Monday, April 14, 2003

The deconstruction of the toppling-statue moment proceeds apace; it seems that at least one of the small crowd of Iraqis who pulled down that statue right in front of the press hotel -- in a square guarded by four American tanks -- was apparently also in the crowd of the Pentagon's pet Iraqi exiles which they flew into the north a few days earlier. Odd, that.

But the moment means more than just goodwill. It means money:

"We are going to pressure all of our friends and allies to contribute as much as they can," Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz told the Armed Services Committee. Offers of military and financial help are already coming, Wolfowitz said, predicting a "larger coalition of the willing" for reconstruction than for the war.

Pressed on specifics by Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), however, Wolfowitz cited none. "So far, we're still in the early stages of that," he said. "I think some people were, frankly, a bit taken by surprise by the images they saw on television [on Wednesday]."


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