Saturday’s New York Times runs a profile of Kanan Makiya, the Iraqi-American intellectual who was at the center of the case for attacking Iraq. Makiya, chastened to a degree unfortunately uncommon among American neoconservatives, is writing a book about what went wrong.
“I want to look into myself, look at myself, delve into the assumptions I had going into the war,” he said. “Now it seems necessary to reflect on the society that has gotten itself into this mess. A question that looms more and more for me is: just what did 30 years of dictatorship do to 25 million people?”
“It’s not like I didn’t think about this,” he continued. “But nonetheless I allowed myself as an activist to put it aside in the hope that it could be worked through, or managed, or exorcised in a way that’s not as violent as is the case now. That did not work out.”
That may suffice for Mr. Makiya, but it is entirely insufficient for the U.S. government and the neoconservative architects of the war, who continue to peddle their strategic snake oil all over town. What’s their excuse?