Thursday, December 18, 2003


I can still hear the ringing in my ears as the Europress, the New York Times, and the Washington Post screamed about President Bush's "bullheaded" decision to restrict prime contract bidding in Iraq to those countries that were part of the coalition. That the President would then send Jim Baker to ask these same countries to forgive Saddamite Iraqi debt represented stupidity of the worst order.

What do these pundits say now that France and Germany have both agreed to play ball (from the Washington Times lead editorial today)?:
The most revealing word in the New York Times' otherwise estimable article yesterday, reporting on Mr. Baker's success, was in the following sentence: "[the agreement] comes despite Washington's move to bar the two countries from bidding on ... contracts in Iraq." We would suggest that the word "despite" should more aptly have been replaced with "because of." In other words, the judicial use of American power tends to advance, not diminish, our interests. It is clear that Mr. Bush will continue to use our economic, military and diplomatic power. Much of next year's political debate will revolve around exactly that point: Is there efficacy in asserting our power, unilaterally if necessary, or should international consensus be a pre-condition for action? How news organizations answer that question will shape much of next year's journalistic coverage of the presidential contest.
Right on.

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