Sept. 3, 6:45 p.m.: Hubris in action is killing us

We are losing the war the president said we’d already won.

By: Hank Kalet
   From the Guardian (U.K.) comes this pointed column from Jonathan Freedland.
   The basic gist is this: President George W. Bush was not lying when he told us before the war with Iraq that Iraq was a teeming hub of terrorism. He was just wrong about the timing.
   "Iraq was providing ‘training and safe haven to terrorists, terrorists who would willingly use weapons of mass destruction against America and other peace-loving countries.’ The irony is that, at the time, this was not true. But it is now."
   He says the danger is that Iraq is moving "closer to a Somalia or Afghanistan scenario: a lawless, failed state, where the only authority is the local warlord."
   "Hubris and incompetence played their part," he writes. "The Pentagon’s civilian planners put plenty of thought into the war, but almost none into the peace. They had a hyperpower’s supreme confidence in their own abilities.
   "But ideology is surely the chief culprit. Republicans can barely spit the words ‘nation building,’ so it was a task they preferred not to think about. The Pentagon suits, led by Donald Rumsfeld, are hardcore unilateralists, determined to run the show alone, unencumbered by allies. They were also desperate to prove that new, 21st-century, pre-emptive wars could be light, nimble affairs conducted with minimal personnel and low budgets. From the outset, this wing of the administration has been determined to run Iraq on the cheap. Even now, they have not ‘fessed up about the tens of billions of dollars that (Paul) Bremer admits will be needed to rebuild a shattered country.
   "Instead, Team Bush seems to be paralysed, uncertain what to do with an Iraq adventure that refuses to follow the action-movie script they had written for it. By now they were expecting the credits to roll, with cheers for the US performance. What they have got is a situation trickier than any the US military has faced since Vietnam."
   And so, there it is from across the pond. But the Bush Administration knew what it was doing, right?