Ph.D.’s In Iraq February 11, 2007Posted by gordonwatts in politics.
We are doomed! Doomed, I tell you! 🙂 I saw this headline in the Seattle Times today:
Petraeus’ Iraq staff armed with lots of Ph.D.s
WASHINGTON — Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, who takes over today as U.S. commander in Iraq, is assembling a band of warrior-intellectuals in a crucial effort to reverse the downward trend in the Iraq war.
Members include a quirky Australian anthropologist, a Princeton economist who is the son of a former U.S. attorney general and a military expert on the Vietnam War sharply critical of its top commanders.
Petraeus is the new commander in charge of Iraq and implementing the surge and, well, bringing the country under control.
I like the headline: calling out a stark difference between the usual behavior in the Bush whitehouse (avoidance of science and other over-educated people). But when it comes down to this sort of thing I just hope these people with lots of education also have lots of experience. Iraq needs both a good deep background (i.e. education), experience, and the ability to be flexible. All three of these things have been missing from the Bush administration: the people he often appoints are political appointees — people who have little experience in their assigned task, frequently have not been schooled in the task at hand, and, like him, stick to a plan long after it is obvious it isn’t working well.
I wish this group good luck. I don’t see that there is a good outcome here, just less bad ones. And I hope that if it does fail, instead of looking for the latest scapegoat, Petraeus, we’ll remember that it is a long history that got us here full of mistakes and unaccomplished missions. I wish him best of luck. From the comfort of my sitting chair this seems like an almost impossible task.
… Which begs the question: had we had a good group in charge of Iraq from the start, would the idea of fostering a democracy there have ever had a chance? I suppose we’ll never know, and I sure as heck hope that we don’t try to repeat the same exercise in another country anytime soon.