Rumsfeld comes to Iraq… Again

Rumsfeld comes to Baghdad to warn against corruption and cronyism, but his real agenda sends the irony meter off the charts.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s “visit to Baghdad”:http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/12/international/middleeast/12cnd-rumsfeld.html today to talk about cronyism and corruption was really about American concerns

that Iraq could fall prey to political purges motivated by religion, ethnicity, tribal or political affiliations that could upset the careful balance being built.

Right. What Rummy is _really_ warning against is radical de-Ba’athification, “which is in the air these days”:http://www.back-to-iraq.com/archives/000868.php. (Click that link, please?)
Despite American proconsul L. Paul Bremer’s orders in May 2003 to dissolve the Ba’ath Party and sweep them into the dustbin of history, America now finds itself in need of many of those guys it threw out in the street two years ago. Former Ba’athists fill top leadership spots in the new Iraqi Army and in the Interior Ministry, among other positions. Education and Health ministries are full of ex-Ba’athists.
In other words, the United States, which spent billions of dollars and lost more than 1,500 soldiers to topple Saddam’s Ba’athist regime, is now warning the new regime headed by religious Shi’ite Ibrahim al-Jafari not to get rid of all of the Ba’athists.
Ironic, no?
It’s actually not a bad idea to keep some of the old guard around, as long as they’re loyal and don’t have blood on their hands. But the Shi’ites are circling and the guys who were party members before the war are getting nervous. So is the Defense Department, which doesn’t want to have to start over — again — two years after the war with a whole new cast of characters in the Iraqi chain of command to train.

Notification problem solved

Hello everyone, and sorry for the mass emailing. I think I’ve fixed the notification problem, but, as you see, things look a bit _different_ at the moment.

Hello everyone, and sorry for the mass emailing. I think I’ve fixed the notification problem, but, as you see, things look a bit _different_ at the moment. That’s because I was forced to completely reinstall “MoveableType”:http://www.moveabletype.org and use default templates. I should be back to the style you know and (hopefully) love in a little while.
A bit about the new notification features. Now, when I post something, the notifications will go out automatically. You will receive an email with links to a page that will allow you to manage your subscription(s). You can choose to have just the new entries sent to you, the comments only, or both.
You can also now subscribe to individual entries and their comments, so if you’re in an engaging conversation, subscribe to a single entry and you’ll get an email whenever someone pipes up.
Again, you can change your options on your subscriptions management page. You can even opt-out and remove yourself now. So no need to send me an email to me to take care of that for you. Decentralization is grand, no?
If you’re not subscribed to B2I at all, you can subscribe using the “Subscribe” (duh) field to the right.
I hope you like the new features, and please let me know what you think!