War Aims

Continuing still further on some of these questions.

If the answer to the question, “What is the declared aim of the United States in Iraq?” is, “The establishment of a stable liberal democracy”, that’s not a sufficient answer. Because it doesn’t say how important that aim is, about what kinds of predictive standards we could use to judge whether it was being achieved, and whether or when we might judge that it had failed to be achieved.

This isn’t a war aim like “the unconditional surrender of the military and government of an enemy” or “taking and holding a particular territory or resource”. The achievement of those aims speaks for itself. This objective is different.

If the answer is, “Any and all prices are worth paying for this objective, and there is no predictive standard for failure which will be acceptable,” then that’s a laughably Green-Lanternish or pony-seeking answer. There’s no point in an ongoing conversation at that juncture.

I’m equally interested, however, in a tough and specific public conversation about what the forces fighting American troops in Iraq see as their aims. I don’t assume that state or political actors are rational, or have a transparent understanding of their own interests: they’re just as enmeshed in cultural, institutional and historic frameworks as anyone else.

But if I were an insurgent leader in Iraq who had a Machiavellian cast of mind, I might see the situation this way:

1) If I were associated with the Mahdi Army or other Shi’a militia groups or political associations, and I were strongly allied to and in conversation with the political leadership in Iran, I might well want US troops to remain in Iraq, off-balance and tied down enough so that they don’t interfere much with my activities, but not aggravated enough by my own activities that they make me an urgent target. Why? Because I can’t imagine a greater gift to the Iranian leadership than the embattled presence of US troops in Iraq. What better guarantee against a military attack on Iran could you ask for? If US troops are barely able to hold the situation together when Shi’a militias are only providing them with lower-level resistance, then the threat of a coordinated all-out resistance from both Shi’a militias and the Shi’a political and religious leadership in Iraq is a serious one. Beyond that, keeping US forces a bit off-balance while holding out hope for strategic partnership is also potentially a great way to use US military power to indirectly (or even directly) shore up Shi’a control of the central Iraqi state. If the US were to leave, then it would fall directly to more militant Shi’a interests to suppress or control Sunni communities and institutions, a much dicier business. But you don’t want to give the US an free hand, either, which means occasional flexing of muscles and keeping US forces under pressure.

2) If I were associated with al-Qaeda (or whatever we want to call the ‘foreign’ or international Islamicist militant presence in Iraq), then the presence of US troops is a godsend. It gives me a nearby target that I can hit with great persistence for big propaganda and mobilization benefits. It’s not just their presence: the fact that US troops are occupiers who have tortured prisoners, directly or indirectly caused the deaths of many civilians, and so on provides a propaganda victory before the insurgents have to do anything. Beyond that, however, almost anything these insurgents do while the US remains is a win-win situation. Keeping pressure on US forces, tying up US resources? Makes it harder to exert power in Afghanistan and Pakistan, let alone other possible theaters of operation. Killing US troops? Military and propaganda value. Spectacular acts of mass killing? Makes the US look feeble and unable to provide security, as long as the US is there and promising to stop such acts. Losing some of my own forces? Big deal, they’re dumb, young, idealistic volunteers from all over the world. More where they came from. This group isn’t in it for the sake of Iraqis, so they have no need to care whether or not Iraqis would like the US to withdraw. Of course, if the US withdraws, this group also satisfies a war aim–that’s a major embarassment for the US, roughly like the Soviets leaving Afghanistan. But there’s no particular reason to want the US gone.

3) Sunni nationalist insurgents. This is the only group that I can see has a genuine, sustained interest in a US withdrawal, and whose military and political actions might, in a clear-headed or calculated sense, be directed strongly at that objective. But at the same time, this group might well be interested in a political settlement, which is maybe what is starting to happen right now, because they might be able to leverage US desperation for some kind of stability in Iraq into a disproportionate allocation of state power or resources, something they probably can’t achieve on their own with military power if the US withdraws. On the other hand, the only way to buy that favorable settlement is to demonstrate the ability to inflict serious damage on US forces, and to continually remind the US of that capacity if there’s any sign it’s being taken for granted.

When I look at any possible endgame, I see two powerful and important antagonists that would just as soon see American troops remain, not as allies but as targets. So here’s another area where even if we set aside moral concerns and political differences, you could make a plausible argument that withdrawal frustrates rather than satisfies some of the US’ antagonists in Iraq.

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19 Responses to War Aims

  1. withywindle says:

    1) But we have had policy goals before that included the establishment of stable liberal democracies–in South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan, in Germany, France, and Italy, in Portugal, Spain, and Greece. In none of those cases were their predictive standards made of granite; in all of those cases a rough approximation could tell us how successful we had been at any given point in establishing those policy goals; in all these cases our policy goals were eventually met with due allowance taken for significant blemishes on their character as liberal democracies. But to be fuzzy in ones goals–which one might call a recognition of the Burkean complexity of the world, incidentally–is not to engage in infinite malleability. I think a desirable end-goal for Iraq will not exactly resemble Minnesota; I am under no illusions that the current state of affairs is a desirable end goal for Iraqi political institutions and culture.

    2) The comparison with unconditional surrender is misleading. Very few wars have ever sought, and established, unconditional surrender; most have been far more fuzzy in their goals and achievements. The Korean War, for example, is famously the war that ended in a frustrating stalemate, to preserve a dictatorial South Korea run by a caste of ex-collaborators with the Japanese. Even World War II, after all, ended sotto voce with an informal assurance to the Japanese that “unconditional surrender” meant “you will keep the Home Islands and the Emperor.” You are therefore setting up an unduly high, indeed unreal, standard of comparison.

    3) No, I’m not willing to pay any price to seek to democratize Iraq. I’m certainly willing to compromise on the liberal-democracy, and take, say, an Egyptian style thuggocracy as an infinite improvement on Hussein’s killing fields. But there’s no point in announcing a particular price limit in advance–that merely informs our enemies what they need to do to defeat us. Strategic ambiguity is in order. If I think such a point has been reached, I will simply say “enough is enough–time to end the war.” But I don’t intend to telegraph the move. Do keep in mind how grave a downside I see to withdrawal from Iraq, and my belief that in all probability it will lead swiftly to a far more bloody and expensive war.

    4) Your discussion of the aims of the various non-American actors (and their state sponsors–and really you should focus more attention on the state sponsors) elides the difference between “what do they most desire” and “what do they most desire given the presence of a large American army in Iraq”? For none of them is the presence of an American army in Iraq in itself desirable–it costs them blood and treasure, presents the destabilizing possibility of a liberal democracy on their borders, and presents a constant threat that American armed force will be used in unpredictable and lethal ways against them. (I doubt, for example, they were expecting or desiring the current surge in troops.) Absent an American army in Iraq, their goals could be, and I suspect would be, dynamically more harmful to American interests worldwide–truck bombs in London and Washington rather than in provincial cities in Iraq. When you say their goals desire the presence of an enfeebled American army in Iraq, this strikes me as assuming that we have done grave damage to our enemies, if that is the limit of their current ambitions.

    4) I am, however, somewhat skeptical of such “Machiavellian” interpretations–which do take as a leitmotif the idea that we should never intervene anywhere. I rather think our enemies hate and fear our army, and want it gone, full stop; the rest is making the best of a bad situation.

  2. Timothy Burke says:

    I don’t think that the establishment of stable liberal democracies was in fact the objective of US troop deployments post-war in South Korea (let alone our involvement in the war), nor was it in Taiwan. Not sure what US occupation and military administrations of Spain, Portugal or Greece that aimed to reverse previously non-democratic local governments you’re referring to. WWII France, either, given that we maintained that the true sovereign government of France was in fact our ally rather than a state we needed to occupy and democratize because of its previously undemocratic character. You’ve heard me talk before about why I think Germany and Japan are really lousy and inappropriate comparisons to Iraq, and I’ll throw Italy in for free on that.

    If you can’t specify limit conditions for your occupation because that somehow helps your opponent, then there really isn’t much point to pretending that a democratic society can deliberate meaningfully and publically in advance about the advisability of any war, is there? By that standard, any such discussion is a strategic and tactical mistake. It also lets you infinitely reset the discussion of current policy: war critics must, in this view, always be committing a kind of polite treason, and no error, misjudgement, cost, or defeat ever be acknowledged to be such. Which again leads me back to: what’s the point of a conversation at that point? Someone trying hard to set a consensus table who is a critic of the war has to lay all his cards on the table, while you get to keep everything in your hand. “I’d tell you why you’re wrong, but I’d be helping al-Qaeda, sorry. You’ll just have to trust me.”

  3. jpool says:

    On your 4.1, why are you appealing to deductive reasoning here, when the word from every (non-administration) expert on the ground that I’ve heard is that al Qaeda in Iraq is in fact intersted in the continued presence of U.S. troops. This is because, while they share with the Sunni insurgent the goal of a Sunni state in Iraq, they primarily see Iraq as the launching pad for an imagined global jihadist movement. As to your earlier post, I fail to see how the fact that Sunni insurgents and militias are turning against al-Qaeda in Iraq or other foreign fighters says anything about the moral equivalence of otherwise by which U.S. soldiers are viewed. This represents a failure on the part of al-Qaeda in Iraq, not our success by proxy. Your use of the phrase “blood and treasure” (what treasure? What are you talking about?) only reenforces the sense of an imagined world that your post gives.
    Of course, the fact that it’s in al-Qaeda in Iraq’s interest for our troops to stay is not reason in itself for us to withdraw (“If we don’t leave Iraq, the terrorists win.”), but it should give us pause about commiting to an endless struggle with a group whose reason for being is fighting us and convincing others to join in the fight against us.

  4. withywindle says:

    Our policies to establish liberal democracies were not just war-time policies. They were long term hopes at various crucial points of war–ultimately established–but also the object of quiet diplomacy during times of peace. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. The point is that establishing liberal democracy as a policy goal is a legitimate and successful American policy goal; it can be done by war, but not only by war–and, obviously, preferably by more peaceful means.

    I also note that war critics have changing yardsticks–the remarkably swift switch from promoting an increase in troops to promoting a withdrawal of troops being one example; the unwillingness to spell out the acceptable consequences of an American withdrawal from Iraq being another.

    As for meaningful and public deliberation–there is indeed an irresolveable tension between the imperatives of war and the imperatives of free discussion. I do not think the tension can be, or should be, fully resolved in either direction; there should be a tense tug-of-war between these two imperatives, unsatisfied and unstable. But I suspect you have a different definition of meaningful deliberation in mind–I think you have lurking Habermasian definitions in mind when you use such words, while I, as you may recollect, have a rhetorical revision of Habermas in mind. I actually think what is going on right now is a meaningful deliberation–competing slogans and half-truths, persuasive narrations of competing skeins of facts, competing rhetorics, are being submitted to the public for their judgment. They are ultimately irreconcilable, and the point is not to establish a monist consensus of belief, but rather to allow a pluralist society to reach a political decision while retaining the irreconcilable pluralisms of belief.

    As for the point of speech?–speech communicates your belief that the auditor is worthy of persuasion, capable of being persuaded, and capable of proper judgment; it is act of respect, and an act that continuingly constitutes the social and political community. (Therefore something of a duty.) Speech to the irreconcilable affirms your belief in a pluralist democracy, that does not require consensus on any given issue as a prerequisite for discourse or judgment. Speech temporarily sways some subset of the previously irreconcilable to a whole new skein of belief, and allows a political decision in a moment of time. Speech is the prevention of war; speech is love. To cease to speak to your fellow citizens is to cease to love them–to refuse to love them as they are, for all their flaws and evils. Speech is the imitatio Christi necessary for every citizen’s soul and every republic’s survival. Speech is a stone of hope.

  5. withywindle says:

    JPool: Again, absent an American army in Iraq, al Qaeda would have entirely different goals, not no goals; it takes a leap of faith to believe these goals would be no less harmful in intent and capacity than are their present ones. As to moral equivalence: I failed to provide a proper link, lacking sufficient HTML sills, but the reporting of Michael Yon and others has made it quite clear that the horrific, murderous brutality of al Qaeda toward Iraqis bears very great responsibility for the willingness of other Iraqis to ally with the Americans–that on the specific measure of brutality, the Iraqis perceive a very great difference between American and Iraqi behavior. If you do not believe this, you must posit 1) some other force sufficient to cause Iraqis to ally with us against al Qaeda, 2) that every Iraqi source, and every witness of al Qaeda slaughters, is lying about either the facts of al Qaeda brutality or its alienating effects on Iraqis; or 3) that the Anbar Awakening, etc., is not merely limited in effect, but actually non-existent. None of these theses is terribly convincing. As for blood and treasure: there is not, in point of fact, an infinite number of enemies with an infinite supply of money. Whatever their finite supply, a substantial portion has been spent opposing us in Iraq. That this has had trivial effect is another unlikely thesis.

  6. jpool says:

    OK, so this is a lovely performance of bad faith argumentation, but I’ll bite once more. I didn’t say that al-Qaeda in Iraq (and that suffix is worth repeating ad nauseum in order to avoid the unfortuante slippage the administration seems to be aiming for in its talking points) would have no goals absent an American military presence. In fact I noted that they had the goal of the creation of Sunni Islamic state.
    I’ve read the reporting about cases in which field commannders have experienced new successes in obtaining cooperation from local leaders as a result of disaffection with al-Qaeda in Iraq as well and I don’t recall questioning it. What I questioned was your em-dashed conclusion. My point was that strategic alliances by various Iraqis with U.S. forces against al-Qaeda in Iraq represent the latter’s failure rather than our success. It would be nice to believe that this also represented an appraissal of the relatve morality of U.S. forces and a finding in their favor, and maybe in some cases it does, but it seems just as likely to represent strategic pragmatism. I’ve also read reporting that has made the point that in the course of these alliances, in our zeal to pursue the fight against al-Qaeda in Iraq, we are very likely arming (by allowing them to keep captured weapons) various factions in the coming phases of the civil war (this could well be that “other force”).
    Finally, I see now that the blood and treasure phrase was Tim’s first (it still seems strange to me). Your underlying thesis, however, that it’s better that (however many) American soldiers and Iraqis die in Iraq than (any) Americans die in the U.S. is equal parts heartless and misguided. Yes, there are limited resources for sponsers of jihad to put into various operations, but a) recent events in England show this is not an either/or proposition, b) it is much more difficult to plan and carry successful terrorist actions against modern surveilance state than in the midst of a civil war, so it’s not like such resources could be easily transferred in that way, c) part of the reason why al Qaeda in Iraq is in Iraq is in hopes of launching a wider middle eastern jihad, so actionion in the west are actually less useful for that, and so d) there’s a greater likehood of such resources being redeployed towards fighting us in Afghanistan where they would face even harder fortunes. In light of all this, I find your argument about Iraq as sacrificial territory both inhumane and unconvincing.

  7. withywindle says:

    You should never assume bad faith where hasty reading may be responsible; beg pardon for skimming those sentences of yours too quickly.

    As for your other points: I didn’t say ten million American soldiers should die to protect one American civilian at home. (Should I accuse you of bad faith here, or, more charitably, think you read me too hastily?) The numbers are incalculable–risks, based on contingent particularities. But I take the 3,000 dead at the World Trade Center in one morning as the new benchmark of terrorist incidents I wish to prevent. And always, the possibility of bio-chem-nuclear weapons, where the fatalites rise to six and seven figures. (Shall I accuse you of heartlessness for taking the risks of these deaths so lightly?) Fighting in Iraq does not (immediately) guarantee the end of terror in Europe or America; the aim is to reduce it. And, no, such efforts are not perfectly fungible–but neither are they wholly distinct. I do think that terror in the West and the Middle East have positive feedback relations for one another, via the enheartening effects of global media, and their common effects on Western fighting morale. I don’t quite parse your statement about Afghanistan–are you saying the jihadis will have a tougher time fighting us there than in Iraq? It’s an interesting argument, although I’m not sure I believe it. Why do you think so? “Sacrificial territory” is your phrase, not mine; I would say “most advantageous available arena, where not fighting is not an option.” I cannot speak to my inability to convince you, but I do encourage you to consider that the preservation of human life is, in point of fact, a key value for me, and central to my support of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy.

  8. Timothy Burke says:

    Flatly, I think fighting in Iraq doesn’t make Europe or the United States any less vulnerable to direct terrorist attack. In the absolute best-case scenario, it’s a wash, the two don’t affect each other most. More probably, in my view, fighting in Iraq actually increases the chance of an attack simply because it’s been a good training experience for many international Islamicists. They’ve learned a lot without having their operations greatly impinged upon.

    Afghanistan strikes me as a different matter. I think what we did there exercised a serious deterrent effect on al-Qaeda’s planning. We said, in effect, “If you do something major, there will be a major and proportionate response that is directly aimed at your operations”. Iraq in contrast was a weirdly oblique non-response that probably puzzled and amused the al-Qaeda leadership as much as anything else, the equivalent of the United States launching an attack on Cuba because of a Venezuelan oil embargo.

  9. Doug says:

    Thus Josh Marshall on Monday, “The reason the war is unpopular is because people don’t think we are accomplishing anything that promotes our security or national interests — indeed, quite the contrary. Not because we’re not doing it right or not doing it well but because the whole concept is flawed.”

  10. Josh says:

    But I take the 3,000 dead at the World Trade Center in one morning as the new benchmark of terrorist incidents I wish to prevent.

    As do we all… but pulling off an attack on the scale of 9/11 is tremendously difficult, even under the best of circumstances, and much more unlikely than attacks on the scale of the Madrid bombings. (And bear in mind that 9//11 was far more effective than even Al-Qaeda had dreamt.)

    And always, the possibility of bio-chem-nuclear weapons, where the fatalites rise to six and seven figures.

    No. Biological and chemical weapons do not belong in the same category as nuclear weapons, and even the nukes that a terrorist organization would be likely to set off won’t kill a million people. (Wikipedia gives estimates of 140k dead at Hiroshima, and 74k dead at Nagasaki, just as a starting point.) Read Armchair Generalist a bit, and you’ll get a more realistic understanding of how dangerous biological and chemical weapons are.

  11. paul spencer says:

    I didn’t realize that an humanities-type academic could have such a narrow, ahistorical, and unrealistic view of the occupation in Iraq, considering that a large majority of us plebeian real-worlders are aware of the actual and potential situation. Wow, withywindle, I think that you have more of the Oldman Willow, than of Tom Bombadil.

    Let’s just look at one aspect of the matter – the ‘treasure’ that you dismiss is used to fund waste spending – i.e., bullets and bombs and scrap Humvees – instead of performing due diligence in inspection of incoming cargo containers. How do you think that the potential nuclear or chemical weapons are most likely to be delivered – at least in the near future?

    As far as liberal democracies implanted by the U.S. – my oh my. South Korea was the same kind of dictatorship that our government tried to set up in South Viet Nam. Spain – Franco was the President of a liberal democracy? Greece – it was a nasty counterrevolution to prevent the largest organization – the native Communists – from taking power in a democracy.

    Our country does best when it models our better character. Levis blue jeans and rock-and-or-roll brought down the Soviet Union – not to mention their own militaristic excesses. Italy, Germany, and Japan saw a valiant and successful foe as a good model. France only needed to have their worse side excised.

  12. nord says:

    How do I think nuclear or chemical weapons are most likely to be delivered in the near future? Here’s my list:

    1) USPS/UPS – purchased from domestic US sources and weaponized locally, ultimately driven to the target in a Uhaul truck.
    2) If they choose to weaponize overseas, I’d think they’d attack an overseas target, embassy, school, church, etc. first.
    3) If it could fit on a plane, they could charter a jet, if it fits on a boat, they could rent the boat. These last two involve risks of discovery before loading the weapon, but once the ship is loaded, it is unlikely to be detected or stopped before reaching the US. Unloading the ship before reaching port is very easy with a smaller boat.

    As an aside, far more cargo containers are “inspected” than most port officials would like to admit. Shrinkage starts on the boat and ends at the truck … . I assume a port worker would get a huge reward for discovering an al qaeda bomb in a container.

    Given the thousands of tons of drugs that are successfully imported into this country, despite billions of dollars spent by the US military, coast guard, and police forces, I always assumed many of the people who harp about port security are looking for backdoor ways to restrict foreign imports. Similarly, they is a segment of the population that believes nuclear power plants will _never_ be safe enough from terrorism, and therefore use that risk to prevent new plants, shut down existing plants, etc.

  13. withywindle says:

    1) I am aware of the distinction in expected kill between nukes and biochem. Next time I suppose I’ll take two sentences instead of one–I do think there is an imperative toward concision in blog comments, which I occasionally try to honor. The number of people in lower Manhattan at workday noon is quite high; I have no reason to believe that the first terrorist nuke is guaranteed to be at Hiroshima levels or below.

    2) My confidence in my views has nothing to do with my credentials, and I have always disavowed my credentials as giving me any particular perception into politics or history.

    3) I would be glad to spend more money on homeland security. It is not to the credit of the administration that they have done so little.

    4) The quiet and continuous pressure of America after 1945 on its allies to approach the norms of liberal democracy with all deliberate speed is a notable aspect of the history of our foreign policy. It is not the only aspect of our foreign policy; there have been cross-currents, some of them shameful; but it should not be ignored. The transitions from dictatorship to democracy in the various countries I have mentioned all have something to do with American foreign policy.

  14. Josh says:

    I am aware of the distinction in expected kill between nukes and biochem. Next time I suppose I’ll take two sentences instead of one–I do think there is an imperative toward concision in blog comments, which I occasionally try to honor.

    Which is why I didn’t accuse you of the same mendacity the administration showed in conflating nuclear and biological/chemical threats. Nonetheless, given that less-than-stellar example, you can understand why collapsing them into one category might be a bit of a sore spot.

    The number of people in lower Manhattan at workday noon is quite high; I have no reason to believe that the first terrorist nuke is guaranteed to be at Hiroshima levels or below.

    From casual Googling, it appears that the weapons that both Pakistan and India tested in 1998 were of roughly the same yield as the Hiroshima bomb. I’m not sure why you would believe that terrorists would be able to do better with fewer resources. Moreover, any terrorist nuke is almost certain to be a ground blast (rather than air), which will limit the area immediately affected (although fallout will be worse) and thus immediate casualties.

  15. paul spencer says:

    Nord – You suggest delivery of a nuclear weapon in the following order:

    1) USPS/UPS – purchased from domestic US sources and weaponized locally, ultimately driven to the target in a Uhaul truck. – Weapons-grade radioactive materials are supposed to be inventoried at the gram level by ‘owners’ and monitored by the AEC. If this is not fail-safe, then let us redesign the system and fund it according to its rather huge priority. As far as ‘weaponizing’, there aren’t that many people capable of performing this act. Having said that, I will agree with you that this is a potential route, and our federal government should work with diligence and vigilance to prevent such an approach.

    2) If they choose to weaponize overseas, I’d think they’d attack an overseas target, embassy, school, church, etc. first. – Perhaps, but I was writing about a potential domestic attack.

    3) If it could fit on a plane, they could charter a jet, if it fits on a boat, they could rent the boat. These last two involve risks of discovery before loading the weapon, – There is much more likelihood of discovery via the airplane scenario, since airport security is much more highly developed worldwide than seaport. Even the CIA ‘black ops’ airplanes were monitored, although left alone just because they were CIA. I do not disagree – as in the case of your first option – that these are impossible methods. Bribery, revenge, and other motives can be exploited at the points of departure or entry; but there are a lot of obstacles, too. The Coast Guard, for instance, is more aware of all forms of ocean traffic than you allow. Yes, one can evade them some of the time.

    You do, however, give much too much credit to the ship container inspection process. It is thin in general and uneven by region. Your remark about importation of illegal drugs probably speaks to this point – not to mention the problem of bribery and such in this case.

    withywindle – OK. U.S. foreign policy has at times worked to further development of some liberal democracies. Good for us. Now let’s focus on that type of behavior, instead of neo-imperialism.

  16. withywindle says:

    Josh: I find it unwise to assume incapacity in enemies–a folly 9/11 illustrated quite nicely. I expect nuclear terror to proceed from a hand off from a state sponsor (or some ideological or mercenary faction within the state), and I do not think we should assume a state nuke must be Hiroshima-sized or stronger. (The assumption will become more precarious with each year–should we assume the Pakistanis and Indians have done no engineering work since 1998?) And again, “limited area affected” is of limited comfort in so densely populated a place as NYC.

  17. Josh says:

    I find it unwise to assume incapacity in enemies–a folly 9/11 illustrated quite nicely.

    You call it “assum[ing] incapacity”, I call it attempting to make a realistic threat assessment. I’ve at least attempted to bring some facts into this discussion, while you seem to be, as jpool noted earlier, appealing solely to deductive reasoning.

  18. Doug says:

    “I find it unwise to assume incapacity in enemies–a folly 9/11 illustrated quite nicely.”

    Indeed. When the Clinton team left, they told the incoming Bush team, “You will spend more time on proliferation and terrorism than you will on anything else,” and the Bush team effectively responded, “No, no, no, we’re gonna do Star Wars and China and deal with other states.” Richard Clarke, who stayed on to work for Bush (as he had stayed on from the previous Bush to work for Clinton) gives chapter and verse in his book. We know how well that turned out.

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