Read This Post If You Blame America First

by on January 28th, 2004

Which is to say, I’m a liberal. Sort of like George Carlin without the funny.

Anyway, thanks to Dustin for his very gracious invitation to blog with the eTALKINGHEAD group. This should be fun.

For my first outing I’d like to point you to an interesting piece by James Fallows in the Atlantic, “Blind Into Baghdad.”

Fallows eviscerates the dictum oft repeated by those in the antiwar contingent that “there was no post-war planning” before the Bush administration lead us into Iraq. Quite to the contrary, there was any number of postwar planning policy units charged with creating contingency matrices over a rich array of policy areas. Fallows’ account suggests that at least much of the planning activity initiated under the so-called “Future of Iraq Project” was in fact quite sound. In short, it appears there was lots of postwar planning.

Unfortunately, Fallows also eviscerates the dictum oft repeated by those in the prowar contingent that the Bush administration exhibited laudable epistemic competence in dealing with the fruits of this foreign policy apparatus. (Okay, that’s not exactly an oft-repeated dictum, but you know what I mean.) Instead, as with its approach to intelligence gathering, the administration saw its way clear past the institutional experts and set up its own ad hoc apparatus whose design (whether by design or happenstance) yielded, let us say, less recalcitrant data. In short, the extant post-war planning apparatus was therefore short-circuited, and though there was lots of postwar planning, the insights generated by that process went largely unheeded.

However, I do not offer the article for the base partisan purpose of repeating yet another already oft-repeated nostrum about the Bush administration’s penchant for belief perseverance over Bayesian receptivity (plenty of time for that), but for the rather neutral reason that I thought readers here of all political persuasions would find much of historical interest in the article, particularly the account of the Future of Iraq Project given in context of pre-invasion planning for post-war occupation in World Wars I and II.

Tadlow Windsor II