I was astounded to find an Op-Ed by Paul Wolfowitz in today’s New York Times. The content of the piece is unremarkable – he suggests that we should use South Korea as a model for our future involvement in Iraq – but his mere presence in the newspaper is what I found shocking. Wolfowitz served as Deputy Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2005. In that capacity, he was the prime architect of our disastrous incursion into Iraq and the shameful (and fictional) public relations scam that sold the American people on the necessity of that undertaking.
The ineptitude of Wolfowitz and his co-conspirators in failing to plan for the post-war occupation of Iraq, detailed by Thomas Ricks in Fiasco and George Packer in The Assassins’ Gate, was grossly negligent and led to the death and injury of thousands of brave American soldiers whose sacrifice salvaged the Bush-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz mess in Iraq into the somewhat stable situation that exists today (stable for how long is another story). While Iraq may give the appearance of stability, the progeny of Wolfowitz’s destructive policies persist: if we had kept our focus on Afghanistan – the place where the terrorists who attacked us had come from – instead of shifting the bulk of our resources to the ill-fated occupation of Iraq, we might not be stuck in the quagmire that Afghanistan is today.
It probably should come as no surprise that the New York Times is assisting Wolfowitz’s rehabilitation. The Times, after all, completely abdicated its journalistic responsibility back then and became a willing participant in the Team Bush propaganda machine that so shamefully deceived the American public. All of this is an episode that Wolfowitz, the Times and countless others (especially the spineless Democrats in Congress who knew voting for war was a mistake but who couldn’t summon the courage to go against public opinion polls) would like us to forget. Please don’t.
NOTE: I’ve purposefully omitted a link to the Wolfowitz piece because I don’t want to reward him or the Times with a link. It’s easy enough to find if you want to read it.