Krugman on Bremer's money woes

Krugman continues his lone-voice-in-the-big-media act. When will the grown-ups be coming back, anyway?

One quick, unrelated comment: liberals and others like to feel smug and superior because they are smart and their president, George W. Bush, is an imbecile. But I wonder how they feel now that their favorite golden boy, Howard Dean, has revealed his own extreme ignorance of the Middle East. Tom Tomorrow links to a WaPo article in which Dean expresses his the-US-must-stay-in-Iraq sentiments. A big reason for this, Dean thinks, is because the US must teach the Iraqis about "laws" and "institutions":
"You've got to have institutions and the rule of law, and in a country that hasn't had that in 3,000 years, it's unlikely to suddenly develop by having elections and getting the heck out."
I'm sure that the emperors of Assyria, Babylon, and Persia (not to mention the Parthians, Sassanians, and Abassid caliphs) would be quite surprised to find out that their empires did not enjoy the "rule of the law". But, then again, they would have been more likely to chop off Dean's head than vote for him. Dean's ignorance of non-Western civilizations is, unfortunately, not surprising, but in his moment of cultural superiority, he overlooked a period in which Iraq was ruled by Western (i.e., "law"- and "institution"-friendly) types - the Seleucid period following the conquests of Alexander the Great (after ca. 325 BCE - well within Dean's timeline). In fact, the capital of the Hellenistic Seleucids was at a little place called Selecuia-on-the-Tigris, not too far from Baghdad (NOTE: Tom Tomorrow recognized Dean's mistake; no slight to Mr. Tomorrow).

If it seems like I am focusing a little too much on the ignorance of important people when it comes to the Middle East, it is because this ignorance is getting people killed every day.

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