Thomas Friedman has written a lot of sense over Iraq in the NY Times and the International Herald Tribune.
I don’t like his use of the word appeasement in today’s edition (registration required) and I think he does swallow too much of the nonsense that has been written about the Spanish vote but putting that aside much of what he says is spot on.
First he has hard words for the Bushites: Regarding the Bush team, let me say yet again: We do not have enough troops in Iraq, and we never did. From the outset, the Bush Pentagon has treated Iraq as a lab test to prove that it can win a war with a small, mobile high-tech Army. Well, maybe you can defeat Saddam that way, but you can’t build a new Iraq — and control its borders to prevent foreign terrorists from coming in — with so few troops, especially when you disband the Iraqi Army on top of it.
Don’t tell me we have enough troops in Iraq when our soldiers are getting picked off daily by roadside bombs, when our aid workers are getting murdered and when Iraqis are getting massacred by suicide missions. Don’t tell me we are not fighting this war on the cheap when our diplomats in Baghdad don’t have enough armored cars, cellphones, bulletproof vests or escort troops to protect them as they try to travel around the country. We are now paying for the contradiction between Mr. Bush’s two great projects: his war on taxes and his war on terrorism.
Yes, we can still win this, but right now, despite Paul Bremer’s heroic success in helping Iraqis forge a progressive interim constitution, we can still lose it. If we do, it will be largely due to the Pentagon’s inability to secure Iraq, which has encouraged Iraqis to turn to sectarian militias for security, undermining nation-building and planting the seeds of civil war.
Then he criticises the failure of the administration to make the case for war in Europe and argues that the focus on WMD is the main reason for this failure. He also has a suggestion:
My dream is that the U.S., Britain, France, Germany and Spain announce tomorrow that in response to the Madrid bombing, they are sending a new joint force of 5,000 troops to Iraq for the sole purpose of protecting the U.N.’s return to Baghdad to oversee Iraq’s first democratic election.
This is close to what Emma Bonino is basically saying (see below). If we are to talk the language of messages surely this would be the best possible one to send?
(Thanks to George for pointing this out)