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    20 September 2006

    Foreign Policy is like basketball... to Bush fans

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    If you shoot and miss, then keep trying.
    The Pentagon has created a new desk to work on Iran policy. That worries some at the CIA, who point out that many of the new Iran-desk staffers are the same people who staffed the now-notorious Office of Special Plans in the run-up to the Iraq war.

    Brilliant! These are many of the same people who just wouldn’t listen before.

    The former CIA directorate studying political Islam Emile Nakhleh in Harpers:
    The main reason for our failure in Iraq was not looking at the “morning after.” It was obvious that the military campaign would succeed, but there was also an ideological view among some administration officials that we would be received as liberators. Those people did not understand that just because the Iraqis hated Saddam, that didn't mean they would like our occupation.

    Iraq was more complex than just Saddam. We should have learned from the experience of the British in the 1920s, when modern Iraq was created—namely, that bringing in outside leaders would not work. People expressed views about the need to plan for a post-Saddam Iraq, about the potential for sectarian violence and the rise of militias, about the fact that the Shiites would want to rise politically. These were not minority views in the intelligence community, but the administration ended up listening to other voices. The focus was on invading Iraq and getting rid of Saddam, and after that everything would be fine and dandy.

    Posted by Geoff

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