Pentagon Crowd “we know everything and everyone else is stupid”

o one can say with any certainty who was behind the bombings at the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad and the Shiite holy place in Najaf, but here is what you can say about them: They are incredibly sick and incredibly smart.

With one bomb at the U.N. office, they sent a warning to every country that is considering joining the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq: Even the U.N. is not safe here, so your troops surely won’t be. They also stoked some vicious finger-pointing within the Western alliance. And with the bomb Friday in Najaf, they may have threatened the most pleasant surprise about post-Saddam Hussein Iraq: the absence of bloodletting between the three main ethnic groups — Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. After the Najaf bombing, Shiites started blaming Sunnis, and Shiites started blaming each other.

If you think we don’t have enough troops in Iraq now — which we don’t — wait and see if the factions there start going at each other. America would have to bring back the draft to deploy enough troops to separate the parties. In short, we are at a dangerous moment in Iraq. We cannot let sectarian violence explode. We cannot go on trying to do this on the cheap. And we cannot succeed without more Iraqi and allied input.

But the White House and Pentagon have been proceeding as if it’s business as usual. It is no wonder that some of the people closest to what is happening are no longer sitting quiet. The gutsy Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, acting on his own, told reporters last week that the U.S. would consider a new U.N. resolution that would put U.S. forces in Iraq under U.N. authority — which is the precondition for key allies to send troops. And Paul Bremer, who oversees Iraq’s reconstruction, told The Washington Post that it was going to cost “several tens of billions” to rebuild Iraq. Both men were telling the American people truths that should have come from the White House.

NY Times


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