The Post-War Battle Begins

As the war in Iraq appears to wind down, the battle over postwar reconstruction is underway. This Washington Post article sums it up pretty well. There are three positions here; the President has designated the Defense Department to be principally in charge of post-war activities; Congressional Democrats, combined with enough Republicans to tip the balance, at least for now, want the State Department to be in charge; and the usual suspects are pushing for the U.N. to play the decisive role. Thus, “While there is overwhelming support on Capitol Hill for the way Bush and Rumsfeld have conducted the war, the peacetime arrangements for Iraq outlined in Bush’s emergency spending package met with near universal rejection.”
The appalling Pat Leahy says: “We all admire the Department of Defense when they’re doing the things they’re best trained for.” But there is “no consensus” for allowing the Pentagon to handle the reconstruction effort, “and we’re the ones who have to come up with the money.”
And, worse yet: “France, Germany, Russia and China, Security Council members who opposed the U.S.-British war decision, all issued statements on Friday saying that the United Nations is the only legitimate authority for supervising the rebuilding of Iraq..”
This is the very beginning of a battle that will certainly last far longer, and may have more far-reaching consequences, than the war itself. Stay tuned.

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