Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Not Done Paying for Broken Pottery

Hopefully, there are some out there whose memory of history is not so myopic as to have blocked out General Colin Powell's "Pottery Barn" reasoning about Iraq ("You broke it; you pay for it.") Many seem to be of the opinion that the new rise of insurgency in Iraq is simply a sign that the United States never finished paying for the broken pottery. What is interesting, however, is that there appears to be a sizable number of Iraq veterans who share that opinion. Thus, today ABC7News, the local ABC affiliate here in San Francisco, ran a story in which they interviewed some of those veterans. One, Emily Yates from Oakland, did two tours as a Public Affairs Specialist. Now, distanced from her past public relations obligations, she can speak for herself:
This is a mess that the United States has created, but it's not a mess that the United States is going to be able to un-make.
Yates may be right in concluding that it is going to take someone else to clean up the broken pottery, but she was discrete enough not to make any suggestions as to who that could be. The question will be whether or not there is any other party willing to respect the priority of the Iraqi population, particularly when that priority should override more selfish interests. In this brave new "globalized" world, I am not sure such a party can be found.

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