August 31, 2002

THE PREMISE OF THIS ARTICLE BY GLENN KESSLER from tomorrow’s Washington Post just seems wrong to me. The article says that the U.S. has squandered the flood of support that it received from other countries after 9/11.

But let’s be honest here. What support?

We got a lot of sympathy, leavened with a certain amount of schadenfreude. And we got a couple of German AWACS. But when it came time to actually deliver support, as opposed to talk, what did we get? Not much. We got nontrivial numbers of British and Canadian (and Australian) troops for Afghanistan, and trivial numbers of troops from elsewhere. We got a lot of carping and warnings of quagmires. But not much where the rubber meets the road.

And that’s why Bush doesn’t “give a shit what the Europeans think.” Which makes stories like Kessler’s a bit, well, beside the point.

UPDATE: Donald Sensing has some thoughts on this, too. And here are some words of wisdom from a surprising source.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Correction — I’m informed that they were NATO AWACS, not German, which is correct, of course. Follow the link for a cool picture of one over Niagara falls.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Steven Chapman has this to say about Bush’s remark:

I don’t blame him. The day the sheepdog consults the sheep over ways to combat the wolf will be a sorry day indeed.

Chapman also thinks that the Britain/Europe distinction is important.