Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Tuesday, May 11, 2004  

David Brooks, meanwhile, makes a startling admission: "The predictions people on my side made about the postwar world have not yet come true. The warnings others made about the fractious state of post-Saddam society have." More:

We went into Iraq with what, in retrospect, seems like a childish fantasy. We were going to topple Saddam, establish democracy and hand the country back to grateful Iraqis. We expected to be universally admired when it was all over.

We didn't understand the tragic irony that our power is also our weakness. As long as we seemed so mighty, others, even those we were aiming to assist, were bound to revolt. They would do so for their own self-respect. In taking out Saddam, we robbed the Iraqis of the honor of liberating themselves. The fact that they had no means to do so is beside the point.

Of course, one feels compelled to offer the usual told-you-so (in September of 2002, I argued that all of this would come to pass--the link appears dead, however), but there's something more significant here. Brooks has lately been confronting the failure of the Bush agenda. In arguments with Shields (on the Newshour) and Dionne (on NPR), he has tended to toe the Bush line. He got those jobs originally because he had an independent streak--and I bet his employers were wondering what happened to it. This editorial marks a serious about-face for Brooks. It's also the hardest kind of editorial to write--admitting that your assumptions, strategies, and loyalties were all misplaced. Hats off to Brooks for having the courage to write it.

posted by Jeff | 7:57 AM |
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