Paul Krugman wonders why the views of some commentators on Middle East policy are given credence given how far off their analysis has been in the past:
March of Folly, by Paul Krugman, Neocons Commentary, NY Times: Since those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it — and since the cast of characters making pronouncements on the crisis in the Middle East is very much the same as it was three or four years ago — it seems like a good idea to travel down memory lane. Here’s what they said and when they said it:
“The greatest thing to come out of [invading Iraq] for the world economy .... would be $20 a barrel for oil.” Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corporation (which owns Fox News), February 2003
“Oil Touches Record $78 on Mideast Conflict.” Headline on www.foxnews.com, July 14, 2006 ...
“Peacekeeping requirements in Iraq might be much lower than historical experience in the Balkans suggests. There’s been none of the ... ethnic militias fighting one another that produced so much bloodshed ... in Bosnia.” Paul Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense and now president of the World Bank, Feb. 27, 2003
“West Baghdad is no stranger to bombings and killings, but in the past few days all restraint has vanished in an orgy of ‘ethnic cleansing.’ .... Mosques are being attacked. Scores of innocent civilians have been killed, their bodies left lying in the streets.” The Times of London, July 14, 2006
“Earlier this week, I traveled to Baghdad to visit the capital of a free and democratic Iraq.” President Bush, June 17, 2006.
“People are doing the same as [in] Saddam’s time and worse. ... These were the precise reasons that we fought Saddam and now we are seeing the same things.” Ayad Allawi, Mr. Bush’s choice as Iraq’s first post-Saddam prime minister, November 2005
“Iraq’s new government has another able leader in Speaker Mashhadani. ... He rejects the use of violence for political ends. And by agreeing to serve in a prominent role in this new unity government, he’s demonstrating leadership and courage.” President Bush, May 22, 2006
“Some people say ‘we saw you beheading, kidnappings and killing. In the end we even started kidnapping women who are our honor.’ These acts are not the work of Iraqis. I am sure that he who does this is a Jew and the son of a Jew.” Mahmoud Mashhadani, speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, July 13, 2006 ...
“Regime change in Iraq would bring about a number of benefits for the region. ...Extremists in the region would have to rethink their strategy of jihad. Moderates ... would take heart, and our ability to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process would be enhanced.” Vice President Cheney, Aug. 26, 2002
“Bush — The world is coming unglued before his eyes. His naïve dreams are a Wilsonian disaster.” Newsweek Conventional Wisdom Watch, July 24, 2006 edition
“It’s time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be the commander in chief for three more critical years, and that in matters of war, we undermine presidential credibility at our nation’s peril.” Senator Joseph Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut, Dec. 6, 2005
“I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now.” Representative Tom DeLay, Republican of Texas, on the campaign against Slobodan Milosevic, April 28, 1999