I was trying to read and research the policies leading to the release yesterday of the Council on Foreign Relations Report on Nation Building [all cites below].  Remembering one specific article in The Atlantic from ’02, I found another:

The Administration apparently discovered the Iraqi nuclear threat when it read the results of a New York Times/CBS poll last November which suggested that of all the reasons offered as justification for fighting Iraq, the only one resonating with the American public was the need to keep Saddam Hussein’s finger off the nuclear trigger. Within days Bush was warning that Iraq was only a few months away from detonating a crude nuclear device and that the United States itself could be imperiled.

Followed by this:

The notion that Iraq was a near-term nuclear threat was perhaps contrived to undercut those who wanted to give economic sanctions an additional twelve to eighteen months to work before war was considered.

::Sounds eerily familiar::
The article is from the July 1991 Atlantic, written by Christopher Layne.  I don’t remember the article, but then there were so many during the war with Iraq – the first war – that this one may have just slipped by.  Looking forward the author issued a cautionary note about “Nation-Building”:  

” The war has produced the intoxicating belief that American power is unchallenged and that Washington can lay down the rules for behavior both among the nations and within them. But Americans should beware of the overweening ambition that is born of hubris. The world is not infinitely malleable. The United States has seldom done well trying to stage-manage the process of political change in other countries. It is the people in those countries who pay the price when American experiments in “nation-building” go awry. There are many problems in the world but few of them have “Made in America” solutions.”  [Christopher Layne, Why the Gulf War Was Not in the national Interest, Atlantic Online]

James Fallows wrote The Fifty-First State (subsc. req’d) in November 2002, which laid out a post-war Iraq chronology.  Painfully accurate in it’s depiction of steps that should have been – but were not – taken to secure the country from exactly the situation as it exists today.

Now comes the report [pdf] on nation-building by the Council on Foreign Relations, which attacks the problems faced when America engages in nation-building without full consideration of the aftermath of the first phase:  war:

Assessing and Addressing the Need

The higher priority now accorded to nation-building has yet to be matched by a  comprehensive policy or institutional capacity within the U.S. government to engage successfully in stabilization and reconstruction missions.

Massive understatement.  I wrote this to provide links to the report, and a couple of background articles that illustrate the fatal errors committed by policy-makers.  The list of mistakes in both foreign policy and defense are simply too long. Read the articles if you have time.  

Who the f*ck are these people?  The scary part is we were told.  They told us what they were doing, and what they wanted to do from the day they stepped into the WH in 2001.  This is one of those days when I feel incredibly f*cking stupid for not connecting this administration to that administration. (Actually think it goes back further).

Mo’ coffee, a little housework/honey-do’s.  Watch the clouds and the breeze through the trees for awhile.  Better than rage.  For now.

[UPDATED] Extended comments.

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