Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Assassin's Gate: I Will Lend It To Any Interested Party

..once I'm done.. This is a flawed but fascinating book - flawed in that the author is a little too enamored of personality conceits (including his own) but fascinating in that it explains how W.'s admin came to embrace preemptive war in Iraq and how badly they fumbled the execution.

According to Packer, Iraqi exile intellectuals had a substantial effect on wishful thinking by the WH on the behavior of "the Iraqi People" after the war ('sweets and flowers'). In turn, these exiles experienced a huge projection of hopes and dreams onto WH policymakers, who themselves needed justification for their radical plan to remake the Middle East.

These overly rosy assessments by Ivory Tower intellectuals fed right into what the Admin wanted to hear, and exacerbated existing internecine struggles between the WH and CIA+State. Both sides not listening to each other, and ignoring each other's work, which would have been extremely valuable in post-war planning.

Anyway - first one interested gets sent my copy.

Fun facts:
- Wolfowitz stayed at Telluride House while at Cornell.
- Allen Bloom died of AIDS (should have titled his book "The Closing of the American Closet").
- John "National Guard" Bolton, on avoiding Vietnam service: "I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy."

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