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Friday, October 08, 2004

Carrot or Stick?

Paul Bremer's name is on an op-ed in this morning's NY Times. It seems pretty clear to me that Karl Rove wrote it, as should be obvious from these paragraphs:
The press has been curiously reluctant to report my constant public support for the president's strategy in Iraq and his policies to fight terrorism. I have been involved in the war on terrorism for two decades, and in my view no world leader has better understood the stakes in this global war than President Bush.
President Bush has said that Iraq is the central front in the war on terror. He is right. Mr. Zarqawi's stated goal is to kill Americans, set off a sectarian war in Iraq and defeat democracy there. He is our enemy.

Our victory also depends on devoting the resources necessary to win this war. So last year, President Bush asked the American people to make available $87 billion for military and reconstruction operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The military commanders and I strongly agreed on the importance of these funds, which is why we stood together before Congress to make the case for their approval. The overwhelming majority of Congress understood and provided the funds needed to fight the war and win the peace in Iraq and Afghanistan. These were vital resources that Senator John Kerry voted to deny our troops.

Mr. Kerry is free to quote my comments about Iraq. But for the sake of honesty he should also point out that I have repeatedly said, including in all my speeches in recent weeks, that President Bush made a correct and courageous decision to liberate Iraq from Saddam Hussein's brutality, and that the president is correct to see the war in Iraq as a central front in the war on terrorism.

A year and a half ago, President Bush asked me to come to the Oval Office to discuss my going to Iraq to head the coalition authority. He asked me bluntly, "Why would you want to leave private life and take on such a difficult, dangerous and probably thankless job?" Without hesitation, I answered, "Because I believe in your vision for Iraq and would be honored to help you make it a reality." Today America and the coalition are making steady progress toward that vision.
Which is why, of course, the vaunted handover of "sovereignty" had to be done on the sly two days early, and Bremer was out of Baghdad faster than you can say "car bomb."

So, I'm pretty sure these weren't Bremer's own words. The question is, why did he allow his name to be put to them? Was it the carrot or the stick? The carrot, most likely, would be a lucrative spot on the board of the Carlyle Group, which is poised to continue raking in profits from the wars that the sons of two of its founders did so much to start. (Those sons being George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden.) Or maybe it was the stick, which could have been "We have your daughter," or "More voltage, Mr. Bremer?", or simply "We're sending you back to Baghdad."

The truth never goes unpunished in Karl Rove's Washington.