Tuesday, December 16, 2003

On the New York Times op-ed page today, one Claudia Rosett, identified as a "senior fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies", explains that the Pentagon's list of countries whose corporations can bid on Iraq reconstructions contracts was never meant to be punitive at all:

First, it is wrong of critics to frame inclusion on the list as a "reward" to our allies, or to say that countries left off it, like Russia, France and Germany, are being "punished." Taxpayer-financed contracts should never be doled out as a reward — that is precisely the kind of mind-set the United States needs to be trying to banish from Iraq, where the previous regime operated entirely ran on patronage.

Rather, the list is predicated on deciding which countries can best be trusted to oversee huge rebuilding contracts in ways that square with the American goal of promoting a stable, free Iraq.

An explanation at last! Companies from Micronesia, Palau, and Togo, all on the Pentagon list, can be trusted to oversee the contracts -- due, no doubt, to their experience in managing large contracting projects, which you just can't find in relative backwaters like Germany and France.

Or something like that. Rosett's actual argument in fact ignores what the countries could actually do to oversee the contracts almost completely -- how could it not? Instead, she goes on in Den Bestian mode about how France, Germany, and Russia don't share the American agenda and aren't serious about the war on terror, ignoring the contributions that they have made toward fight against real terror, al Qaeda, on other fronts, including troops on the ground. She might as well have gone with the might of Micronesian industry; it would make no less sense...


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