Thursday, July 24, 2003

Very different views: How different? Contrast the WaPo's take on Paul Wolfowitz's "report card" with Andrew Sullivan's. The Post:
Paul D. Wolfowitz, briefing reporters after a 41/2-day trip to Iraq, said that in postwar planning, defense officials made three assumptions that "turned out to underestimate the problem," beginning with the belief that removing Saddam Hussein from power would also remove the threat posed by his Baath Party. In addition, they erred in assuming that significant numbers of Iraqi army units, and large numbers of Iraqi police, would quickly join the U.S. military and its civilian partners in rebuilding Iraq, he said.
The article continues, reporting "tension," "chaos," and charges of political patronage and inter-administration feuds. Yikes! Sure, they give some space to Wolfie explaining how unpredictable war and occupation can be.
"There's been a lot of talk that there was no plan," Wolfowitz said yesterday. "There was a plan, but as any military officer can tell you, no plan survives first contact with reality."
We're not stupid, just helpless. Sullivan, though, digs up this quote from the Dep. Sec.:
The entire south and north are impressively stable, and the center is getting better day-by-day. The public food distribution is up and running. There is no food crisis. I might point out we planned for a food crisis; fortunately, there isn't one. Hospitals nationwide are open. Doctors and nurses are at work. Medical supply convoys are escorted to and from the warehouses. We planned for a health crisis; there isn't one. Oil production has passed the 1 million barrels per day mark. We planned for the possibility of massive destruction of this resource of the Iraqi people; we didn't have to do it.
The school year has been salvaged. Schools nationwide have reopened and final exams are complete. There are local town councils in most major cities and major districts of Baghdad, and they are functioning free from Ba'athist influence.
Doesn't sound like the same occupation, or the same report. Different sides find justification for their stance. Just the admin. allowing room for "diversity," I guess.

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