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NYTimes.com Article: Scorecard for the War
by tganesh
26 March 2003 20:45 UTC
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This article from NYTimes.com 
has been sent to you by tganesh@stlawu.edu.

Friedman's summary of the criteria for US victory in Iraq are perhaps too 
summary.  They exclude long-term effects.  They exclude what major newspapers 
like the Guardian have come to accept as the ineluctable decline of US 
hegemony.  MS.


Scorecard for the War

March 26, 2003


I was in a restaurant at Chicago's O'Hare Airport on
Sunday, and it had an NCAA basketball game playing on the
TV at one end of the bar and the Iraq war on the other.
Most people were watching the basketball game - probably
because it's so much easier to keep score. How will we know
if we are winning in Iraq? Here are six things I am
watching for: 

(1) Have we occupied Baghdad - without leveling the whole
city? This war is not being fought simply to disarm the
regime of Saddam Hussein. It is being fought to replace
that regime with a decent, accountable Iraqi government.
That is the real prize here, because only such a government
can stabilize Iraq and ensure that another Saddam-like
general does not emerge. That can't even begin to happen
until the capital has been taken by U.S. and British

(2) Have we killed, captured or expelled Saddam? President
Bush keeps saying that this war is not against one man.
Nonsense. We have been chasing one man in Iraq for 12
years, and it is essential that he be eliminated because
until and unless he is, Iraqis will never express what they
really think and feel. Indeed, average Iraqis will not even
know what they really feel until the dictator who has run
their lives with an iron fist for more than 30 years is
removed and they are certain that he is not coming back.
(Do not rule out, even now, an Arab-brokered deal for
Saddam to leave peacefully.) 

(3) Have we been able to explain why some Iraqi forces are
putting up such a fierce fight? Are these the most elite,
pampered Special Republican Guard units, who have benefited
most from Saddam's rule and are therefore willing to fight
to preserve it? Or are these primarily Sunni Muslim units,
terrified that with the fall of Saddam the long reign of
the Sunnis of Iraq will end and they will be replaced by
the Shiite majority? Or is this happening because even
Iraqis who detest Saddam love their homeland and hate the
idea of a U.S. occupation - and these Iraqis are ready to
resist a foreign occupier, even one that claims to be a
liberator? Knowing the answer is critical for how we
reconstruct Iraq. It is not at all unusual for Arabs to
detest both their own dictator and a foreign occupier. (See
encyclopedia for Israel, invasion of Lebanon, 1982.) 

(4) Have we won this war and preserved the territorial
integrity of Iraq? We can't rebuild Iraq if we can't hold
it together. Both the Kurds and the Turks would like to
bite off part of northern Iraq. The Bush team claims to be
committed to preserving Iraq's unity, in which case it had
better tell both the Turks and the Kurds: "Which part of
`no' don't you understand? You Turks are not coming in, and
you Kurds are not breaking away." 

(5) Has an authentic Iraqi liberal nationalist emerged from
the U.S. occupation to lead the country? Some pundits are
already nominating their favorite Iraqi opposition figures
to be Iraq's next leader. My gut tells me the only person
who is going to be able to rule Iraq effectively is someone
who has lived through Saddam's reign, not sat it out in
London or Washington, and who is ready to say no to both
tyranny and foreign control in Iraq. But even if he is an
Iraqi exile, the next leader of Iraq has to emerge through
some sort of consensual process from within Iraq. If the
Bush team intends to force Iraq's next leader to quickly
embrace Israel, if it intends to impose someone who has
been dining with Richard Perle, such a leader will never
take root. 

(6) Is the Iraqi state that emerges from this war accepted
as legitimate by Iraq's Arab and Muslim neighbors? That is
very important, both for the viability of whatever Iraqi
leadership follows Saddam, and for the liberalizing effect
it may have on others in the neighborhood. In the absence
of any U.N. endorsement for this war, the successor regime
to Saddam will have to legitimize itself by becoming
something that Arabs and Muslims will point to and say, "We
don't like how this was done, but we have to admit America
helped build something better in our neighborhood." This
outcome is crucial. 

If you see these things happening, you'll know that the
political ends for which this war was launched are being
achieved. If you don't, you'll know we're lost in a

Mr. Friedman has been working on a documentary entitled
"Searching for the Roots of 9/11" for The New York Times
and the Discovery Channel. It will be broadcast tonight on
the Discovery Channel at 10, Eastern time.


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