Lessons Is Lessons
In a recent post, Kevin Drum comments:
It may be that democratization by force is a chimera, but the level of incompetence in Iraq has been so monumental that it seems almost impossible to draw any enduring conclusions from our experience there.
I'd say impossible, but not quite. Just because lessons are obvious, or have been learned before, doesn't mean we shouldn't utilize them in preparing conclusions for future efforts:
- Most obviously, don't let gross incompetents lead us to war.
- Greater transparency is a requirement for successful function of government; most especially in the run-up to and the conduction of war.
- When waging war, just pretending you care about the results--at an absolute minimum--isn't enough.
I'm sure someone whose spent more time thinking about this can elucidate more clearly than I. But at the moment, it seems to sort of boil down to the idea that we've set a fairly clear bottom rung: we at least know that any time we try to do something even remotely similar to this in the future, we have to be better prepared than this. You don't go to war with the president you have; because if you have the wrong president, you make sure as hell that he doesn't go to war.