Yours Truly, Saddam

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Timothy Garton Ash, the great chronicler of the collapse of eastern European communism, aptly calls Saddam Hussein's 12,000-page report to the UN "perhaps the longest suicide note in history." Saddam's pretense concerning his arsenal, writes Ash, "is a blow to those who had hoped for a peaceful solution to the Iraq crisis."

Ash is yet another voice noting that the American interest in overthrowing Saddam's regime is ultimately less about Iraq than it is about terrorism's bankers, the Saudis. Ash goes on to sketch the "Wilsonian" vision of a democratic Iraq that, he writes, Washington intends to build as "a model for its neighbors, as West Germany was for its unfree neighbors during the cold war."

Ash himself isn't championing these ideas. Though his argument appears in an American newspaper, his real audience appears to be Europeans who are resentful of American power and dismissive of American motives. America is serious about its Mideast plan, says Ash. "We Europeans would better spend our time thinking how to complement and improve it."

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