World Turned Up and Down

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Fred Barnes and Charles Krauthammer, strong contenders for the title of America’s Worst Journalist, go head-to-head on Special Report with Brit Hume and Krauthammer emerges as the voice of (relative) reason:

FRED BARNES: And I don’t think, and we see it in the media, in particular, that the Sunnis should be treated as some abused minority. They have accepted no guilt, no responsibility for Saddam’s crimes . . . They have mounted the insurgency, and those who weren’t a part of it allowed it. They provided the ocean that allowed these insurgents to swim in. . . .

I’m not worried about harmony. What I’m worried about is crushing the Sunni insurgency, because nothing good can happen until then. There’s no offer that can be made that somebody can accept. First you have to have security. You can’t have this level of violence there caused mostly by the Sunni insurgency. They’re the ones who are carrying out all the suicide bombings, and they can get mad about it because they think it wasn’t a dignified execution, I say so what.

KRAUTHAMMER: But the way to defeat it is to win over the clan leaders in the Sunni leaders. . . . And they will not come over to a government which is acting on behalf of Shiites.

The trouble that Krauthammer can’t see, is that we’re beyond the point where we can act in a meaningful way to bring about national reconciliation in Iraq. Only Iraqi political leaders can do that. At this point, our real role in the country is to be manipulated by various actors there.