FROM one end of Iraq to the other, that country's people scream
to us in agony and reproach. President Bush had given them ample
reason to believe that the United States would welcome a challenge
to Saddam Hussein's dictatorship. His frequent use of the "Hitler"
analogy implied that. And by last February, Mr. Bush was openly
calling on the Iraqis to topple their regime.
But when a majority of Iraq's 16 million citizens tried to do
just that, our president turned a blind eye as Saddam sent his
helicopter gunships to drown their rebellions in blood.
The administration's betrayal of the Iraqi people is much more
serious than mere "business as usual" in the annals of diplomacy.
Remember, we are standing at the dawn of the uncharted post-cold-war
era in global politics. So what principles will be guiding the
world's nations in what Bush likes to call the "new world order"?
Will we have a reliance on collective security, international law,
and respect for everyone's human rights - or just a return to the
old law of the jungle: Might makes right?
Since last fall, Bush has made the whole structure of world
politics dangerously dependent on his own personal preference.
Within the United Nations coalition that he had put together, he
arrogated to the US a disproportionate power to make the crucial
military decisions. And within the US, he exercised presidential
power to its unilateral utmost as he led us into and through the
war. His circle of advisers was small. And by tipping his hand
early in favor of war, Bush virtually ensured that advisers would not
bother him with opposing points of view. (The contrast with
President Kennedy's leadership during the Cuban missile crisis has
Now we are stuck with what some military people describe as "the
annoying untidiness in Iraq and Kuwait." There, and elsewhere in the
Middle East, I hear a discomforting swish of wings as some the US's
Mideastern chickens come home to roost.
The cardinal sin in the Gulf crisis has been the shocking
disproportion between the planning that went into the military
aspects of the war and the planning for its politics. Folks in the
Pentagon often quote Clausewitz. But none took to heart that
military theoretician's most famous dictum: "War is an extension of
politics by other means."
From August until the battlefield victory in late February, our
military planners worked round the clock fine-tuning their
preparations for war. …