When Gaza was turned over to the Palestinians last month, pundits predicted that militants-turned-governors would be drawn into the political process through their newfound responsibility. People will tire of the militant's Intifada when the the militant's government is incapable of providing water, electric and employment. Its not hard to patch together a few Kassam rockets for an afternoon of smiting infidels, but building water treatment plants requires cooperation with people in the technological know: Israel & America. Palestine has seen a few bumps on this road, but the theory seems to be morphing into reality. The Palestinian Authority is working hard to legitimize itself by building infrastructure and providing stability.
Looking eastward, to Bagdad, the world's greatest superpower has fallen flat on its face. America can't provide basic security, let alone point to successes in our infrastructure projects. Most Americans were disgusted with Bush's inability to adequately cope with Katrina; but the true tragedy is that the Press allowed Lake Pontchartrain to drown out images of the Euphrates running red with innocent blood. If it aint Katrina or Rita, its Cindy Sheehan and a US body count on the front page. If it bleeds, it leads... just as long as the blood is American.
Our responsibility in Bagdad, as it is in New Orleans, is to rebuild as quickly as possible. Bush is willing to drown New Orleans in a flood of money, hoping to smother the images of dispair burned into America's conscience with reconstruction projects. But in Bagdad, there are no construction projects. For all of America's might, we can't even control the streets. As the spin-machine churns out conflict and confusion, Americans will disagree over responsibility for Katrina. However, over 2 years since the fall of Bagdad, Iraqis pray for basic security. From the standpoint of policy management, this presidency has been an abysmal failure.