(continued from the previous post)
Some of my doubts are, purely and simply, doubts about this administration. I find it astonishing that Bush and his lieutenants are not willing to offer a sober calculation of the long-term costs of this war, factor those costs into the nation's budget and ask Americans to pay the price. [Ed: How seriously should we take Bush's drive to war if he won't specify what he thinks the costs should be, and propose a concrete means of paying for it? And need I add that this time the US is likely to pick up much more of the tab, when you factor in our
bribes inducements to allies such as Turkey.] Instead, they would shuck off the costs to the next generation.
Their failure to count the costs can only make you wonder about how committed they are to what will be an arduous struggle to pacify and democratize Iraq. This is why it matters that we have allies, including, eventually, those obstreperous French and Germans. We are unlikely to want to do the job of rebuilding Iraq all by ourselves, or with the British alone.
God bless the Czechs and the Poles, the Portuguese, the Spanish, the Estonians and other Europeans standing with us. But it is unrealistic to think that these nations will be in a position to offer serious help, financial or military, in the postwar work of transforming Iraq.
It's easy to trash the French and the Germans. But the leaders of Germany and France are only following European public opinion. Even if you think that Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder are being opportunistic, you wonder how much the Bush administration created the opportunity they are exploiting by conditioning public opinion against us. Would we be in this fix -- would millions of demonstrators have poured into European streets -- if the Bush administration had not been so publicly indifferent to European views on issues ranging from global warming to the International Criminal Court? [Ed: And this attitude, however frustrating to the Administration, makes Rumsfeld's "old Europe" gaffe an even more serious blunder.]
Yet like so many of my fellow doubters, I find it hard to be a wholehearted supporter of the antiwar movement. Some in its ranks harbor reflexive anti-Israel sentiments that I find repellent, even though I am no supporter of Ariel Sharon. For all my misgivings about Bush, I find it absurd to call him a greater threat than Hussein, as some in the antiwar movement do. [Ed: And for the record, doubts about Bush's honesty hardly equate to blind faith in Saddam's.]
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