'It would be better if any future despot ...':
Stumbled across two great articles in The Times of London, for those trying to sort out the mess resulting from last week's bombing of the Shiite shrine in Iraq. The first
raises the prospect of a new Saddam 'strongman' emerging in Iraq -- with a still hopeful but realistic top U.S. official acknowledging the possibility. The second
looks into Al-Qaeda's possible game plan in Iraq and how the fanatical Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who loathes Shiites almost as much as he does Americans, is determined to turn Iraq into another Yugoslavia. He's doing a good job of it so far, unfortunately. (FYI: Plenty of chicken-before-the-egg speculative fodder for both the pro-war and anti-war camps in the second article. The author maintains Saddam did ally his regime with Al-Qaeda -- but only after the Taliban fell and Saddam knew he was next on the Americans' hit list.) ... Of course there's this article
on the fanatical Shiite clerics and militias mucking up any and all plans. ...
All of which brings me to William F. Buckley's assertion
that it's time to admit defeat. Even I, as a Wobbly Warrior, am not prepared to go there. Zalmay Khalilzad, the American ambassador in Iraq, is doing a remarkable job and may yet 'pull a rabbit out of a hat,' as one U.S. official now puts it in the first link. Yet it's clearly time to start managing all the setbacks and get back-up plans in place ASAP. But that would require planning -- something history shows this administration is not very good at. ...Update
-- Khalilzad seems to have pulled a rabbit out of the hat this weekend
by helping avoid an immediate outbreak of civil war. How many more rabbits does he have?