Sunday, December 14, 2008

‘Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience’

The Iraqi Inspector General's Draft Report as Leaked to the New York Times.

I know all about that. I mean this is an official (draft) report by a Bush appointee. Can't be worse than I imagined possible can it ? Seems like time to test the DeLong hypothesis that the Bush administration is worse than you imagine possible even after you take into account the fact that it is worse than you imagine possible.

I haven't gotten to the actual invasion yet, but my jaw has already dropped. Remember Jay Garner ? The guy with the responsibility to relieve and reconstruct Iraq but no authority ? Who played that trick on him ? I mean what's this retired general dressed in an open neck shirt doing over there ? Damned if I know. I don't feel bad though. I'm not the only clueless one.

Page 56

"I pointed out to the President and to Dr Rice," Secretary Powell said "that they authorized and set up two chains of command." "They said 'no we didn't'" but then "checked and realized that that's what they had done."

To set up one chain of command for the occupation and reconstruction of Iraq may be excused as a result of bad intelligence, but to set up two looks like carelessness.

To set up 2 competing chains of command without noticing that one has done so is worse than I imagined possible.

Brad DeLong has developed the most empirically solid hypothesis in the social sciences.

update: The bit about "bad intelligence" was, of course, ironic as Bush clearly decided to invade Iraq in spite of the lack of evidence of WMD and links to active terrorists. However, US intelligence was shockingly bad. I mean bad beyond belief

CIA briefings on public services and ministry functions were of limited use. "Nobody could tell how many ministries currently existed in the Iraqi government," nn OHHA official said. Garner kept asking "Where is my list of ministries ?"

update II I can't keep up. Basically from page 61 on it's one jaw dropper after another. Did you know that Garner had to use a commercial e-mail account and couldn't send or receive classified documents ?


Anonymous said...

Remind me please was this the DeLong who was wildly in favor or invading and occupying Iraq or another DeLong. I forget so easily....

April 1, 2008

For the record, I was in favor of the war on Iraq in the winter of 2003. I reasoned:

Condi Rice is not-stupid and not-malevolent, and is for the war.

Colin Powell is not-stupid and not-malevolent, and is for the war.

This means that even though the public intelligence is bs, that there must be solid evidence of an advanced nuclear program in Iraq and of a willingness to give serious weapons to terrorist groups--otherwise attacking Iraq while we have real enemies like Osama bin Laden running loose would be really stupid.

And although Bush is really stupid, not everyone in the administration is.

Wrong on all counts. I am very sorry.

I may be the stupidest man alive.

-- Brad DeLong

Anonymous said...

Invading and occupying Iraq was wrong morally and strategically, but notice the supposed liberals who were all for both and who will all they can to blame the resultant problems on anything other than the judgment they exercised.

Let us all praise Colin Powell especially, for we know Powell had nothing to do with Iraq except everything.

Robert said...

Once someone pointed out that something J. Maynard Keynes said was inconsistent with something he had said years before. He replied "When my theories are contradicted by the evidence, I change them. What do you do Sir?"

Clearly Prof. DeLong arrived at his, as yet, unrefuted hypothesis well after January 2002. In fact I'm pretty sure that whenever he says "The Bush administration is worse ..." his Iraq invasion supporting error is in his mind.

Also recall January is not March. He came around. Too late, but it was probably too late when the Supreme Court declared Bush President.

Anonymous II look at the comment by anonymous I. Brad DeLong was (briefly) in favor of invading and occupying Iraq and he blames his judgment. So do many other such liberals many of whom whom were much more convinced for a much longer interval that we should invade. I recall reading a lot of mea culpas on the web. Also John Edwards.

If, by chance you are anonymous I, note the contradiction. Oh and it is a logical contradiction. In logic the unmodified "the supposed liberals" is equivalent to "all of the supposed liberals" . If the statement applies to only 99.9999% it is false and should be replaced with a trues statement such as: "most of the sup..." or "Over 99% of the ..." or "over 99.99% of the ..." or even "almost all of the ..."

Anonymous said...

Imagine how much I care for the defense sermon. Wake me when DeLong begins to ask questions about why we are waging a forever war in Afghanistan. I get these supposed or pretend liberal hawks; I get them.

Anonymous said...

Learn how to spell Somalia yet, let alone how to excuse having helped drive a million Somalis from home or country of a population of 9.9 million? Care to know how severe conditions are for another 3.5 million Somalis? Let's do war.

Robert said...

I don't know what you're talking about. My spelling is terrible, but I don't recall miss-spelling Somalia.
How did I help drive Somalis from home and country ? I don't even know what you're talking about.

I assume you are talking about policies which I supported. That would be restore hope and unisom I and II. 16 years ago. Beginning with a famine and ending with the famine over. I have long since concluded (16 years ago) that my support for Unisom II was wrong wrong wrong. However, it didn't drive a million Somalis from home or country (or both). That was a brief intervention (which included among other things giving huge amounts of food) 16 years ago.

I don't see a connection with, for example, the Ethiopian invasion which would have a bit more to do with current conditions.