Here is the last part of Maureen Dowd’s New York Times piece today, “Defining Victory Down,” that lashes the Bush administration for its imperviousness to feedback.
Again, the Thursday forum that we hosted with Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft gets a lot of play:
The arrogant Bush war council never admits a mistake. Paul Wolfowitz, a walking mistake, said on Friday he’s been asked to remain in the administration. But the “idealists,” as the myopic dunderheads think of themselves, are obviously worried enough, now that Mr. Bush is safely re-elected, to let a little reality seep in. Rummy tapped a respected retired four-star general to go to Iraq this week for an open-ended review of the entire military meshugas.
Mr. Wolfowitz, who devised the debacle in Iraq, is kept on, while Brent Scowcroft, Poppy Bush’s lieutenant who warned Junior not to go into Iraq, is pushed out as chairman of the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. That’s the backward nature of this beast: Deceive, you’re golden; tell the truth, you’re gone.
Mr. Scowcroft was not deterred. Like Banquo’s ghost, he clanked around last week, disputing the president’s absurdly sunny forecasts for Iraq, and noting dryly that this administration had turned the word “realist” into a “pejorative.” He predicted that the elections “have the great potential for deepening the conflict” by exacerbating the divisions between Shiite and Sunni Muslims. He worried that there would be “an incipient civil war,” and said the best chance for the U.S. to avoid anarchy was to turn over the operation to the less inflammatory U.N. or NATO.
Mr. Scowcroft appeared at the New America Foundation with Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, who declared the Iraq war a moral, political and military failure. If we can’t send 500,000 troops, spend $500 billion and agree to resume the draft, then the conflict should be “terminated,” he said, adding that far from the Jeffersonian democracy Mr. Bush extols, the most we can hope for is a Shiite-controlled theocracy.
The Iraqi election that was meant to be the solution to the problem — like the installation of a new Iraqi government and the transfer of sovereignty and all the other steps that were supposed to make things better — may actually be making things worse. The election is going to expand the control of the Shiite theocrats, even beyond what their numbers would entitle them to have, because of the way the Bush team has set it up and the danger that if you’re a Sunni, the vote you cast may be your last.
It is a lesson never learned: Matters of state and the heart that start with a lie rarely end well.
— Steve Clemons