Being Right After The Event

The FT has a piece on the growing tensions within the Republican tent over Iraq.

If we quit now, said Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, in a speech at Princeton University last month, we will embolden every enemy of liberty and democracy across the Middle East. We will destroy any chance that the people of this region have of building a future of hope and opportunity. And we will make America more vulnerable.

She is right. This was always the risk, that the objectives were unrealistic and that the US would come out weakened, but it seems that at the time few were willing to listen.

Kanan Makiya, an outspoken proponent of the war who is documenting the horrors of the Saddam regime in his Iraq Memory Foundation, opened the AEI meeting by admitting to many dashed dreams.

He said he and other opposition figures had seriously underestimated the powers of ethnic and sectarian self-interest, as well as the survivability of the constantly morphing and flexible Ba’ath party. He also blamed the Bush administration for poor planning and committing too few troops.

Well this seems to be another example of what at times rather than shouting it may be better from time to time to listen to what your opponents are actually saying. If you strip out the WMD argument, concern about “ethnic and sectarian self-interest” and the impact of this on any subsequent political process was always the major preoccupation of those who had doubts.

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About Edward Hugh

Edward 'the bonobo is a Catalan economist of British extraction. After being born, brought-up and educated in the United Kingdom, Edward subsequently settled in Barcelona where he has now lived for over 15 years. As a consequence Edward considers himself to be "Catalan by adoption". He has also to some extent been "adopted by Catalonia", since throughout the current economic crisis he has been a constant voice on TV, radio and in the press arguing in favor of the need for some kind of internal devaluation if Spain wants to stay inside the Euro. By inclination he is a macro economist, but his obsession with trying to understand the economic impact of demographic changes has often taken him far from home, off and away from the more tranquil and placid pastures of the dismal science, into the bracken and thicket of demography, anthropology, biology, sociology and systems theory. All of which has lead him to ask himself whether Thomas Wolfe was not in fact right when he asserted that the fact of the matter is "you can never go home again".