Thomas Friedman, one of the main liberal war hawks who were so important in selling this war is back from his time off writing another book. Here's what he has to say:
Iraq: Politics or Policy?
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: October 3, 2004
Sorry, I've been away writing a book. I'm back, so let's get right down to business: We're in trouble in Iraq.
I don't know what is salvageable there anymore. I hope it is something decent and I am certain we have to try our best to bring about elections and rebuild the Iraqi Army to give every chance for decency to emerge there. But here is the cold, hard truth: This war has been hugely mismanaged by this administration, in the face of clear advice to the contrary at every stage, and as a result the range of decent outcomes in Iraq has been narrowed and the tools we have to bring even those about are more limited than ever.
What happened? The Bush team got its doctrines mixed up: it applied the Powell Doctrine to the campaign against John Kerry - "overwhelming force" without mercy, based on a strategy of shock and awe at the Republican convention, followed by a propaganda blitz that got its message across in every possible way, including through distortion. If only the Bush team had gone after the remnants of Saddam's army in the Sunni Triangle with the brutal efficiency it has gone after Senator Kerry in the Iowa-Ohio-Michigan triangle. If only the Bush team had spoken to Iraqis and Arabs with as clear a message as it did to the Republican base. No, alas, while the Bush people applied the Powell Doctrine in the Midwest, they applied the Rumsfeld Doctrine in the Middle East. And the Rumsfeld Doctrine is: "Just enough troops to lose." Donald Rumsfeld tried to prove that a small, mobile army was all that was needed to topple Saddam, without realizing that such a limited force could never stabilize Iraq. He never thought it would have to. He thought his Iraqi pals would do it. He was wrong.
Why does this jerkoff always think there was some strategy which could have worked, if we only did things differently? I asked a friend the other day about a panel he attended with some pretty important media/academic types. He told me they spoke about what was necessary to make our Iraq policy 'work'. I asked him, "What do you mean by 'work'"? He said, well, a stable, secure, Iraq. And I said, "What you really mean, and what the pundits/chattering classes mean is that Iraq became a pliable client state with good bilateral relations with Israel and a Mosul to Haifa pipeline, a country propped up by American power, an American stooge as their leader, and a country that has turned its back on its Islamic identity". Anyway, did anyone notice the other night in the debate when both Bush and Kerry said a peaceful, stable Iraq is in the interest of Israel?