In The Secret History of the Bush Administration, James Risen points out the poisonous effect the neocons had on George W. Bush. The neocons bullied Bush into the Iraq war and have been proven wrong by history. Now the neocons are back in the media in full force, agitating for more U.S. military involvement in Iraq. Americans in general and Congress in particular would do well to recall the facts surrounding America’s initial costly misadventure in Iraq. In James Risen’s prologue, he refers to an unpleasant phone conversation (argument) George W. had with his father, Bush senior. Risen writes, “While the exact details of the conversation are known only to the two men, several highly placed sources say that the argument was related to the misgivings Bush’s father felt at the time about the way in which George W. Bush was running his administration. George Herbert Walker Bush was disturbed that his son was allowing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and a cadre of neoconservative ideologues to exert broad influence over foreign policy particularly concerning Iraq, and that he seemed to be tuning out the advice of the moderates including Colin Powell.” George W. Bush would have been wise to have listened more closely to the sage advice of his father and General Powell and not to the neocons. He did not, and dragged America into what has, not surprisingly, turned into a disastrous, never-ending religious civil war.
The position papers I posted last week by the Cato Institute’s Chris Preble (here) and Ben Friedman (here) offer Americans as well as Congress a template for how America should think of Iraq circa 2014. Chris Preble’s The Power Problem provides an in-depth look into how America should conduct foreign policy on a long-term basis. I have previously posted summary essays of The Power Problem here (Part I, Part II, Part III).
Originally posted June 23, 2014.