木曜日, 1月 13, 2005

Pissed Off

I usually keep politics out of this blog (okay, I usually don't post on this blog), but today's Weatherhead sponsored-symposium on Iraq seriously ticked me off. I went mainly to hear Professor Rosen's views on how the war is going (as he was rather coy about it during class), but had to first sit through the Distinguished Professor Stanley Hoffman's views on the necessity of withdrawing from Iraq. And why the organizers chose a professor who'd emigrated from France to represent that view is beyond me: half the time, he raised my hackles just by playing the "wise European critic". I'd just watched a production of Hamlet last night, and this was more theatrical.

To be fair, Professor Hoffman's intellect is a sun to my asteroid. Even so, there's something disgusting about a man lauding France for withdrawing from the Indochina war--by handing the problem to the Americans. And then to dismiss the consequences of American withdrawal, to not even have the grace to say, "I regret the hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese who died or fled after the fall of Saigon, but..." He generously acknowledged that Saddam Hussein had massacred millions of Kurds and Shiites, but noted that those atrocities were in the past; by 2002, Iraq was just a normal dictatorship. Apparently, mass murder has an expiration date: after a decade (or less, if you have an Oil for Food program), a tyrant no longer has to answer for his crimes.

Rosen was very credible in his assessment, especially when he castigated the administration for taking a year to get around to creating a constabulatory force. He ended, though, with a request to proponents of U.S. withdrawal: consider the consequences. If we leave now, we abandon people who have supported us, who have revealed themselves as working for democracy, who will face horrible fates in an Iraq overrun by Iran and Syria.

Hoffman rather facetiously states that he is a scholar: it is not his job to come up with solutions. Well, he should come up with some on them before speaking so irresponsibly.