This is basically a reiteration of all the missteps we've heard and that rightwingers have either ignored or tried to dismiss away from the beginning. As Karl Rove has learned all too well, you keep repeating a factoid (whether it's true or not) and it becomes accepted wisdom. Hopefully, what we've seen (and this is by polls, certainly not by the media or pundits), is that most Americans are figuring out exactly where the truth lies, and it's not with the official White House version.
In a rueful reflection on what might have been, an Iraqi government insider details in 500 pages the U.S. occupation's "shocking" mismanagement of his country - a performance so bad, he writes, that by 2007 Iraqis had "turned their backs on their would-be liberators."
"The corroded and corrupt state of Saddam was replaced by the corroded, inefficient, incompetent and corrupt state of the new order," Ali A. Allawi concludes in "The Occupation of Iraq," newly published by Yale University Press.[..]
The U.S.- and British-educated engineer and financier is the first senior Iraqi official to look back at book length on his country's four-year ordeal. It's an unsparing look at failures both American and Iraqi, an account in which the word "ignorance" crops up repeatedly.
First came the "monumental ignorance" of those in Washington pushing for war in 2002 without "the faintest idea" of Iraq's realities. "More perceptive people knew instinctively that the invasion of Iraq would open up the great fissures in Iraqi society," he writes.
What followed was the "rank amateurism and swaggering arrogance" of the occupation, under L. Paul Bremer's Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), which took big steps with little consultation with Iraqis, steps Allawi and many others see as blunders:
- The Americans disbanded Iraq's army, which Allawi said could have helped quell a rising insurgency in 2003. Instead, hundreds of thousands of demobilized, angry men became a recruiting pool for the resistance.
- Purging tens of thousands of members of toppled President Saddam Hussein's Baath party - from government, school faculties and elsewhere - left Iraq short on experienced hands at a crucial time.
- An order consolidating decentralized bank accounts at the Finance Ministry bogged down operations of Iraq's many state-owned enterprises.
- The CPA's focus on private enterprise allowed the "commercial gangs" of Saddam's day to monopolize business.
- Its free-trade policy allowed looted Iraqi capital equipment to be spirited away across borders.
- The CPA perpetuated Saddam's fuel subsidies, selling gasoline at giveaway prices and draining the budget.
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