There's something wrong about the Bush administration's preliminary benchmarks report
on Iraq. Can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe it's the surprising hint of honesty within the report that's confusing. ... Iraq Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, who I'm beginning to admire, is more blunt: “The challenges here at every level remain just huge.” ... One suspects the Iraqi-government benchmarks will never be met. Which brings me to a book I just read: Barbara Tuchman's 'Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-1945.'
Stilwell, Roosevelt, Mountbatten, Marshall et gang all banged their heads against a wall trying to get Chiang Kai-shek to accept and meet benchmarks, change policies and implement reforms. When Marshall launched a last-ditch diplomatic mission to salvage a China on the brink of civil war, Stilwell wrote, 'We ought to get out - now
.' I know, I know: The Worst Historical Analogies Ever War. I'm guilty of it too. But you gotta admit no one else has brought up Chiang Kai-shek and the Chinese civil war. It's a novelty! ... I'm still willing to wait for the September report by Crocker and Gen. David H. Petraeus. I know where this is all headed. But I want to give them a chance and hear them out. ...