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Friday, December 05, 2003

Fox War Critic

The Nation has an interesting interview with Major Bob Bevelacqua, a Fox News military analyst. It turns out that he's pretty critical of the way the US is making policy in Iraq:
I recently spent a month in Iraq, and I did a lot of listening and not much talking, which is not characteristic for me. The way the Iraqis see it--and they call it very accurately--is that there is a lot of corruption in how the CPA has been handling contracts with Halliburton, Bechtel, and the subcontractors. It upsets Iraqis to see subcontractors brought in from South Africa, Germany, England, India and elsewhere to do simple contracts that are not high-tech. They feel those opportunities for work should go to the Iraqi people. It is their nation; they should probably be involved in rebuilding it.

I don't know how anyone can argue that security is good.

The enemy has the ability to fire when and where they like. That's because the civilian population is allowing them to do that. And that's because we have not embraced that civilian population. We have isolated ourselves in Saddam castle behind concrete barriers. Think of the irony of this. We put ourselves in the castles from where he dominated and repressed that country. Who do we look like?

I thought going to war in Iraq was a good thing. But we are screwing it up. If we change our policies and truly work with the Iraqi people, things can change. If they do not change, we will have another Beirut, another Somalia. We will end up leaving, and it will implode. And that will give us negative PR in the eyes of 1.6 billion Muslims. This is the Super Bowl. Look, we trained and advised the Afghanistan mujaheddin [who battled the Soviet Union in the 1980s] and some of them managed to fight against us later. Our ability to screw things up is immense.
Some of this echoes criticisms made by General Wesley Clark.

It's nice to see someone on Fox taking a "fair and balanced" stance, and I hope the message about crony capitalism resonates widely.

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