There's an interesting new movie that opened today called No End in Sight. I have no doubt it is worth seeing. But what caught my attention was this passage in the review, as it is all part and parcel of the received wisdom about the Bush/Iraq war:
Who lost Iraq?Let's get this straight. Again.
The Bush/Iraq war wasn't merely a bad idea. It was screaming yellow bonkers. It had no chance - none - of creating a positive situation. Ever. It is complete nonsense to claim "the invasion could have succeeded" if only competents had been in charge. Why? Competent people would never have invaded Iraq in the first place.
The tragedy we see today was a foregone conclusion. It was predicted again and again, by genuinely sober, reasonable people. The war supporters - all of them - were the hysterics. They wern't "idealists." They were naive, pie-in-the-sky types. After all, it was Richard Perle and David Frum who penned a book called "An End to Evil" - an utterly insane notion, as Anatol Lieven noted.
It is ominous to note the congealing of conventional wisdom around the "great idea, incompetent execution" meme (this review is hardly the only place it has appeared recently). It means that the public discourse remains monopolized by genuine clowns. Until more serious people are permitted to address the American public on a regular basis, the US will continue to blunder into future Bush/Iraqs, with catastrophic consequences.
I also can't let this go by, either, from the same review:
It is important to note that Mr. Ferguson’s principal interlocutors were not, at the time, critics of the Bush administration’s policies in Iraq but rather people who had, often at considerable professional cost and personal risk, committed themselves to fulfilling those policies. They include Barbara Bodine, a diplomat with long experience in the Middle East...NO.
The people at most risk were the innocent Iraqis that were bombed and the soldiers who were gulled into fighting this awful war.And they have all endured terrible things. By comparison, it seems callously crazy even to mention that those of us who early and loudly protested the war found our careers damaged and our opinions marginalized.
But Bodine? Jay Garner? Wha??? Remember when Michael Moore was booed at the Oscars? To state that those who enabled Bush/Iraq took risks with their reputation and careers is ludicrous. They're all doing fine. Hell, even Judith Miller still gets on television, according to her website. But the last I checked, not even Jessica Tuchman Mathews has a regular tv gig.