Good news, and bad news

The President of Iraq condemns the bombing of Samarra.
Does anyone care?

The combat news from Samarra looks good.

The political news, on the other hand, doesn’t look so good, and counterinsurgency is as much a political activity as it is a military one.

The President of Iraq condemned urban bombing as “collective punishment.”

(The New York Post buries the opinion of the President of the supposedly sovereign nation of Iraq about attacks by U.S. forces on an Iraqi city under “other developments.” Does anyone take seriously the fiction that the occupation has ended and that the Iraqis are now in charge of their own country?)

Presumably Yawar’s comments are political posturing intended for domestic consumption. If he’s doing anything about it, he doesn’t say so.

But the fact that the man installed under our supervision as the President of Iraq thinks it good political strategy to criticize our military actions, and in particular to compare them to Israeli tactics in the West Bank, suggests that we’re not very popular in Iraq right now.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com