Our View: President's dismissal of Iraq intelligence is real naivete
There are endless examples of well-meaning people trying to fix a problem and making it worse. Assuming that the motivations of President Bush in going to war in Iraq were wholly altruistic -- and few of the president's mounting critics would com...
There are endless examples of well-meaning people trying to fix a problem and making it worse. Assuming that the motivations of President Bush in going to war in Iraq were wholly altruistic -- and few of the president's mounting critics would come close to conceding that -- one might think had he known in 2003 what he knows now he would have executed the campaign differently.
Or would he have? His dismissal as "naive' reports by his own intelligence community that the Iraq war has created a "cause celebre for jihadists' is a disturbing indication that given a crystal ball foretelling the quagmire, he would have done little differently.
What could have been done? Well, to start with, the U.S. could have continued the hot pursuit of Osama bin Laden, the individual singly most responsible for introducing the new age of terrorism to America. If capturing or killing him wasn't enough, and if by some fantastic assessment war in Iraq was still deemed necessary, surely it could have been conducted as a war intended to win.
The prescription for doing so was laid out by Colin Powell, long before he became Bush's secretary of state. The "Powell Doctrine,' born out of the failures of the Vietnam War, demanded any future American conflict be fought with overwhelming force from the onset.
Ignoring that, the Bush administration opted for Donald Rumsfeld's minimal-force "army you have' instead of Powell's massive army that could not help but win. Further lacking was a plan to restore the peace.
Was it all still well-intentioned? Maybe, but as much as a boy who gets gets stung by a wasp -- and swats a hornets' nest.