I’ve got to admit that I’m more than a little shocked by the response to Wolfowitz’s announcement that only supporters of the Iraq campaign will be allowed to bid on the reconstruction contracts. Not by the response from France, Germany, and Russia, of course, but by the response from a lot of folks here in the US.
Did no one really see this coming? Is anyone truly surprised by it? This is exactly what we said was going to happen. Exactly what’s been reported in all the media all along. Exactly what anyone in their right mind would expect.
Many have suggested that, since we won’t allow some countries to bid on the contracts, we shouldn’t expect them to help out from now on.
Well, folks, those countries are barred because they haven’t been helping out. That’s why they’re barred, you see. Because they didn’t help.
(I really don’t want to write this like I’m explaining something to my five year-old, but I’m truly mystified by a lot of people’s response to this.)
We’re monsters because we’re waving contracts around like blood money. But, if we DO allow Germany and France to bid, and then they help us because of it, they’re accepting blood money, no? THAT’S the right thing to do?
Give me a break.
You don’t hand out a reward on the understanding that the recipient will very soon begin working hard to earn it.
This is absolutely a reward to our Allies. No question about that. I think it’s absolutely the right thing to do. Anti-US folk like to say “you’ve made your bed, now sleep in it.” Well, how’s the mattress, France? A little more bumpy than you’d like? Hmmm. Couldn’t have seen that one coming, could you?
Just because a message to erstwhile friends makes them unhappy doesn’t mean it’s a wrong message. This is EXACTLY the message we meant to send, and it was completely warranted. What message would we be sending to our current friends, who have paid in money and blood to fight on our side, if we allowed France to bid?
The door has been left open, at least a crack, by noting that bidding may be allowed if a nation changes its course. Being American in T.O. asks
Will they blink?
To be honest, if they DO change course, I’ll have even less respect for them than I do now. If the course change is due to the contracts, anyway.
Signal vs. Noise posted a couple of days ago on this, noting some Dale Carnegie tips about how to get along with others. The comments section has a good selection of arguments from both sides.
Do they really think that the majority of Americans will be scandalized that we’re being so unfair to the French, after the way they behaved last winter?
There are some who will be; there are some who think we need the French and Germans. But that same “some” are the ones who opposed the war and think that the French and Germans were right all along. And the reason why those “some” will object to this policy is that they think that the French and Germans were actually offering more valuable help than such sycophantic suckups as the UK, Australia and Poland.
The one area where I’ve got any flexibility is Canada. Honestly, I think we are better off with Canada than without Canada. In the long run, of course, they’re much more dependent on us than we are on them, for anything, but I think that we need to work harder to meet them on common ground. Since we literally share common ground. But they’ve already pledged to contribute to the rebuilding effort, too. France and Germany can’t say that.
Opponents of the US and especially of Bush are working hard to portray this as a bullying tactic and a slap in the face. Those terms have a certain negative connotation that isn’t really warranted in this case, but they’re otherwise completely accurate. “Bullies” are generally thought of as playground ruffians who throw their weight around simply because they can, picking on weaker kids simply for the joy it gives the bully. A “slap in the face” generally refers to an uncalled-for, shocking action that hits the recipient out of the blue unexpectedly. Neither is the case here.
Those that think so are kidding themselves. Badly.
UPDATE: Thankfully, Howard Dean weighed in on this today.
“George W. Bush is preventing entire nations from bidding on contracts in Iraq so his campaign contributors can continue to overcharge the American taxpayers,” Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean said while campaigning in Iowa Friday.
Apparently, we’d all be better off if those that oppose America can overcharge American taxpayers.