Swapping Nightmares

Thu Aug. 18, 2005 10:29 AM PDT

Harold Meyerson rightly fears that that's all the U.S. has accomplished in Iraq. Sure, a brutal dictator was deposed, but now we've brought massive unemployment, violence, set the stage for civil war, and perhaps an Iranian-backed mini-state. But he gets it wrong when he writes:

What neither Bush's critics nor defenders could foresee was his administration's mind-boggling indifference to establishing security in post-Hussein Iraq.

Of course, just yesterday we learned of pre-war State Department memos (which, depending on how you look at it, could be tallied as information from Bush's critics, defenders, or both) warning Central Command that its post-war plans were deficient. A flock of hawks—ex-generals, national security advisors, etc.—warned that planning wasn't being taken seriously. And as Bush worked up the nation for war, there were even those who said that regime change in Iraq wasn't a bad idea per se, but thought it was an awful idea as long as it was carried out by this negligent lot. Lots of people foresaw that post-war planning would be disastrous. And that of course makes the problems today all the more upsetting, and the administrations responsibility all the clearer.

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