Thanks for your comments John.
I know nothing about ongoing situation in East Timor, though seem to remember discussing this right at the beginning of last year in Baghdadskies
about Kosovo and Bosnia.
The UN does what it can but all bureaucracies are inefficient and allow practices they would not do if hey were more efficient like (qualify!) well run businesses. Everyone inside these organisations knows they can blame someone else if something goes wrong. They refer to their "protocols" and "rules" and say, "We cannot see we have done anything wrong or could have done it a different way or could have prevented x,y,or z." Not many U.N. officials are indicted for incompetence or for turning a blind eye - vide. Rwana. I think the Sec. Gen. should have been sacked for that and had his pension taken away.
(1) You see what Galbraith is saying about the Kurds (he's the expert on them) - this seems to be the "get out", in the sense that the U.S. (after a decent interval...maybe 12-18 months depending on how the new Iraqi interim govt. gets on, shifts its forces into friendly territory, but still within Iraq (hence not seeming like a defeat).
This would be well signaled in advance, including the notion that from Iraqi Kurdistan they can protect Iraq as a nation from other nations (if required).
[10 May 04]
The problem with Galbraith's thesis is the U.S. is not too happy with a Shia state in the south with Barah as its capital because it assumes the irainans will take over and they don't want the Iranians in charge of the oil production and who gets the oil.
It could potentially turn into a revolutionary state within Iraq with hands being cut off and dissenters strung up in the football pitch.....
(2) Despite the horror felt round the world at the Abu Graib fiasco (I always said from 9 April 2003 onwards that the U.S. forces didn't appear to have officers directing things), we must see that the Americans are paranoid about threats to the U.S. (as well they might and anyone else might if they had suffered 9-11) and are willing to endure criticism of methods (vide. Guantanamo) (obviously since they have locked Iraqi in 1000s) to find out all they can about who the trouble makers are (while they have the chance to). They seem (or have seemed up to know looking back in retrospect) to have been prepared (or are prepared) to face the criticism of their rough methods because of their desperation to get intelligence.
In the process, in Iraq, they have arrested 1000s of innocent people (and shot quite a few on the streets).
(3) I don't put too much credence in vox pop
- the opinion surveys within Iraq are a better guide - though they do seem to suggest a majority for U.S. out - but they have their national honour at stake and are not being asked to qualify this answer like: If the U.S. went away and things got hairy would you ask them back in? Are you frightened of what the the Iranians might do if a Shia govt. took over in Iraq?
(4) I ask stupid questions (which I get no answers to) like:
(a) Can you tell us who these detainees are and why you have detained them? If not why not?
(b) Can you give us statistics on how many you believe to be wrong 'uns and how many are probably innocent but in need of processing (which takes time)?
(3) Why are you using so many freelance operative such as Serbs and South Africans of "dubious provence" (see link to piece on this in my side panel)
Any more comments, feel free, John.