Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Regrets Of History. By David Brooks.

Brooks' newest column is on the inexplicable and illogical Bush decision to invade Iraq, because of bin Laden who was known not to be there and because of oil, naturally.  If we believe Brooks, history is HARD to learn:

Which brings us to Iraq. From the current vantage point, the decision to go to war was a clear misjudgment, made by President George W. Bush and supported by 72 percent of the American public who were polled at the time. I supported it, too.
What can be learned?


The Iraq war error reminds us of the need for epistemological modesty. We don’t know much about the world, and much of our information is wrong. A successful president has to make decisions while radiating hesitancy, staying open-minded in the face of new evidence, not falling into the traps that afflict those who possess excessive self-confidence.

Time to tear out whatever hair we might have left.  The whole fiasco was a fiasco, decisions made by politicians who acted like they had never read about the history of Iraq, the arbitrary nature of the country, the Sunnis and the Shias and the Kurds.  For goddess' sake, Bush sent out freshly-hatched AynRandians to build Free Markets there!

As I said (repeatedly), it was a fiasco, and nothing Brooks wrote makes it any less so.  It's NOT the case that those in power can just make up policy as they go (well, it worked in Russia..).  That's a high school student essay level work.  And no, it doesn't make any difference if the majority of Americans supported the invasion, because they were not the experts who needed to be heard.

Then Brooks, the eternal optimistic preacher, tells us that the farce, the fiasco, was at least a partial success.  Ask what people fleeing Ramadi think of that!  Sadly, you can't ask the opinions of all those who died because of the invasion.

ISIS would probably exist even in the absence of the Bush invasion, because its real breeding grounds were in Syria. But surely the American invasion and the removal of Sunnis from power prepared the fields in Iraq for its seeds of religious fanaticism, cruelty, slavery and extreme Saudi-type patriarchy, the harvest to be watered with blood.