quarta-feira, 8 de março de 2006

Now They Tell Us (VII)

Andrew Sullivan:

In retrospect, neoconservatives (and I fully include myself) made three huge errors. The first was to overestimate the competence of government, especially in very tricky areas like WMD intelligence. The shock of 9/11 provoked an overestimation of the risks we faced. And our fear forced errors into a deeply fallible system.(...)

When doubts were raised, they were far too swiftly dismissed.

[T]he miraculously peaceful end of the cold war lulled many of us into overconfidence about the inevitability of democratic change, and its ease. We got cocky. We should have known better. The second error was narcissism. America's power blinded many of us to the resentments that hegemony always provokes.

Sometimes the right thing to do will spawn backlash, and we should do it anyway. But that makes it all the more imperative that when we do go out on a limb, we get things right. In those instances, we need to make our margin of error as small as humanly possible. Too many in the Bush Administration, alas, did the opposite. They sent far too few troops, were reckless in postinvasion planning and turned a deaf ear to constructive criticism, even from within their own ranks.

The final error was not taking culture seriously enough. There is a large discrepancy between neoconservatism's skepticism of government's ability to change culture at home and its naivete when it comes to complex, tribal, sectarian cultures abroad

We have learned a tough lesson, and it has been a lot tougher for those tens of thousands of dead, innocent Iraqis and several thousand killed and injured American soldiers than for a few humiliated pundits.

The correct response to that is not more spin but a real sense of shame and sorrow that so many have died because of errors made by their superiors, and by writers like me.(...)"

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