FRIENDS AND ALLIES….Hussein Ibish has an op-ed in the LA Times today in which he claims that Lt. Gen. Jay Garner is singularly unsuited to running postwar Iraq because he’s too overtly pro-Israel. I don’t know if his argument holds water, but a couple of paragraphs in his piece made me shake my head:

The management of the port of Umm al Qasr, one of the few places in Iraq under complete Western control, has produced a split between British and American authorities. The British view is that the Iraqi manager, who has been in his position for years, is capable of doing the job. Our government insisted, however, in providing a lucrative contract to run the port to Stevedoring Services of Seattle.

Australia has expressed concern that its existing wheat contracts with Iraq will be transferred to U.S. interests.

This appears to be the pattern set for most such arrangements in Iraq, with not only allies, the United Nations and major nongovernmental organizations frozen out of the process but with local Iraqis as well, in favor of American corporations.

This is now the second time I’ve read something like this, and it just doesn’t make sense. Even if you agree that we should punish everyone in the world who didn’t support us in the war, shouldn’t we be going out of our way to pay close attention to those who sent troops to fight by our side? The Bush administration should be bending over backwards to demonstrate that good things happen when you’re a U.S. ally, but instead they seem to be engaging in the same highhanded behavior that’s been their trademark all along.

Punishing France for its opposition might be childish and shortsighted, but punishing Britain and Australia is just perverse. What are these guys thinking?