A beautiful piece of writing by Thomas Friedman (of World is Flat fame). The piece is modelled as a letter from George Dubya to the Iraqi government. It starts off very provocatively –
Dear Sirs, I am writing you on a matter of grave importance. It’s hard for me to express to you how deep the economic crisis in America is today. We are discussing a $1 trillion bailout for our troubled banking system. This is a financial 9/11. As Americans lose their homes and sink into debt, they no longer understand why we are spending $1 billion a day to make Iraqis feel more secure in their homes.
In the wake of current economic downturns in the American economy, the US government really needs to introspect on its World Policing policies. The op ed becomes even more detailed and scathing as it proceeds criticizing the Bush govt. The beauty of this piece is in the writing (note that I am not endorsing nor opposing the views of the author). It is as though, Bush is introspecting and writing the letter. Check the following paragraphs out –
Don’t misunderstand me. Many Americans and me are relieved by the way you, the Iraqi people and Army have pulled back from your own brink of self-destruction. I originally launched this war in pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. I was wrong. But it quickly became apparent that Al Qaeda and its allies in Iraq were determined to make America fail in any attempt to build a decent Iraq …..
Al Qaeda understood that if it could defeat America in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world, that it would resonate throughout the region and put Al Qaeda and its allies in the ascendant. Conversely, we understood that if we could defeat Al Qaeda in Iraq, in collaboration with other Arabs and Muslims, that it would resonate throughout the region and pay dividends ….
And in one paragraph, Friedman summarizes the policitcal situation in Iraq.
You Shiites have got to bring the Sunni tribes and Awakening groups, who fought the war against Al Qaeda of Iraq, into the government and Army. You Kurds have got to find a solution for Kirkuk and accept greater integration into the Iraqi state system, while maintaining your autonomy. You Sunnis in government have got to agree to elections so the newly emergent Sunni tribal and Awakening groups are able to run for office and become “institutionalized” into the Iraqi system. ….
Our ambassador, Ryan Crocker, has told me your problem: Iraqi Shiites are still afraid of the past, Iraqi Sunnis are still afraid of the future and Iraqi Kurds are still afraid of both.
And the piece concludes with a very sombre note by summarizing the current American sentiment.
Well, you want to see fear. Look in the eyes of Americans who are seeing their savings wiped out, their companies disappear, their homes foreclosed. We are a different country today. After a decade of the world being afraid of too much American power, it is now going to be treated to a world of too little American power, as we turn inward to get our house back in order.
Beautiful written. Kudos to you, Mr Friedman. I read your book (World is Flat), but I was only partially satisfied/impressed. This article proved your mettle (for me).
Read the full article here.
[NYtimes might require you to register free – do it, I think it is worth it!].