## Sunday, July 27, 2003

OK, let's say the noose really is tightening around Saddam. And let's assume for the sake of argument that the Bush administration is right -- that capturing or (more likely) killing Saddam will drastically reduce attacks against U.S. troops. That's great news for the troops -- but what happens to Iraqis if the guerrilla war ends? Isn't it likely that a pacified, defanged Iraq will be treated to the same halfhearted effort at nation-building that we're seeing in Afghanistan? Will the administration even try to appear as if it's trying to do right by the Iraqis if there's no Iraqi outrage? I'm not saying I want more U.S. soldiers to die -- I'm saying I'd prefer it the administration would act in good faith, but I don't think it will ever do so except under duress. Which means I don't see a good way out of this.