A Strongman Scorned

Former Iraqi PM hops on the anti-Bush bandwagon:

“Yes, Bush’s policies failed utterly,” said Allawi, describing the U.S. administration that once backed him. “Utter failure. Failure of U.S. domestic and foreign policy, including fighting terrorism and economic policy.”

“His insistence on names like ‘democracy’ and ‘open elections’, without giving attention to political stability, was a big mistake. It cast shadows on Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Egypt, and I believe this will be remembered in history as President Bush’s policy,” he said.

A lot of truth to this, though of course Allawi shouldn’t be taken too seriously. His view was that being a cozy “pro-American” Iraqi leader ought to entitle him to being installed as permanent (“political stability”) strong man of Iraq at the tip of American bayonets. Bush tried it Allawi’s way for a while and his recognition that it wasn’t going to work out counts, in my view, as a non-error of the occupation regime. Indeed, quite the reverse. The smart pay would have been to seize advantage of Iraqi’s early 2005 elections, and the Iraqi public’s clear rejection at the polls of the Bush-Allawi vision for Iraq, to set a timeline for withdrawal way back then before the great civil war and ethnic cleansing of 2006 and 2007.