Kevin Drum has an interesting thread about the conventional framing of the debate; whether the Iraqi occupation ever had a chance, or whether it failed because it was beset by a series of incompetent decisions and officials?
His comment that it's stuff like this (Bremer's unitary executive appointment over lunch)
that's kept me from fully buying into Matt Yglesias's "incompetence dodge" theory, the notion that it's a copout to think that we failed in Iraq solely because we weren't competent enough. It's not that I'm convinced he's wrong, it's just that every month or so we discover yet another piece of Bushian incompetence so staggering that you really think the word itself is simply inadequate to the task.
hilzoy echos Drum's disbelief "I thought I knew most of the major blunders of the Bush administration's foray into Iraq. But Roger Cohen has come up with a new one. He's talking about Zalmay Khalilzad: Khalilzad's anguish centers on May 6, 2003." The luncheon date link again:
Powell confirmed his astonishment. The plan was for Zal to go back, he said. He was the one guy who knew this place better than anyone. I thought this was part of the deal with Bremer. But with no discussion, no debate, things changed. I was stunned...
And chosen over lunch. Unfortunately, yes, the way that decision was taken was typical, Powell said. Done! No full deliberations. And you suddenly discover, gee, maybe that wasn't so great, we should have thought about it a little longer.
One light-hearted commenter comes up with a possible explanation for the serial incompetence, by the 'Bush/Cheney/Rove conspirators' This Modern World: 'In 1969, a group of radicals hatched a secret plan.'..
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