Bremer: Do What We Say, or We'll Hurt You

Monday, January 09, 2006

Bremer: Do What We Say, or We'll Hurt You

Paul Bremer has apparently just published a book about his spell as Viceroy of Iraq, which the publisher inexplicably failed to entitle Clusterfuck.*

Hoping perhaps to boost sales of the Dutch translation, he gave an interview to Volkskrant, a respectable Dutch newspaper (he was ambassador here for three years, and no insurgency broke out, so you can see that Bush couldn't have had any idea that Bremer would turn out to be so staggeringly incompetent).

His message was basically, "You're either with us or with the terrorists," but, being a diplomat (his book's jacket names the author as Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III), he delivered the message with a little more subtlety. I am sure none of my Dutch friends and neighbors will consider Bremer's tone in any way arrogant, offensive, or patronizing.

A decision not to send more troops in Afghanistan would be damaging for Dutch interests in the US, former American diplomat Paul Bremer III warned on Monday....

Acknowledging Dutch politicians must weigh all the considerations, he said question marks would be raised on the US side about Nato if the mission doesn't go ahead. "What is Nato all about if our allies are not prepared to stand should-to-shoulder with us?"...

Consequences would be unavoidable if the Dutch does not send the troops. "Time and time again decisions must be taken by the US government, by Congress, that influence Dutch economic interests. It is not difficult to imagine decisions could be taken that would not be in the interests of the Netherlands," Bremer said.

Nice house you've got there. Be a shame if it caught fire.

The Volkskrant headlined the interview: "VS straffen Nederland bij afhaken." My inexpert translation is: "The U.S. will punish the Netherlands for dropping out."

I haven't gotten to the most ridiculous part yet. Showcasing the keen grasp of foreign cultures and international affairs (not to mention reality) that characterized his stint in Iraq, Bremer made the following assertion:
He said some elements in Europe do not understand how dangerous Muslim extremism is. "Many Europeans don't understand 11 September was an earthquake for almost all Americans," Bremer said.
You've got to be kidding. 9/11 was a pretty big shock here, too, but the point is that Europeans are well aware of how huge an influence that atrocity has had on American politics and policy ever since.

* Also, the publisher is apparently not donating the proceeds to the families of the victims. Too bad the Supreme Court struck down the Son of Sam law.

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