Conviction Versus Expediency: A Quandary

The consensus on the left is that Senator Clinton’s 2002 vote to authorize President Bush to go to war was the top line problem that cost her the nomination. Ezra Klein says (“What Went Wrong?,” Tapped, 4 June 2008),

… among the more heartening and broadly applicable lessons of this campaign is that supporting a misguided, but politically expedient, war in 2002 turns out to have been a serious mistake.

For Matthew Yglesias it has been an ongoing theme, but in his post-Obama-victory analysis he says (“It’s the War,”, 4 June 2008),

At the end of the day, Hillary Clinton had (and has) much more credibility with the liberal base than does the average person who shares her position on the war. If she can be held accountable, and if John McCain (until very recently the most popular politician in America) can be held accountable, then the sky’s the limit.

The problem here is that perhaps the majority of Democrats who voted to authorize the Iraq war in 2002 did so because they remember the consequences of opposing an earlier Bush’s war with Iraq in 1991. Back then the Democratic party was reflexively anti-war and voted in a large block to oppose war in 1991. They confidently predicted another Vietnam. Then the war went swimmingly, approval ratings of President Bush, Sr. went through the roof and Congressional Democrats were left with egg on their faces.

Any politician with presidential ambitions in 2004 or 2008 was sure to tick off the “willing to kick rogue country butt” requirement on their political CV — all except one, that is. But what’s a politician to do when it turns out that neither stout conviction nor craven expediency does the trick?

The Stable North of Iraq

Things may be a disaster between the Shi’ia and the Sunnis in the south of Iraq, but at least the Kurdish north is stabilized. Think again (Traynor, Ian, “Upsurge in Kurdish Attacks Raises Pressure on Turkish Prime Minister to Order Iraq Invasion,” The Guardian, 9 October 2007):

Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, came under intense pressure last night to order an invasion of northern Iraq following the deadliest attacks for over a decade on the Turkish military and civilians by separatist Kurdish guerrillas. Mr Erdogan, who has resisted demands from the Turkish armed forces for the past six months for a green light to cross the border.

Mr Erdogan, who has resisted demands from the Turkish armed forces for the past six months for a green light to cross the border into Iraqi Kurdistan, where the guerrillas are based, called an emergency meeting of national security chiefs to ponder their options in the crisis, a session that some said was tantamount to a war council.

A Turkish incursion is fiercely opposed by Washington since it would immensely complicate the US campaign in Iraq and destabilise the only part of Iraq that functions, the Kurdish-controlled north.

And Turkey isn’t the only country with a Kurdish problem. Iran has a Sunni Kurdish population in its northwestern region with which it has engaged in numerous clashes. Iran is already operating in Iraq in support of the Shi’ia and both Iran and Turkey have conducted simultaneous attacks on Kurdish rebels and a few cross-border artillery attacks.

I would say that the notion advocated by Democrats of drawing down U.S. forces in Iraq to maybe 50,000 massed primarily in the Kurdish north is no solution.

Iraq and Vietnam; Civil Wars and Asymmetric Conflict

Someone at some point should drive home to the right that Iraq and Vietnam are not some apparition or anomaly requiring exceptional explanation — namely the Dolchstoßlegende — but in fact the historical trend.

Our historical-materialist problems in Iraq are multifaceted. Iraq is a combination of two pernicious trends: one relating to civil wars and one relating to asymmetric conflict.

First, on the issue of civil wars, they are by nature long, intractable and fought to the bitter, bloody end. The Los Angeles Times had the good sense to have Barbara F. Walter, author of the study, Committing to Peace: The Successful Settlement of Civil Wars (2002), write a brief summary of her survey of civil wars and the likely meaning for Iraq (Walter, Barbara F., “You Can’t Win With Civil Wars,” Los Angeles Times, 2 October 2007):

The approximately 125 civil wars — conflicts involving a government and rebels that produce at least 1,000 battle deaths — since 1945 tell us several things: The civil war in Iraq will drag on for many more years; it will end in a decisive victory for either the Shiites or the Sunnis, not in a compromise settlement; and the weaker side will never sign a settlement or lay down its arms because it has no way to enforce the terms.

Civil wars don’t end quickly. The average length of all civil wars since 1945 is 10 years. Conflicts in Burma, Angola, India, the Philippines, Chad and Colombia have lasted more than 30 years. Wars in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Lebanon, Sudan and Peru have lasted more than 15 years. Even Iraq’s previous civil war, fought against the Kurds, lasted 14 years.

This suggests that, historically speaking, Iraq’s current civil war could be in its early stages, with nothing to suggest that it will be a short, easy war.

Another lesson from history is that the greater the number of factions involved in a civil war, the longer it is likely to persist. Iraq simply has too many factions, with too much outside support, to come to a compromise settlement now. Not only is there no Shiite or Sunni who can speak for all of his side’s factions, but the parliament seems incapable of stopping the violence between these groups.

Civil wars rarely end in negotiated settlements. In research for a book on the topic, I found that 76% of civil wars between 1945 and 2005 ended only after one side had defeated all others. Only 24% ended in some form of negotiated solution. This suggests that the war in Iraq will not end at the bargaining table but on the battlefield.

Second, on the issue of asymmetric conflict, the trend over the last two centuries is toward small powers defeating larger ones, to the point where in the latter half of the Twentieth Century, small powers actually defeat large powers more often than not. Below is figure 2 from Ivan Arreguín-Toft, “How the Weak Win Wars: A Theory of Asymmetric Conlict,” (International Security, vol. 26, no. 1, Summer 2001, pp. 93–128).

Arreguín-Toft, Ivan, "How the Weak Win Wars: A Theory of Asymmetric Conlict," International Security, vol. 26, no. 1, Summer 2001, pp. 93–128, Figure 2: Percentage of Asymmetric Conflict Victories by Type of Actor in Four Fifty-Year Periods

Given these two trends, the deck was stacked against the U.S., even with the greatest effort, but since it was undertaken by the Solomon Grundy administration (Wikipedia | Sean Baby) we never stood a chance. They know how to smash and that’s about it.

Neither of these two observations are new: both trends were generally known at the time of the invasion of Iraq — Ms. Walter’s book is from 2002 and Mr. Arreguín-Toft’s article is from 2001 and neither were breaking new ground. Five year on, it is now completely apparent outside of administration propagandists that the key strategic judgment with respect to Iraq was not how many soldiers in the initial invasion, or how many in the subsequent occupation, or whether to intervene in the looting, or to disband the Iraqi army, or seasoned experts versus right-wing sycophants to staff the CPA, or any of the many, many other mistakes, but whether to go into Iraq or not in the first place. Barring sufficient historical awareness here, at least the administration should have known and acted like the odds were not in favor of success. Instead we got the fast-talker’s sales pitch.

And as the Dolchstoßlegende crowd now attempts to rewrite the history of the Iraq debacle a la the Vietnam War version thereof, it should be born in mind that that war was part and parcel of these trends.

Ten More Years in Iraq

As the September date for the report on the effects of the surge in Iraq approaches, the right has been ginning up the rhetoric over what happens if the United States withdraws from the country. But almost no symmetrical consideration is given to the scenario of what happens if the United States stays. “The surge is working; we need to give it more time,” or “The United States is making progress in Iraq; our soldiers need to be given the opportunity to finish their mission there,” or some such thing is what one hears. But that’s more or less the extent of the scenario for staying. So we stay. But what then? The way the dialog around the issue is happening it’s as if deciding to continue in Iraq means the surge will get another four or five months and then … and then … and then thoughts trail off.

But war opponents should point out that the calculation isn’t withdraw, genocidal civil war ensues versus stay, no further conclusion. Some people are thinking about what staying in Iraq means and it’s not what anyone signed up for back in 2003.

For instance, the Washington Post reports on the findings that Representative Jan Schakowsky (Democrat-Illinois) brought back from her recent visit to Iraq (“ After Iraq Trip, Unshaken Resolve,” The Washington Post, 26 August 2007):

Rep. Jan Schakowsky made her first trip to Iraq this month, the outspoken antiwar liberal resolved to keep her opinions to herself. “I would listen and learn,” she decided.

At times that proved a challenge, as when Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih told her congressional delegation, “There’s not going to be political reconciliation by this September; there’s not going to be political reconciliation by next September.” Schakowsky gulped — wasn’t that the whole idea of President Bush’s troop increase, to buy time for that political progress?

But the military presentations left her stunned. Schakowsky said she jotted down Petraeus’s words in a small white notebook she had brought along to record her impressions. Her neat, looping handwriting filled page after page, and she flipped through to find the Petraeus section. “‘We will be in Iraq in some way for nine to 10 years,’ ” Schakowsky read carefully. She had added her own translation: “Keep the train running for a few months, and then stretch it out. Just enough progress to justify more time.”

“I felt that was a stretch and really part of a PR strategy — just like the PR strategy that initially led up to the war in the first place,” Schakowsky said. Petraeus, she said, “acknowledged that if the policymakers decide that we need to withdraw, that, you know, that’s what he would have to do. But he felt that in order to win, we’d have to be there nine or 10 years.”

And Ted Koppel relates a private conversation in which Senator Clinton relates some of her thoughts about staying on in Iraq (“A Duty to Mislead: Politics and the Iraq War,” National Public Radio, 11 June 2007):

I ran into an old source the other day who held a senior position at the Pentagon until his retirement. He occasionally briefs Senator Clinton on the situation in the Gulf. She told him that if she were elected president and then re-elected four years later she would still expect U.S. troops to be in Iraq at the end of her second term.

Ten years. Is anyone prepared for another ten years in Iraq?

If the United states were to stay in Iraq for the next ten years, that would make it by far the longest war in U.S. history, nearly twice as long as the Vietnam war (168 versus 90 months). Say we simply project forward the current casualty rate. There are all sorts of problems with this, but also some reasons that this is probably a pretty good basis for such a calculation. Today the confirmed total U.S. killed is 3,724. So if the United States stays in Iraq for the next ten years the total by then will be 13,000 Americans killed. The cost of the war to date has been $450 billion. A simple linear projection puts the cost at the end of the next ten years at $1.5 trillion, which would be not bad considering some have been projecting $2 trillion.

Those are the costs to the United States of staying. Iraq Body Count puts total Iraqi deaths since the onset of the war at 70 to 77 thousand. In another ten years that would amount to between 245 and 270 thousand Iraqis killed. But Iraq Body Count only tallies directly reported deaths in the English language media and requires two independent sources before counting a death, so this is a very conservative number.

A quarter of a million Iraqis may be killed even if the United States stays in Iraq. War supporters talk of a bloodbath that will ensue if the U.S. withdraws. Do they think that it will be worse than a quarter of a million? And if they do think that it will be a worse number, can they really argue that by reducing the death toll from their hypothetical number to a hypothetical quarter-million, the U.S. will have prevented a tragedy?

But who knows what could happen. The insurgency might radically accelerate. The U.S. could be drawn into a war with Iran; that could spread to Afghanistan. Pakistan might be destabilized by all this. The Saudis could intervene in Iraq. Turkey could go to war with a Kurdistan hiding under the skirt of the United States. Or things might improve. Judgment about the future is difficult. But the debate should cease to be between the options of withdrawing and terrible consequences versus staying and don’t think any further about it.

Update: Kevin Drum (“Nine or Ten Years,” Political Animal, The Washington Monthly, 26 August 2007) has been reading Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack ‘s Iraq visit report (“Iraq Trip Report,” Brookings, August 2007) and Messrs. O’Hanlon and Pollack’s prediction for the surge is,

Over the long term, the United States must be looking to draw down its force levels in Iraq overall — probably to 100,000 or fewer troops — by about 2010/2011.

That’s two and a half more years at current force levels. Then we can go back to what was, prior to the surge, merely a heightened troop presence for an indeterminate period of time. Mr. Drum points out, “that suggests he doesn’t think total withdrawal will happen until, say, 2016/17 or so. In other words, nine or ten years.” Mr. Drum also points out that historically prolonged counterinsurgency wars have had negative consequences for nations prosecuting them.

Where Your Boots Go, There Your Mind Will Be As Well

I think the proper way to think about our situation in Iraq is this. It may be true that many vile consequences may ensue in Iraq should the United States withdraw. But the options aren’t that the U.S. armed forces save Iraq from itself versus U.S. soldiers go back to sipping cool lemonade in the backyard. It’s entirely possible that the choice is between staying in Iraq or preventing the next September 11th.

Al Qaeda and their ilk have a grand strategy. They are not going to match their weakness against our strength. This is not the Fedayeen Saddam. They are not about to try to engage the Fourth Mechanized Infantry in Toyota pickup trucks. The Liliputian terrorists will bind Gulliver, overwhelm us with distractions, mire us in a series of diversions. Having no commitments, no obligations of their own, they will then match the nimbleness of al Qaeda against the encumberment of the United States. As Osama bin Laden himself has said, “All that we have to do is to send two Mujahideen to the furthest point East to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaida, in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note …”

My ever so slight sampling of the zeitgeist says that we are working our way toward a condition — material and of mind — not unlike that in the late 1990s and early 2000s as the country slouched toward September 11th. Dangerous and anarchic regions of the world are spreading, extremists are gathering strength, plots — one can imagine — are unfolding. Nothing less than the most recent NIE has suggested that the terrorist threat is growing, not waning, and that al Qaeda is gaining strength. Just as after the Cold War the United States was unable to heed the warning of both events and the prognostications of certain elites, so George Bush has the put the country into a trance of Iraq focus. Despite a changing threat profile, we can’t think about anything else. Already al Qaeda and Co. have pivoted. New threats are in the making, but mired in the thought of post-September 11th and Iraq — the irony here is too much — we are incapable of conceptualizing or doing anything to prevent the next September 11th.

The right has argued that in the post September 11th world, the old Cold War system of long-term alliances like NATO is obsolete, that the United States needs to remain nimble, to rely on ad hoc coalitions of the willing. And yet in Iraq the United States has permanently bound itself in a coalition of the compulsory. That broken statue of Hussein was the signing ceremony and there is no nullification clause in the treaty. In Iraq the United States stepped into a bear trap and it closed on our foot. It’s going to hurt and it’s going to be bloody, but its time to gnaw that foot off and hobble free — before the trapper comes to claim our pelt.

Some Other Books that Bush Should Read

The White House press office and has periodically made it known what books the President is reading. On a few occasions even the President himself has staged a mini publicity stunt to show off the same, for instance when he very deliberately paraded around with a copy of Bernard Goldberg’s book Bias to demonstrate his low opinion of the press or Eliot Cohen’s Supreme Command to signal to the military that the administration wasn’t about to be pushed around by a bunch of generals with their dictates of military requirement.

I am currently reading Adam Zamoyski’s Moscow 1812: Napoleon’s Fatal March. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that a work was not written with an eye to current events. And sometimes they are. Robert Massie has specifically said that he wrote Dreadnought, his book about how the naval arms race between Britain and Germany precipitated the First World War, in part to illustrate the dangers of the Regan nuclear arms buildup.

When I read passages like the following, it is hard not to think that Mr. Zamoyski doesn’t have a certain contemporary swashbuckling world leader in mind. With the La Grande Armée fully ensconced in Moscow, harried by marauding Cossacks, Napoleon contemplates his next move:

Napoleon was far too astute not to realize that his strategy had gone badly wrong, and that Caulaincourt had been right all along. But he did not like to admit it. And he recoiled from the only logical next step, which was to withdraw. He liked neither the idea of retreat, which went against his instincts, nor the implications of such a withdrawal on the political climate in Europe. He also had an extraordinary capacity for making himself believe something just be decreeing it to be true. “In many circumstances, to wish something and believe it were for him one and the same thing,” in the words of General Bourienne. So he hung on, believing that Alexander’s nerve would break or that his own proverbial luck would come up with something.

He had studied the weather charts, which told him that it did not get really cold until the beginning of December, so he did not feel any sense of urgency. What he did not realize, in common with many who do not know those climates, was just how sudden and savage changes of temperature can be, and how temperature is only one factor, which along with wind, water and terrain can turn nature into a viciously powerful opponent.

The unusually fine weather at the beginning of October contributed to his complacency. He teased Caulaincourt, accusing him of peddling stories about the Russian winter invented to “frighten children.” “Caulaincourt thinks he’s frozen already,” he quipped. He kept on saying that it was warmer than Fontainebleau at that time of year, and dismissed suggestions that the army provide itself with gloves and items of warm clothing. …

With every day Napoleon spent in Moscow, the harder it was to leave without loss of face, and the usually decisive Emperor became immobilized by the need to choose between an unappealing range of options on the one hand, and a stubborn belief in his lucky star on the other. He fell into the trap of thinking that by delaying a decision he was leaving his options open. In fact, he only really had one option, and he was reducing the chances of its success with every day he delayed. (pp. 351-352)

For the outcome of this story, one need only consult Charles Minard’s famous chart portraying the destruction of the French Army. Substitute a few terms and this sounds strikingly like the current situation of the United States in the Middle East. For those of you who object to the comparison in the first sentence of the excerpt, “Napoleon was far too astute not to realize that his strategy had gone badly wrong,” I ask, do you really think that CIA director Michael Hayden told the Iraq Study Group that the “instability” in Iraq seems “irreversible” and that he could not “point to any milestone or checkpoint where we can turn this thing around,” (Woodward, Bob, “CIA Said Instability Seemed ‘Irreversible’,” Washington Post, 12 July 2007, p. A1) but that he has been telling the President in his daily briefings that everything is coming up roses? President Bush has been told the situation in Iraq, and in some dark corner of his mind he knows what it is — altogether too often one can see this in his broken, impromptu remarks to the press where his pleading, too strident by half tone seems addressed as much to himself as anyone else in the room. He just doesn’t have the strength of mind — and that is what it takes — to come to terms with the truth.

David Brooks Through the Looking Glass

When David Brooks first began writing for The New York Times editorial page, I thought that a better selection could not have been made. Brooks is funny, cleaver and unorthodox1 — exactly the sort of conservative that should be writing for this country’s “newspaper of record.” As his output has begun to pile up, though, I have begun to think that he will need a star chart to locate the current state of debate.

His latest editorial, “Looking Through Keyholes” would be more aptly titled, “Through the Looking-glass.” He argues that D.C. commentators, rather than focus on the critical events in Najaf and Falluja, are a’chatter about the books and testimonies of Richard Clarke, Condoleezza Rice and Bob Woodward — all dealing with events prior to 2004. “This is like pausing during the second day of Gettysburg to debate the wisdom of the Missouri Compromise.” Time spent preparing for hearings and defending the administration against the myriad accusations is time not spent on solving the problems of Iraq. He dismisses criticisms of Bush as mere Washington conceit. “The first duty of proper Washingtonians is to demonstrate that they are smarter than whomever they happen to be talking about. It’s quite easy to fulfill this mission when you are talking about the past.”2

The fact is that for nearly two years now, Washington insiders have been trying — to no avail, but in the worst case, to their peril — to contribute to the debate over how to handle the situation in Iraq.

Regarding troop levels, General Tommy Franks initially planned to go into Iraq with a force comparable to that of the first Gulf War, but, under pressure from Rumsfeld, continually whittled it down. General Shinseki told congress that a few hundred thousand soldiers would be required in Iraq for up to five years. Retired military personnel voiced concern about troop levels.3 John McCain and even General Abizaid have both called for additional soldiers and for a more international force.4

Pentagon personnel were prohibited from, or reprimanded for, participating in CIA war games that simulated the disorder of the aftermath of invasion.5 In the Pentagon sponsored war games, those acting the role of the enemy were specifically prohibited from employing tactics similar to those used by Iraqi irregulars during combat. Hence Lt. Gen. William Wallace’s controversial remark, “The enemy we’re fighting is a bit different than the one we war-gamed gainst.”6

A parade of Iraqi exiles met with administration officials, including Bush, to warn about the dangers of a lapse in order.7 Reports by the Army War College, The Council on Foreign Relations and the James A. Baker III Institute for Foreign Policy also warned about the dangers of a breakdown in civil administration and the disbanding of the Iraqi army.8 French officials warned Rice about an insurgency and ethnic tensions.9 Former Central Command chief Anthony Zinni telephoned a general inside his old command to remind him of planning and simulations for an occupation of Iraq that Zinni had conducted in 1999.10 The State Department’s Future of Iraq project spent nearly a year producing a thirteen volume report11 and Powell circulated among the National Security Council a fifteen page memo on the history of U.S. occupations that argued that troop strength and postwar security would be critical factors.12

The administration was still maintaining that oil revenue would pay for Iraq’s reconstruction, when Lawrence Lindsey gave an interview to The Wall Street Journal in which he estimated that the cost of the war would be $100 to 200 billion.13 Throughout the FY2004 budget negotiations, Bush stuck to his original budget for Iraq despite close Congressional questioning. Even after the $87 billion had been authorized, the Chiefs of the Army, Marine Core and Air Force warned that it only covered about eight months of operations.14

The rewards for this diligency have been few. Shinseki was severely dressed down about his estimates with Wolfowitz calling his estimate “wildly off the mark” and Rumsfeld reiterating the same.15 Zinni has gone from special envoy to Israel and Palestine to personae non grata. Iraqi exile Kanan Makiya, whose book, Republic of Fear was closely read in administration circles, has gone the same way since voicing his concerns.16 Rumsfeld specifically told Jay Garner to disregard the Future of Iraq report and that the project’s chief, Thomas Warrick, was to be removed from his staff. Garner resisted the disbanding of the Iraqi army, but it went ahead after he was replaced. Lawrence Lindsey was fired for his forthrightness on the costs of the adventure in Iraq.17 Retired army personnel who spoke out on force levels were slandered as “Clinton generals,” “armchair generals” and the like.

Of course, I am skipping over the reams of excellent commentary in the media because, as Bush has said, “I rarely read the [news] stories.”18 One could have a bang-on solution for our problems in Iraq and may as well leave it tri-folded in one’s jacket pocket for all the impact it will have. Even interventionist extraordinaire Max Boot is saying that the administration is in “a political cocoon where they cut themselves off from outside criticism, just dismiss it as being naysayers.”19

But there is something more fundamental here. We live in a democracy and are approaching an election. The president is up for his quadrennial review. President Bush is continually saying, “I look forward to talking to the American people about why I made the decisions I made.”20 Conservative pundits defend Bush’s use of September 11th as a campaign issue saying “Sept. 11, its aftermath and the response…are central to deciding the fitness of George W. Bush to continue in office.”21 What people like Brooks who complain about the criticisms of Bush miss is that this is exactly what a discussion of Bush’s record looks like. All the hullabaloo that Brooks derides is about “deciding the fitness of George W. Bush to continue in office.” Brooks and other defenders of the administration are frustrated that the “discussion” is two sided, not merely the Bush campaign — sole owner of all information and opinion regarding its record — talking at a pliant audience.

I think Bush would agree with me that the presidential campaign ranks at least as high as our problems in Iraq, because after neutralizing (not solving) the Falluja problem, the man overburdened with Iraq jumped on a campaign bus for a tour of battleground states.

As for Brooks, despite the deployment of French culture as window dressing, he is merely repeating the Republican boilerplate of “You cannot criticize the president. He is a war president.” That sort of intellectual thugery has about as little place in the “newspaper of record” as Jayson Blair.


  1. Do you doubt me? Though some of his political writings for The Weekly Standard are perhaps more true to form, I judged him on the cultural work such as BOBO’s in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There. New York: Simon & Schuster. 2000; “The Organization Kid.” The Atlantic Monthly. April 2001.; or “Patio Man and the Sprawl People.” The Weekly Standard. 12-19 August 2002.
  2. Brooks, David. “Looking Through Keyholes.” The New York Times. 27 April 2004.
  3. E.g. Hoar, Joseph P. “Why Aren’t There Enough Troops in Iraq?” The New York Times. 2 April 2003; McCaffrey, Barry. “Gaining Victory in Iraq.” U.S. News & World Reports. 7 April 2003. p. 26; McCaffrey, Barry. “We Need More Troops.” The Wall Street Journal. 29 July 2003.
  4. Schmitt, Eric. “General in Iraq Says More G.I.’s are Not Needed.” The New York Times. 29 August 2003; McCain, John. “Why We Must Win.” The Washington Post. 31 August 2003. p. B7. Schmitt’s article was given a misleading title. Abizaid did say that additional American troops should not be sent, but because he worried about “the public perception both within Iraq and within the Arab world about the percentage of the force being so heavily American.” He did however say that more soldiers from other countries were needed and that the training of native Iraqi forces should be hastened.
  5. Fallows, James. “Blind Into Baghdad.” The Atlantic Monthly. January/February 2004. p. 58.
  6. Kaplan, Fred. “War-Gamed.” Slate. 28 March 2003.
  7. Brinkley, Joel and Eric Schmitt. “Iraqi Leaders Say U.S. Was Warned of Disorder After Hussein, But Little Was Done.” The New York Times. 30 November 2003.
  8. Fallows. p. 68; Elliott, Michael. “So, What Went Wrong?” Time. 6 October 2003. p. 34.
  9. Mann, James. The Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet. New York: Viking. 2004, p. 349; Burrougil, Bryan, Evgenia Peretz, David Rose and David Wise. “The Path to War.” Vanity Fair. no. 525. May 2004. pp. 288-289.
  10. Ricks, Thomas E. “For Vietman Vet Anthony Zinni, Another War on Shaky Territory.” The Washington Post. 23 December 2003.
  11. Fallows. pp. 56-58.
  12. Packer, George. “Letter from Baghdad: War After the War.” The New Yorker. 24 November 2003. pp. 61-62.
  13. Davis, Bob and David Rogers. “Bush Economic Aide Says Cost of Iraq War May Top $100 Billion.” The Wall Street Journal. 16 September 2002.
  14. Schmitt, Eric. “Service Chiefs Challenge White House on the Budget.” The New York Times. 11 February 2004.
  15. Schmitt, Eric. “Pentagon Contradicts General on Iraq Occupation Force’s Size.” The New York Times. 28 February 2003.
  16. E.g. Makiya, Kanan. “The Wasteland.” The New Republic. 5 May 2003. pp. 19-21.; Makiya, Kanan. “Hopes Betrayed.” The Observer. 16 February 2003.,12239,896611,00.html.
  17. An administration insider confirms that this was the specific reason for his firing. Allen, Mike, David Von Drehle and Jonathan Weisman. “Treasury Chief, Key Economic Aide Resign as Jobless Rate Hits 6 Percent.” The Washington Post. 7 December 2002. p. A1.
  18. Bush, George W. Interview with Brit Hume. Fox News Chanel. 22 September 2003.,2933,98006,00.html.
  19. Boot, Max. Lou Dobbs Tonight. CNN. 30 April 2004.
  20. E.g. Bush told Tim Russert that he was “looking forward” to a discussion seven times. Bush, George W. and Tim Russert. Meet the Press. NBC News. 8 February 2004.
  21. Krauthammer, Charles. “Why 9/11 Belongs in the Campaign.” Time. 15 March 2004. p. 100.