In the Dec. 15 issue of Newsweek, John Barry and Evan Thomas quote Newt Gingrich as saying, "The real key here is not how many enemy do I kill. The real key is how many allies do I grow. And that is a very important metric that they (the Bush Administration) just don't get." With this quote in mind I look with alarm at the announced bar of Russia, France, Germany and Canada from bidding on contracts to rebuild Iraq. The Bush Administration has consistently claimed the war is about freedom and liberation, not oil, revenge or the spoils of victory, right? It is counterproductive for us to punish countries for not backing our war by preventing them from helping us dig out of the mess we are in.
As opposed to the war as I was, Bush deserves some credit that Saddam, a ruthless leader, is not in place. Regardless of past opinions, now is not the time to cut and run. We owe it to the region to leave Iraq only when there is a reasonable chance of recovery and stabilization. We can not extricate ourselves productively with military might or alone. We need to "grow friends" as Gingrich says. We must avoid making cooperation with us politically and diplomatically unpalatable - even for our friends.