Sunday, September 24, 2006

Nodding their heads and voting with their feet

Rumsfeld on why it’s entirely coincidental that the current civil war in Iraq followed the American invasion and occupation: “Now, we talk about the violence that’s going on in that country, and there is violence in that country; let there be no doubt....” Was someone doubting that? “...But there was violence before. I mean, there are -- hundred thousands of people are in mass graves all over that country. Saddam Hussein gassed the Kurds, his own people, as well as his neighbors. So violence is not something that’s new to Iraq. Indeed, it’s a pattern in that country.” A pattern. He makes it sound like wallpaper. I’m not sure what sort of a “pattern” it is that encompasses both the repressive violence of a dictator and a sectarian civil war. They seem to me to be quite distinctive phenomena, having in common only a “pattern” of a high body count. Or possibly he’s saying Iraqis are just inherently violent.

Rummy adds that the war won’t be won militarily (on that much we can agree), but on the “political front and the governance front... when people say, ‘Okay, it’s going to make it,’ and they start nodding their heads, and they vote with their feet, and the economic circumstance improves.” I’m a little unclear on whether they’ll be nodding their heads at the same time as they vote with their feet, or they’ll nod and then voting with their feet, but I’ll definitely keep an eye out for the nodding and the foot-voting.

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