6 August 2003

Slate | He Saw It Coming - The former Bushie who knew Iraq would go to pot. By Fred�Kaplan:
Among the many remarks that [US] Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz no doubt wishes he hadn't made, the following, from prewar congressional testimony last February, stands out:

It's hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq than it would take to conduct the war itself and secure the surrender of Saddam's security forces and his army. Hard to imagine.

It's one thing to be wrong. It's another to be incapable of imagining yourself wrong. Much of what has gone wrong in the Bush administration's postwar Iraq policy can be attributed to a failure of imagination. But there was no excuse for this particular failure. In the previous dozen years, U.S. armed forces had taken part in five major post-conflict nation-building exercises, four of them in predominantly Muslim nations. There is a record of what works and what doesn't. Had Wolfowitz studied the record, or talked with those who had, he wouldn't have made such a wrongheaded remark.

Margaret Thatcher was founding of saying there is no alternative. Clearly the inner circles of the war party believe there is no alternative to their policy. Mere reality is not going to interfere with that opinion. The only interesting question is whether it is ego or simple intellectual cowardice that makes these people refuse to even consider they might be wrong.

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