Ambassador Chris Hill, the retiring U.S. envoy to Baghdad, is confident the Iraq war will not end up like Charlie Wilson’s war.
Wilson, the late Texas congressman, was a driving force behind the U.S. funding of mujahideen rebels who fought a Soviet occupation force in Afghanistan in the 1980s. After the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, U.S. attention shifted elsewhere and Afghanistan slipped into civil war.
Not a likely scenario in Iraq, Hill told a State Department briefing Tuesday.
“During my 16 months there I never lacked for senior people being, first of all, well-informed, and secondly, engaged and visiting, so I never had that (inattention) problem,” he said.
“I never lacked for the Washington bureaucracy offering me tips on how to do my job,” Hill added, warming to the theme. “It was amazing. Every day it was a new idea that I never thought of. And, uh, I appreciated every one of them.”
While lack of attention from Washington might not be a problem, money might be.
Hill said Iraq is headed back toward being a major oil producer. While it has so far failed to produce a new oil law, the country has worked around the problem by signing oil service contracts with major international firms.