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(Washington Post) Charles Krauthammer - On the reconstruction of Iraq, everybody knows exactly how it should have been done. One major mistake was disbanding the Iraqi army, though at the time, it seemed the right thing to do. Keeping Hussein's army risked a future Baathist return to power. For the long-run health of the new Iraq, it made eminent sense to abolish the army and start over. Yet the challenge in the short run is putting down Sunni Triangle resistance. Had we retained the old army, we might have had ready-made military units suitable at least for guarding stationary targets such as oil pipelines. Moreover, dissolution of the Baathist army released a large population of unemployed, disgruntled, and weapons-trained young men, some undoubtedly shooting at our troops. The undramatic story is that Iraq is producing more than 1.6 million barrels a day, more than three-quarters of 2002 production levels. Last week OPEC unexpectedly cut its production quotas - boosting oil prices and rattling world markets - because it sees Iraqi oil production coming on line and seriously threatening world prices.

2003-10-03 00:00:00

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