Yesterday, the governing council of Iraq unveiled a new flag for the country, pictured to the right.
What did they do wrong? Let us count the ways:
- They illustrated that they had time on their hands. No power to govern the affairs of Iraqis, no power to get the water flowing and the infrastructure rebuilt -- I know what's let's do! Let's design a new flag!
- They reinforced the reputation that they are pawns to the occupying forces. There was very little consultation with the Iraqi public on the new flag. Instead, this flag was imposed from above, reminding people once again of Iraq's lack of independence. Couldn't they just restore the original Iraqi flag (quite popular, I'm told) -- the one before Saddam Hussein wrote "Allah Akbahr" on it?
- They just handed Iraqi nationalists and those fighting the occupation a ready-made symbol that can be easily burnt.
In other words: this is not going to go well.
A Marshall Plan for the Middle East
Congressmen Hagel and Libermen in the United States have come forward with an ambitious proposal for a "Marshall Plan for the Middle East". This system of grants and low and no-interest loans to democratic nations to rebuild of infrastructure and foster the growth of the middle class was the one thing that saved Western Europe from communism at the end of the Second World War. Could such a plan be used as a weapon against radical Islamic fundimentalism?
As I've been saying that we need a Marshall Plan for the Middle East since the end of 2001, of course I think so.
It has been pointed out to me that the Marshall Plan only worked because it rebuilt nations which were already democratic; there are no democracies in the Middle East other than Israel (and, to be frank, Israel need not worry too much about its long-term security). However this Israeli website notes that there is an ideal candidate for a Marshall Plan in Jordan. This nation is moderate, stable and, with the right push, could become a beacon to others. And Iraq, assuming that the United States can extricate itself from the mess and leave a democratic state behind, would be another obvious candidate.
Dennis Mills Writes Back
After writing this post below about the Toronto Port Authority's threat to resume construction of a new bridge to the Island Airport on July 1, it would be remiss of me not to mention that the troubled waters have been calmed, as it were. MP Dennis Mills acted quickly to assure Miller that the bridge was not a go.
He also replied to my e-mail, and it would be remiss of me not to mention that. I don't think he'd mind if I shared the contents with you:
Dear Mr. Bow
Thank you for your letter.
I have said NO to the Bridge and I continue to say NO.
Thank you for writing.
Can't get much clearer than that.
I'm Going to Spend a Few Years in Purgatory for this, but...
...that's nothing to what the filmmaker will get. Click on the link below: