A HINT OF CANDOR….Here’s an interesting contrast. Listen to British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw talking about events in Iraq:
Mr Straw said “the lid of the pressure cooker has come off,” but he blamed events on the Saddam regime’s legacy.
“Some of the tensions and pressures which were there, and would have come out in any event, have to a degree been directed towards the coalition.”
Mr Straw was asked on BBC Radio 4’s The World at One programme whether he imagined a year ago that things would get as bad in Iraq as they have been over the last week.
“No I didn’t. I thought that they would go from some good days and some bad days. There is no doubt that the current situation is very serious and it is the most serious that we have faced.”
Don’t get me wrong: it’s not like Tony Blair and his crew went out of their way to tell everyone what it would really take to succeed in Iraq. On the other hand, neither did they go out of their way to minimize it, and they seem at least willing to publicly admit that (a) the current uprising in Iraq is really bad and (b) it’s worse than they expected. Note that this is not inconsistent with staying the course, which Straw vigorously endorsed in the same interview.
I wish we could get at least this same minimal level of candor from top U.S. officials. Perhaps Blair will recommend it to Bush when they meet next Friday.