Monday, August 27, 2007

The MacArthur Lunch

Published: August 27, 2007

United Nations


Zalmay Khalilzad, the American ambassador to the United Nations, is a twinkle-eyed hawk. The defeat of Soviet imperialism in Afghanistan, the unfinished business of the 1991 Persian Gulf war and his own liberating odyssey from an Afghan childhood to the University of Chicago convinced him the world needs the transformational power of the United States.

Since 9/11, he has fared better than most of the Bush brigade. As a Beirut-educated, Farsi-speaking Sunni Muslim, he actually has a clue about the Islamic world. He was prepared to sip tea rather than set edicts.

In his shepherding of Hamid Karzai to power in Kabul, his forging of Sunni cooperation now bearing fruit in Iraq’s Anbar Province, and in his recent prodding of the U.N. to a fuller Iraqi role, “Zal,” as he’s known, has suggested shrewdness explains the twinkle.

So, as the September storm clouds gather over America-in-Iraq, I was intrigued to find Zal looking back in anguish. President Bush now alludes to “the mistakes that have been made,” but is unspecific. There’s such an array, everyone has a favorite: a nonexistent casus belli, skimpy troop levels, the end of the Iraqi army, aberrant planning.

Khalilzad’s anguish centers on May 6, 2003. That’s the day he expected Bush to announce his return to Iraq to convene a grand assembly — something like an Afghan loya jirga — that would fast-forward a provisional Iraqi government.

Instead, the appointment of L. Paul Bremer III to head a Coalition Provisional Authority was announced. Khalilzad, incredulous, went elsewhere. In the place of an Afghan-American Muslim on a mission to empower Iraqis, we got the former ambassador to the Netherlands for a one-year proconsul gig.


“We had cleared both announcements, with Bremer to run things and me to convene the loya jirga, both as presidential envoys,” Khalilzad told me. “We were just playing with a few final words. Then the game plan suddenly changed: we would run the country ourselves.”

Alluding to former Secretary of State Colin Powell and his successor, Condoleezza Rice, who was then national security adviser, Khalilzad continued: “Powell and Condi were incredulous. Powell called me and asked: ‘What happened?’ And I said, ‘You’re secretary of state and you’re asking me what happened!’ ”

Powell confirmed his astonishment. “The plan was for Zal to go back,” he said. “He was the one guy who knew this place better than anyone. I thought this was part of the deal with Bremer. But with no discussion, no debate, things changed. I was stunned.”

The volte-face came at a Bush- Bremer lunch that day where Bremer made a unity of command argument to the Decider. “I put it very directly to the president: you can’t have two presidential envoys running around Iraq,” Bremer told me.

A MacArthur-Karzai debate had raged within the administration for months: should the United States run Iraq like Gen. Douglas MacArthur in postwar Japan or seek a local Karzai-like leader and operate behind the scenes?

Bremer still believes the MacArthur route was imperative. An exile-dominated Iraqi government would have had no legitimacy or competence. Nor would it have changed the legal fact of the U.S. occupation.

“The way we did it gave Iraqis the best chance of a sustainable political process,” he argued.

Nonsense, Khalilzad believes. “I feel strongly that the U.S. ruling was wrong. We could have had an interim Iraqi government. I argued, based on Afghanistan, that with forces, diplomacy and money, nothing can happen anyway without your support.”

Powell agrees. “Everything was Bremer, the suit, the boots, the whole nine yards.” It was a mistake not to move “more rapidly to putting an Iraqi face on it.”

Khalilzad and Powell are right. The insurgency that took hold after Bremer’s arrival had a clear target: the guy in Timberlands. Given the extent of its post-cold-war power, the United States must wield it with subtlety. This was the sledgehammer approach.

And chosen over lunch. “Unfortunately, yes, the way that decision was taken was typical,” Powell said. “Done! No full deliberations. And you suddenly discover, gee, maybe that wasn’t so great, we should have thought about it a little longer.”

Do such mistakes redouble American responsibility in Iraq or demonstrate the hopelessness of the task? I say the former. The little miracle of Khalilzad’s free-thinking life is just one example of the positive transformations this country can fashion when resolve and coordination shape policy, not precipitous whim.

You are invited to comment at my blog: www.iht.com/passages.




10 comments:

Jerry said...

cheap wedding gowns,
discount bridal gowns,
China wedding dresses,
discount designer wedding dresses,
China wedding online store,
plus size wedding dresses,
cheap informal wedding dresses,
junior bridesmaid dresses,
cheap bridesmaid dresses,
maternity bridesmaid dresses,
discount flower girl gowns,
cheap prom dresses,
party dresses,
evening dresses,
mother of the bride dresses,
special occasion dresses,
cheap quinceanera dresses,
hot red wedding dresses

Anonymous said...

Replica Handbags
Fake Handbags
Knockoff Handbags

Replica Louis Vuitton Handbags
Replica Gucci Handbags
Replica Chanel Handbags
Prada Handbags
Replica Fendi Handbags
Replica Dolce Gabbana Handbags
Replica Chloe Handbags
Replica Jimmy Choo Handbags
Replica Thomas Wylde Handbags
Replica MiuMiu Handbags

Replica Balenciaga Handbags
Replica Coach Handbags
Replica Lancel Handbags
Replica Hermes Handbags
Replica Marc Jacobs Handbags
Replica Anya Hindmarch Handbags
Replica YSL Handbags
Replica Mulberry Handbags
Replica Givenchy Handbags
Replica Valentino Handbags
Replica Versace Handbags
Replica Cartier Handbags
Replica Marni Handbags
Replica Bottega Veneta Handbags
Replica Loewe Handbags
Replica Kooba Handbags

Replica Bally Handbags
Replica Burberry Handbags
Replica Christian Dior Handbags
Replica Juicy Couture Handbags
Replica Ferragamo Handbags
Replica Celine Handbags

Adi said...

Get the lates information of Electronics Gadgets Tech gadgets Cool Gadgets New Gadgets Best Gadgets Latest Gadgets Cool New Gadgets

Adi said...

Oes Tsetnoc one of the ways in which we can learn seo besides Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa. By participating in the Oes Tsetnoc or Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa we can improve our seo skills. To find more information about Oest Tsetnoc please visit my Oes Tsetnoc pages. And to find more information about Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa please visit my Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa pages. Thank you So much.
Oes Tsetnoc | Semangat Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa

Anonymous said...

budget-priced bed and breakfast
[url=http://vimeo.com/user4498961]cheap hotels in pattaya
[/url]orange county casing
piquant bed deals
south coast facility
[url=http://www.earthday.org/users/48490]hotels in nyc cheap
[/url]cheapest hotels
inn booking servicing
from tight-fisted
[url=http://www.fairview.org/cty/members/klemot/default.aspx]hot price hotels
[/url]inexpensive hotels in newyork
open quarters
search breakfast prices
[url=http://www.youthcabinet.org/profile/Josh]classic street hotel
[/url]niggardly ps2
bed and breakfast gratis
kuwait airways online booking
[url=http://www.beautyresearch.com/blogs/alexa/archive/2010/08/15/hotels-and-accomodations.aspx]charles hotel
[/url]come up with hostels
below cost breakfast
sense hotel deals
[url=http://www.mazdacommunity.com/profiles/blogs/special-hotel-offers-or]1800 hotels
[/url]tuppence bangkok hotels
seedy california houses
what is in short supply economy stock

Anonymous said...

breakfast opera
[url=http://vimeo.com/user4498961]cheap budget hotels
[/url]segment eight dwelling
buying a low-cost strain
daylesford change
[url=http://www.earthday.org/users/48490]hotel montmartre
[/url]best hotels of the world
affordable favour
establish a accommodate tatty
[url=http://www.fairview.org/cty/members/klemot/default.aspx]flight and hotel prices
[/url]buy on hotels
for peanuts rating hotels
travel hotel low-cost
[url=http://www.youthcabinet.org/profile/Josh]reserve hotel room
[/url]opera motor hotel
base ample houses
reward inn booking usage
[url=http://www.beautyresearch.com/blogs/alexa/archive/2010/08/15/hotels-and-accomodations.aspx]hotel cafe
[/url]packages deals
chaste deals hotels
breakfast planned
[url=http://www.mazdacommunity.com/profiles/blogs/special-hotel-offers-or]cheap brighton hotels
[/url]weekend accommodation
hotels online booking
catch sight of chintzy lodging

Anonymous said...

ucr shield
prices for hotels
satisfaction lodgings
hotels motels
shipment
cheap hotel motel
booking of hotel
economy prestige q
sleazy lodging packages
flight and hotel prices
inferior house siren
tinpot bed and breakfast
hostel cut-price
jamaica hotel prices
cheap hotels niagara
special deals on hotels
uga lodgings
hotels the
for twopence caravanserai
hotel booking engines
gala facility
cheap singapore hotels
staunch flights
model tick breakfast
become abusive booking

dfadf said...

Microsoft Office
Office 2010
Microsoft Office 2010
Office 2010 key
Office 2010 download
Office 2010 Professional
Microsoft outlook
Outlook 2010
Windows 7
Microsoft outlook 2010

Anonymous said...

Thanks :)
--
http://www.miriadafilms.ru/ купить фильмы
для сайта screwsubwalls.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Почему регистрация не работает ?
--
http://pesennet.ru/ песни