Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Deliberately Not Deliberated

Paul Pillar has a good piece taking Bush to task for trying to portray the decision to invade Iraq as a deliberate one.  "There was no policy process to consider whether the war was a good idea—no meetings, no options papers, nothing."

The funny thing (funny strange/sad, not funny ha ha) is that there were meetings and papers on how to deal with the Iraq army.  But then Rumsfeld and Bremer tossed that stuff away and thoughtlessly disbanded a group of hundreds of thousands of young men who knew where the explosives were stored. 

I have been using the Iraq decision as an analogy for other bad decisions made by collectives.  The individuals have different reasons for making a bad decision, but join together on a single specious justification to bring them together:
Far from being the prime mover of the war decision, the weapons issue was merely—as arch war promoter Paul Wolfowitz would let slip near the end of a long interview—a convenient rationale on which people in different parts of the government could agree.
Kind of like co-authorship.  Ooops, never mind.

I show Fog of War, the documentary about Robert McNamara, at the outset of my intro to IR class when I am usually at the American Political Science Association meeting (next year in Seattle!).  The three stunning things about that doc: how much McNamara and Rumsfeld look alike; how they are both described as micromanaging, arrogant, and mistaken; and that McNamara now feels the weight of his mistakes and admits that he screwed up big-time.  Will Rummy ever do that?  The stuff dribbling from his memoir (it has its own facebook page) suggests not so much.

No comments: