Michael Ubaldi, December 30, 2004.
Profiles in authoritarian fecklessness: Drawn into a face-to-face confrontation, a small band of terrorists in Mosul was sliced to ribbons. In Ramadi, Marines deprived the enemy of weapons used against people of the new Iraq. Saddam saturated the country with small arms over twenty-five years, one Army estimate for full removal of materiel exceeding seventeen years, so no terrorist has far to look; any delay, however, will save Allied and Iraqi lives.
Worse for Near East fascists: if some parties on the left have begun to contemplate the obvious, the Bush administration will gain political capital to further prosecute the war where it is most necessary. The Boston Globe may go no farther than suspicion over Syria's assault on our liberation force and paint a flattering picture of Hafez al-Assad, but it's far more helpful than denial.
Finally, the departure of Contrack, a transportation contractor in Iraq, led some in the media to leap from part to whole and twist the circumstance into a dire reflection of the country's security. That led Kathryn Lopez of the Corner to a spate of nail-biting. A few of us knew otherwise: when a sponsor, in this case the Army, characterizes the split as "not a terrible loss," adding that "it actually may be good that [both parties are] moving on," trouble arose for business reasons. One week later, from Engineering News Record:
This summer, officials in the U.S. Program and Contracting Office for Iraqi reconstruction concluded that one of its design/build contractors was not performing. The PCO formulated an alternative plan.
...News of the firm's departure from Iraq did not become public until earlier this month. But initial press reports that Contrack left because of security concerns are false, say PCO officials. "They didn’t do anything," insists Charles W. Keller, PCO’s program management director.
...The design work for numerous projects in the transportation sector, including roadways, airports and bridges, was advertised in Iraqi newspapers and awarded to several Iraqi firms.
A poor contractor was replaced by Iraqis who need the money and experience. Win-win. Except for Los Angeles Times reporter T. Christian Miller, who was too busy replacing fact with fiction.