Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Opinion (Niall Ferguson): Don't go into Iran, George

Two vignettes that say much about the American way of war. First, two trigger-happy reservist pilots making a lethal attack on a British armoured convoy during the initial phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom, despite indications that their targets were, in fact, their own allies.

Second, agents of the Coalition Provisional Authority dishing out bundles of shrink-wrapped hundred dollar bills from the backs of trucks shortly before the handover of power to a transitional Iraqi government, despite the obvious risk that the money might end up in the hands of terrorists.

Friendly fire and money down the drain: it is very tempting to say that these two phrases sum up what has gone wrong in Iraq since 2003. The misdirected application of force has alienated not only the millions of Iraqis who initially welcomed the overthrow of the tyrant Saddam Hussein, but also the equally large number of people in this country who used to see the United States as Britain's natural ally.

At the same time, the misdirected expenditure of money has achieved little more than the transformation of a nasty but fundamentally weak rogue regime into a failed state that may yet spread sectarian slaughter across the entire Middle East.

Read the rest at the Daily Telegraph