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Friedman on Iraqi Reconstruction
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Tom Friedman's latest argues that the Left needs to actually get behind the reconstruction of Iraq.

But here's why the left needs to get beyond its opposition to the war and start pitching in with its own ideas and moral support to try to make lemons into lemonade in Baghdad:

First, even though the Bush team came to this theme late in the day, this war is the most important liberal, revolutionary U.S. democracy-building project since the Marshall Plan. The primary focus of U.S. forces in Iraq today is erecting a decent, legitimate, tolerant, pluralistic representative government from the ground up. I don't know if we can pull this off. We got off to an unnecessarily bad start. But it is one of the noblest things this country has ever attempted abroad and it is a moral and strategic imperative that we give it our best shot.

Unless we begin the long process of partnering with the Arab world to dig it out of the developmental hole it's in, this angry, frustrated region is going to spew out threats to world peace forever. The next six months in Iraq which will determine the prospects for democracy-building there are the most important six months in U.S. foreign policy in a long, long time. And it is way too important to leave it to the Bush team alone.

He's right, of course. The reconstruction and democratization of Iraq shouldn't be a partisan issue. We should be able to find some common ground in support of making a better, more humane, more free Iraq. And yet the sniping from the Left continues unabated, and I still hear empty calls for "going to the U.N.". Guess what, folks...the U.N. doesn't want to be there.

The reason the U.N. and the Red Cross have pulled out of Iraq aren't because of the Bush administration's attitude. It's because of truck bombs and suicide attacks.

I don't much care whether the criticism is nice or not, but I would say, if you don't have anything remotely useful to say, better not to say anything at all.

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