Daniel Henninger writes, “Baker-Hamilton won’t stop Beltway bloodshed”:
Before this Sunday’s talk shows use the Baker-Hamilton bulldozer to bury alive the Bush Doctrine and the “neoconservatives,” let us suggest there is an alternative version of the Iraq narrative–one that is less a collapse of doctrine than simply the result of bad, possibly fatal, decisions the administration made in 2003.
The years 2003-05 don’t exist in the ISG study, which is almost wholly about the horrors of the past year. But in the war’s immediate aftermath, from May 2003 onward, Baghdad was rebuilding, notwithstanding continued violence. Retail commerce came to life. A strong real-estate market emerged. New cars filled the streets, and Iraq’s universities reopened. But it was also in May that someone in the Bush administration made the worst decision of the war, as described on this page in June by Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari in an interview with our Robert Pollock.
“The biggest mistake, honestly, if you go back,” said Mr. Zebari, “was not entrusting the Iraqis as partners, to empower them, to see them do their part, to fill the vacuum, to have a national unity government.”
It sounds like Richard Perle would agree with that assessment.