From the forthcoming issue of National Review:
- Since the conclusion of the war, the Bush administration has shown a dismaying capacity to believe its own public relations. The post-war looting was explained away as the natural and understandable exuberance of a newly-liberated people. (Now some Coalition officials suggest that a crackdown would have sped the reconstruction.) Secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld denied the obvious reality of a guerrilla resistance and compared it to urban street crime in the United States. Every piece of good news has been hailed as turning the corner, even as the insurgency has remained stubbornly strong. …
Even if the administration had avoided these mistakes and made all moves correctly, it is still possible Iraq would be very messy. But this concession points to an intellectual mistake made prior to the occupation: an underestimation in general of the difficulty of implanting democracy in alien soil, and an overestimation in particular of the sophistication of what is fundamentally still a tribal society and one devastated by decades of tyranny. This was largely, if not entirely, a Wilsonian mistake. The Wilsonian tendency has grown stronger in conservative foreign-policy thought in recent years, with both benefits (idealism should occupy an important place in American foreign policy, and almost always has) and drawbacks (as we have seen in Iraq, the world isn’t as malleable as some Wilsonians would have it).
Read every mind-boggling word of it. It would be hilarious if not for all the blood and viscera on these guys’ hands.
(Link courtesy of Marcus Epstein.)