Jun 20, 2004

The Roots of Incompetence

The Washington Post puts out the first of a three article-series on the post war occupation, and it isn’t pretty.  The government under GOP control has not failed in policy, it has not even attempted it.  Politics only.  The article concludes with this:

The other major conflict within the occupation bureaucracy has set the legions of young staff members chosen for their loyalty to the Bush administration against older, more liberal diplomats from the State Department and the British Foreign Office. Several of the diplomats said they regarded the young staffers as inexperienced and eager to pad their résumés during three-month tours.

 

These diplomats singled out the Office of Strategic Communications as unsuccessful in its efforts to disseminate information to Iraqis. Instead of creating an all-news television station that would compete with other Arab broadcasters that the CPA deemed anti-occupation, the communications office, with several employees straight from Republican staff jobs on Capitol Hill, set up a channel that aired children’s programs and Egyptian cooking shows.

 

“It didn’t put any effort into communicating with the Iraqi people,” a British CPA official said. “Stratcom viewed its job as helping Bush to win his next election.”

 

Even within the communications office, there is a sense that the occupation has not gone as well as everyone hoped. “It’s a time of introspection,” one press officer said.

 

Elsewhere in the palace, the sense of regret is far more pronounced. The senior adviser to Bremer said he felt “a sense of opportunity that slipped away.”

 

“The ambition for us was a grand one. We had great things in mind for them. We believed we could do it,” he said. “But we didn’t keep our promises.”

Can you even imagine a Democrat operating that way?  Or a Democratic Congress standing for it from a president of their party?


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