[politics] Coulda, woulda, shoulda

Posted:

The reconstruction of Iraq is going to take a lot of time, money and effort. This is clear to everyone by now. This reconstruction effort is far more involved than the Bush administration had hoped for before the war. It was thought that a little military pixie dust and the arrival of Halliburton (who, to be honest, were already there before the war) would turn Iraq into an icon democracy in the Middle East. Iraqis were expected to cheer the fall of a vicious despot and gladly work with the US to build a better Iraq.

But things are not proceeding as expected.

The US finds itself sinking quickly into the quagmire of Middle Eastern politics, which resembles nothing so much as a laser show of conflicting agendas. Iraq is not a nation unified by nationalism; it is a political entity held together through iron will. Remember Czechslovakia? It is true that there are factions in Iraq that do want to work with the US to build a western-style democracy, but their voices are lost in the cacophony of those that want the US out of the country posthaste.

National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice is now overseeing the political reconstruction of Iraq. At the same time, Bush is asking for a lot more money:

«The move comes as the White House tries to convince a fairly unreceptive Congress to grant an extra $130-billion to its Iraq mission.»

In many ways, Bush’s Iraq policy resembles another ill-considered and poorly-executed expedition that is very familiar to computer professionals. The SCO Group has claimed that it owns several critical pieces of technology found in the Linux kernel, which it does not own. Consequently, SCO is asking users of server-class multi-CPU systems running Linux to buy a license from them. The SCO Group has presented questionable evidence to support their claims, but they have issued many provocative press releases full of bluster and self-righteous indignation. While the SCO Group refuses to show all the disputed code, the few fragments that have been presented have been outed as 30-year-old code that is probably in the public domain anyway. It is code that certainly did not originate in the SCO Group.

One tangible result of the SCO Group’s efforts has been a marked increase in their stock price. Another result has been two large lawsuits, one from IBM and the other from RedHat. Perhaps the executives at SCO Group had hoped to stir up enough trouble so that they would be acquired by some large hi-tech player, like IBM. Now, the SCO Groups has to pursue this White Elephant, whatever the end. If they abandon the licensing scheme, SCO executives will be very vulnerable to charges of stock price manipulation. SCO seems set on an inexorable path to dissolution and possible criminal indictments anyway.
Given a glimpse of the future, would SCO execs have pursued this frivilous adventure at all? Was there no other course of action that would have better achieved their goal?

Similar questions must also be in the minds of those in the White House now.

[Original use.perl.org post and comments.]