HOW ARE WE DOING IN IRAQ?….PART 2….I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but yesterday I argued that if you want to know how things are going in Iraq you should try to figure out what the administration itself thinks. To do that, you need to take a look at the administration’s own actions, and I think those actions indicate that they’re pretty worried.

This article in the New York Times today reminded me of that:

Under pressure from potential donors, the Bush administration will allow a new agency to determine how to spend billions of dollars in reconstruction assistance for Iraq, administration and international aid officials say.

….”We had to act because the international community was stonewalling us on aid,” said an administration official. According to the official, Mr. Bremer said, “‘I need the money so bad we have to move off our principled opposition to the international community being in charge.’”

Bremer already knows he’s going to get $20 billion from Congress, and the fact that he’s so desperate for even more money that he literally doesn’t care who controls it is telling. Just think of it as one more data point in watching what they do, not what they say.

UPDATE: Again, note that I’m not criticizing the Bush administration for changing gears here. That’s admirable, actually. But admirable or not, I think they must be feeling a real sense of emergency to be willing to give up control over donor money. In this case, actions speak louder than words.

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