Wednesday, March 26, 2003

From Slate's continuing "Kurd Sellout Watch:

....Chatterbox guesses that Powell told the Turks some sort of Turkish presence might be all right if the troops were under U.S. command, but that he'd rather they stay out altogether. President Bush has been firmer in stating that "we're making it very clear to the Turks that we expect them not to come into Northern Iraq." But even Bush's statement allowed for a possible Turkish invasion later on ("we're working with the Kurds to make sure there's not an incident that would cause there to be an excuse [for the Turks] to go into Northern Iraq"). And Bush has yet to utter in this context his favorite I-ain't-foolin' word, "consequences." Bush's new proposed war budget, out of hiding now that his massive tax cut has cleared the House and Senate, includes a $1 billion grant to Turkey and allows for an additional $8.5 billion in loans and loan guarantees. That'll show 'em!

Bush could use a lesson in toughness from weak-kneed "Old Europe." The Germans told Turkey that Turkish entry into northern Iraq "would lead to the withdrawal of the German soldiers from NATO AWACS aircraft." And plucky little Belgium said, "It is unthinkable Turkey should join [the European Union] if it goes into Kurdistan," though the Turkish daily Zaman reports that the Belgians backed off somewhat today.