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July 03, 2004

Bush's incompetence

Jacob Levy at the Volokh Conspiracy makes the case against Bush, not because he opposed the Iraq War but because he thought it was a useful endeavor:

I know a lot of Libertarians are leaning Democratic this year because they oppose the Iraq War. I'm leaning that way in part because I supported it, and thought it was a truly important project. Some combination, or some complicated interaction, of terrible incompetence; an absolute prioritization of political over policy considerations; and a serious contempt for outside, contrary, disinterested, or expert opinion have made a serious mess of Iraq, trade policy, fiscal policy, and much else besides.
There is a basic truth here. Whether you opposed the war or wished it had been conducted with some degree of competence, the Bush Presidency has been a disaster. Andrew Sullivan had a similar sentiment back in May.

Back before the Iraq War started, some readers of my blog thought that since I agreed Saddam Hussein was an evil bastard and the world would be better off without his existence, I was merely engaged in partisanship-- i.e. if Gore had launched the same war, I would have supported it.

Depending on the international coalitions built and the preparations of democratic transition -- which any competent administration would have done BEFORE the war -- that might have happened, although I doubt it. Invading Iraq always looked to be a recipe for disaster as long as aggressive inspections and other pressures on Hussein was an option.

But it's very true I opposed our war in Afghanistan purely because Bush led the war, and would have supported it readily with Gore or Clinton in charge, just because I better trusted their motives and competency. I had many lefty friends who supported the Afghanistan war who were annoyed that I opposed it, but now have to agree that my predictions that Bush would invade, then quickly leave without real economic investments to stabilize the country, have come true.

We are spending a lot of newspaper and Internet time on Iraq, but what's amazing is that without massive troops in Afghanistan, we are basically ignoring its complete meltdown. A lot of people will say that we don't pay much attention if our troops aren't in danger, but the single marked fact of Bush's misplaced priorities is THAT ALL OUR TROOPS ARE IN IRAQ, NOT AFGHANISTAN where the Taliban is still at large and Bin Laden still has direct influence.

Why wasn't this top news all this week?
Afghan vote again imperiled by unrest

Afghanistan's national elections - beset by deadly Taliban attacks, feuding warlords and political squabbling - are in jeopardy and may have to be delayed again, a top government official said Thursday.

Presidential and parliamentary elections were already delayed from June, and October is seen as the last chance to hold a vote before snow closes high mountain passes until spring 2005.

Or what about this part of the incompetence of the Bush invasion of Afghanistan:

Afghan drugs hurting region

The failure of international forces to curb Afghanistan's soaring poppy production threatens to destabilize the entire Central Asian region and bankroll a new generation of terrorists, Kazakhstan's foreign minister said yesterday.
Or how about the human rights and womens rights situation in Afghanistan:

Losing the Peace in Afghanistan

The CIA simply handed suitcases of cash to warlords around the country. This investment allowed local commanders to resume their former positions and rearm themselves, ostensibly to take on the Taliban. It also gave them the seed money to become self-sufficient by engaging in smuggling, drug trafficking, and general criminal activity. Predictably, their rule has been nasty and brutal, as grimly documented in numerous accounts gathered by Human Rights Watch researchers and others from throughout Afghanistan over the past two years.

Take the case of Hazrat Ali, the warlord of Nangarhar province, based in the southeastern city of Jalalabad, astride the main road between Kabul and Pakistan. Hazrat Ali is an ally of Marshall Fahim; in fact, Fahim imposed Hazrat Ali on the province, favoring him over a local candidate in 2002. Wanton looting, sexual assault on women, girls, and boys, intimidation of critics, and brigandage have been the hallmarks of Hazrat Ali’s rule—though such abuses are by no means unique to the area under his command.

The level of neglect and incompetence is almost incomprehensible by the Bush regime.

Having opposed the whole war, I can only imagine how repulsed those who supported it in good faith must feel by this betrayal by the Bush administration.

Posted by Nathan at July 3, 2004 10:14 AM