Wednesday, November 26, 2003


A sober piece on the lack of response by much of the world to the war that has been foist upon us.

Good piece, read it all.
Unfortunately, this isn't a ghoulish exercise in game theory but an analogy to what has happened over the past few months as the war in Iraq has become more deadly and more international. The logic of uniting to fight a common enemy could not be clearer, yet the political discord continues.

Last weekend it was British bankers and diplomats in Istanbul who were attacked, along with Turks who happened to be nearby. The toll of dead and wounded reached nearly 500. The previous week it was two synagogues in Istanbul, where six Jews and 19 Muslims were killed and more than 300 wounded. The week before, it was 19 Italian troops who were keeping peace in central Iraq; before that, it was a Polish officer in the United Nations-mandated multinational force.

The U.N. headquarters in Baghdad has been bombed twice. The International Committee for the Red Cross has been bombed. It seems the potential target list includes anyone who is trying to help the Iraqi people. And still the international community quarrels or looks the other way...

A traveler in Iraq two months ago could still find Iraqi children in many towns running alongside U.S. military convoys and waving to the soldiers. But someone has recently been spray-painting warnings in Baghdad: "The hand that waves to the soldiers will be cut off."

It's a war, and a diabolically vicious one. And yet the world so far has mostly stood on the sidelines and watched, muttering about how the Bush administration brought the disaster upon itself by invading Iraq in March.

The French, for example, have talked vaguely about helping train Iraqi police, but have done nothing concrete. They insist on transferring sovereignty to Iraq in five weeks, a political timetable that many experts (especially Iraqis) regard as dangerously unrealistic. The more the United States moves toward French proposals, the more standoffish the French become. They won't take "oui" for an answer...

The world needs to look at terrorist roulette for what it is -- a threat to everyone. Historians can debate whether the Bush administration blundered in invading Iraq. But right now, that truly isn't the issue. Tomorrow or the next day, another player in this game will be taken out and shot. The world needs to unite and stop the killers now, and worry about assigning blame later.

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