Wednesday, August 20, 2003


I suppose I'd have to go back and read my archives to be more sure of what I was thinking before the Iraq war, but I believe it went something like this: The war would be "won," to the extent that it was, though I expected more problems actually taking Baghdad, particularly once it appeared that there were suppy line problems. Fortunately I was wrong there. I figured the aftermath would be problematic, but as long as we paved the streets with gold as quickly as possible we'd win a decent chunk of the hearts and minds. I thought the problem would be apportioning power and attention to the various competing interest groups, and some violence would come from that. In the long run we'd come to regret the whole adventure.

I didn't have a great deal of trust in the ability of this administration to pave the streets with gold adequately enough, but I had no idea they'd screw it up this badly. Who knew they could be this incompetent? Whatever the motives for the war, winning the hearts and minds Tom Friedman style was obviously a necessary condition for a successful peace. It was clear Big Don Rumsfeld wanted war on the cheap, but I thought he'd at least have the engineers in there securing the peace.

The key is what to do now. Bob Herbert says the only possible way forward is a broad international coalition, though I think what he's really thinking is that we should just get the hell outta there.