December 1, 2003

Not to get too Zen about it...

Roger Simon says:

....After I lost my copy of "What Is To Be Done" on some subway in some city long ago, I became more entranced with the pronouncement of that Other Lenin (John): "Life is what happens when you're making other plans!"

These words seem to have applied to my life (and those of others I have observed over the years) with remarkable accuracy, personally and politically. So when I read the (a tad lengthy) George Packer New Yorker piece that Drezner links, my reaction was: "Mr. Packer, what exactly are you looking for?" Not to get too Zen about it, the best policy for Iraq may be "No policy"--in other words the ability to switch direction at the drop of a hat (always mindful that the goal is democracy). I don't know whether the administration realizes that, but it doesn't matter. That would be what would happen to any administration, whether they adopted the lengthy position papers referred to by Packer (or didn't even read them, as he infers)....

The nice thing about thousand-page position papers is that, like the prophecies of the Delphic Oracle, they are sure to contain something that pans out. So you get to say "I told you so," no matter what happens. (And the other 17 TPPP's gather dust in some file cabinet.) "If only the Administration had followed my advice, all would have gone swimmingly."

Maybe there was some splendid plan that was ignored. But when I read the critics, I'm not impressed. For instance, they insist repeatedly that we should have kept the Iraqi Army intact. But the CPA didn't do that for some very good reasons, which they have made public (and which the critics ignore). And mostly it was because of circumstances beyond our control. Even if we had tried to follow some super plan that kept the Iraqi Army intact, it wouldn't have happened! It would not have worked. We would have still ended up creating a new army.

Posted by John Weidner at December 1, 2003 11:57 AM
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