“Freedom is untidy. Free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things.” I wonder if he is talking about himself?
Bored With Baghdad — Already
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Last Wednesday two top U.S. generals in Iraq held a news conference in Baghdad’s half-wrecked convention center. The subject was deteriorating security and the two officers, Lt. Gen. David McKiernan and Maj. Gen. Buford Blount III, were pummeled by the press about why they weren’t doing more to make Baghdad safer. It was 102 degrees, and in the middle of the session all the lights went out. The two generals looked like they were enjoying this encounter about as much as a root canal. At one point General Blount, explaining why his men didn’t just shoot looters, said: “They were not threatening soldiers. They were just stealing something.”
Frankly, my heart went out to the generals, both of whom distinguished themselves in this war. First, they were stuck explaining U.S. policy in Baghdad, because Jay Garner’s hapless nation-building team rarely spoke to anyone, and his replacement, L. Paul Bremer, had just arrived.
But the generals were also miscast because they and their men are trained to kill people, not chase looters. Neither they nor their men want to be serving as the police, and they were not prepared to do that. They came to Baghdad with 1,800 military police officers. Saddam Hussein used 20,000 police officers to control this city of five million.New York Times