Monday, September 03, 2007

And President Bush was a history major?!

There is a telling tidbit from the forthcoming book by Robert Draper about the Bush Presidency in this morning's Washington Post. How did it happen that no one had forseen the likelihood of an insurgency prior to the US invasion of Iraq? It seems that President Bush consulted only a handful of Iraqi exiles on the best way to proceed with the postwar...

"Several of Bush's top advisers believe that the president's view of postwar Iraq was significantly affected by his meeting with three Iraqi exiles in the Oval Office several months before the 2003 invasion, Draper reports.

He writes that all three exiles agreed without qualification that "Iraq would greet American forces with enthusiasm. Ethnic and religious tensions would dissolve with the collapse of Saddam's regime. And democracy would spring forth with little effort -- particularly in light of Bush's commitment to rebuild the country."

You have to wonder what, if anything, President Bush took away from his education in history at Yale. Everyone with an elementary knowledge of how the world works knows that you take the opinions of exiles with multiple large blocks of salt for several reasons: one, they have been away from their homeland typically for many, many years and are therefore way out of the loop; two, they are usually members of a persecuted group and therefore have at best a partisan view of the political landscape; three, because they believe the moment has arrived when THEY can take power and exact revenge on their former tormentors. Sure, you can consult them, but you are far better off relying on the opinions of dispassionate people who have made the study of the area their life's work. Those people surely would have told the President about the bitter experience of the British architects of Iraq, who found themselves fighting an anti-British insurgency virtually from the first moments of the postwar in l9l9.

I hope this is a lesson for everybody out there who thinks the most affable guy, the guy you'd most like to have a beer with, should get his or her vote for the Presidency. We're going to need the smartest guy--or gal--in the room this time around, to untie the Gordian knots in which this President has tied us.

2 Comments:

Blogger LaPopessa said...

Will Bush's two incompetent terms really show people what happens when they vote for the guy they'd like to party with to lead the "free world?"

Or, will we put on our blinders and show ourselves as unable to learn from history as Yale's most famous C-average student has been?

1:35 PM  
Blogger TomCat said...

Great minds, Bucky. :-)

LP, sadly, the second option seems more probable.

2:18 PM  

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