reconstruction funding? Does anybody? End update
Oddly enough WOC links to a WP piece from October 2004 on the diversion of funds to military purposes with the revealing quote
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said in a written statement that the administration always knew that “reconstructing Iraq’s infrastructure would require enormous resources beyond what the Congress appropriated — after 30 years of neglect, decay and corruption.”
Whitman said the United States is working to ensure it is “not starting any project without finishing it.”
Presumably that statement does not apply to the big project of building a “peaceful and prosperous” Iraq.
Winds of Change has done a more reasonable job than many of presenting a case for war, but they’ve relied heavily on the assumption that the Administration is committed to the task of leaving Iraq, in its own words “peaceful and prosperous”. Now that the second of these goals has been abandoned, thereby undermining the first (which in any case looks further away than ever), I’d be interested to know if their views have changed.
A final note on all this is that Kim Beazley, has finally called for the withdrawal of Coalition troops from Iraq, arguing, correctly in my view, that their presence is doing more harm than good. Given Beazley’s extreme caution and love of all things military, he must really believe that the whole project is beyond any chance of redemption.