I may have to revise my assessment that the NYT is still a great paper. Today’s front page editorial, Iraq’s Slide Into Lawlessness Squanders Good Will for U.S., is just insipid. The headline draws a conclusion that is totally unsupported by the article. This is all that is offered:
The power company’s problems are but one example of how Iraq’s descent into lawlessness has stalled its return to normalcy, increased the costs of reconstruction and squandered much of the good will Iraqis felt for their new American overseers.
In the space of a few weeks, awe at American power in war has been transformed into anger at American impotence in peace. A crime wave, increasingly the work of organized gangs far better armed than the skeleton Iraqi police forces, has kept citizens in a peculiar state of limbo, free yet fearful.
Now, granted, I wish we had anticipated the post-war situation better and had more military police on the scene. But the article offers no evidence–no polling, no interviews with senior officials, nothing–that there is widespread anti-American sentiment in Iraq. Further, the piece talks about Iraqis living in fear and out of work, as if that wasn’t the modal condition before the war started. At least, now, they have hope of something better in the near future.