“The United States, in its hubris, helped bring all this to pass,” says a Sunday New York Times editorial about the mounting horrors in Iraq, echoing conservative godfather William F. Buckley, who recently said, “the neoconservative hubris…overstretches the resources of a free country.” Meanwhile, the tortured bodies of Iraqi civilians pile up in the streets (50 dead on Sunday alone), and Condoleezza Rice and UK foreign secretary Jack Straw rush to Baghdad to plead with Iraqi officials to unify their government.
BAGHDAD, April 2—At least 50 people were killed Sunday in Iraq in a catalogue of violence that included a mortar attack, military firefights, roadside bombs and other explosions.
In addition, the U.S. military reported the deaths of six soldiers and airmen on Sunday, including two who were killed when their helicopter apparently was shot down southwest of Baghdad late Saturday.
The U.S. military said in a statement that it had recovered the remains of two pilots of a U.S. AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter that went down during a combat air patrol southwest of Baghdad at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
BAGHDAD, Iraq, April 2—Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw flew here together Sunday on an unannounced visit and made a dramatic appeal to feuding Iraqi politicians to quickly form a national unity government before the country fractures further along sectarian lines.
After a day of meetings with political figures that stretched into the evening, Rice said she was “very direct” that “the Iraqi people are losing patience” and “your international allies want to see this get done because you can’t continue to leave a political vacuum.”
Iraq is becoming a country that America should be ashamed to support, let alone occupy. The nation as a whole is sliding closer to open civil war. In its capital, thugs kidnap and torture innocent civilians with impunity, then murder them for their religious beliefs. The rights of women are evaporating. The head of the government is the ally of a radical anti-American cleric who leads a powerful private militia that is behind much of the sectarian terror.
The Bush administration will not acknowledge the desperate situation. But it is, at least, pushing in the right direction, trying to mobilize all possible leverage in a frantic effort to persuade the leading Shiite parties to embrace more inclusive policies and support a broad-based national government.
Bloomberg News via Truthdig.com:
INTERVIEW OF WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY, JR.
BY JUDY WOODRUFF
AS BROADCAST Mar. 22, 2006
... MS. WOODRUFF: You mentioned that we’ve seen this neoconservative Wilsonian tendency embracing—wanting to export American values around the world, and this has been adopted by the Bush administration. Is this a conservative—
MR. BUCKLEY: I don’t think so.
MS. WOORUFF: approach?
MR BUCKLEY: No, I don’t think so. The neoconservative hubris, which sort of assigns to America some kind of geostrategic responsibility for maximizing democracy, overstretches the resources of a free country. So it is not conservatism. A conservative always measures capabilities and resources, and these are simply incapable—now, even as they were in the 1919—of bringing on democracy.
Illustration: Blair Golson
Top: A New York Times editorial from Apr. 2; bottom (from left to right): conservative godfather William F. Buckley Jr., Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, radical Iraqi anti-American cleric Moqtada-al Sadr, Iraqi prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari