Thursday, August 23, 2007

James Dobbins on "Who Lost Iraq?"

The title is interesting enough, as is the venue. James Dobbins is at Rand Corp. now, but before leaving the State Dept. he was special envoy to Bosnia, Haiti, Kosovo, Somalia and Afghanistan, so he knows a little something about post-conflict planning and execution. I remember talking to him right after the invasion, and he was pretty streightforward for an old State Dept. guy. Priorities one, two and three are security with a capital S, he said, and we don't have nearly enough troops in to handle it.

This piece is very balanced if a little establishment for my taste, in that it doesn't question the idea of interventionism, just argues for less stupid interventions in the future. He won't pin the blame in any one place -- lots of people share it. But he's especially pointed on the lack of "structured debate and diciplined dissent" in the executive branch prior to the decision to invade. He stresses the priority in the White House onloyalty, but mentions that none of those who had valid doubts resigned or went public. He would take the word "preemption" out of the official vocabulary -- too alienating -- without taking the possibility off the table. He would deemphasize the military aspect of the "war on terror" and dump the name, and do nation-building only if there's an understanding of how difficult and long a process it is and the whole country is really committed and informed.


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Barbara said...

Interesting to know.