Sunday, December 18, 2005

David Brooks Misses the Point. Again

Does David Brooks even believe the stuff he writes? Start, in today's column, with the assertion that
American policy makers and think-tank Johnnies have not really looked at Iraq in
the broader context of . . . [other civil wars]. That's in part because when Americans think of civil war, we tend to think of our own Civil War, which was utterly atypical. It's also because American experts were almost all trained to think about wars between nations . . .

Please. First of all, it's silly to say that think tank analysts haven't looked at Iraq in the broader context of other conflicts. Second, it's ludicrous to assert that the American civil war has somehow prevented U.S. experts from an understanding of other civil wars. And third, it's preposterous to say that our lack of preparation for the civil war in Iraq occurred because of some kind of general failing in the training of American "experts."

Whatever the failings of experts, our lack of preparation for the civil war in Iraq is attributable predominantly to factors that David Brooks won't discuss: the abject failure of the Bush administration to plan for the occupation, and to commit sufficient resources to it. James Fallows has reported that even now, no one in the administration really gives much attention to Iraq, hard thought that may be to believe. Rumsfeld is apparently bored with the whole subject, perferring to focus on military "transformation."

But in Brooks's fantasy world, it isn't the Bush administration's fault. The problem, you see, is that American experts all have their heads up their butts thinking about the U.S. civil war.