Hide The Sharp Objects: 'Today' Expert Sees Nothing Winnable in 'Colossal Error' of Iraq
It's hard to be a sunny optimist when considering the situation at Iraq. Things are tough, no doubt. That said, was Today, the show whose NBC News parent famously declared "civil war" earlier this week, giving us a fair-and-balanced view of matters this morning when the only expert we heard from expressed the most unalloyed pessimism on Iraqi prospects?
Meredith Vieira interviewed Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations and former principal adviser to then Secretary of State Colin Powell. At the end of their conversation, Vieira summed up Haas's views this way: "You do not believe that there is anything about the situation that is winnable, I take it."
Haass concurred: "You take it correctly." He went on to paint the situation as a "colossal foreign policy error," the consequences of which we will be living with for years.
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But Ali Aldabbagh, chief spokesman to Prime Minister Maliki, recently opined to me in Baghdad that the current sectarian violence is being directed from politically-motivated leaders down to the people, not up to the leaders from the people. If that is true, and if efforts to bring those leaders into the political fold succeed, is there not at least some hope for a peaceful conclusion? 'Today' certainly didn't let us hear from anyone expressing such a view.
Finkelstein recently returned from Iraq. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org