April 27, 2008


The Washington Times, a vanguard of the liberal anti-war media propaganda machine if there ever was one, savages Doug Feith, one of the Iraq war's architects, and his new memoir War and Decision:

There is a lot to recommend "War and Decision," Douglas J. Feith's apologia of his 2001-2005 tour as Donald Rumsfeld's under secretary of defense for policy. Few books have chronicled the labyrinthine, cutthroat process of policy-making from the inside in as detailed a manner as has Mr. Feith. Mr. Feith is also a fine writer. But the most important contribution "W&D" makes to the growing body of literature about Afghanistan, Iraq, and the war on terror and why it should be required reading in schools of public service and government was probably inadvertent on Mr. Feith's part.

"W&D" should be widely read so we never again make the mistakes Mr. Feith and his fellow Pentagon, State Department, CIA and White House senior political staffers made during their planning and execution of the Iraq war, or their tunnel vision abandonment of a successful Afghan campaign that has condemned us to near stalemate and a rejuvenated, opium-funded Taliban. It is obvious Mr. Feith is bright. His vacuity about the real world, however, is shocking.

But not unexpected. Mr. Feith's entire professional life has been spent either in the practice of law or the development of public policy. Thus, he comes off as the textbook example of someone to whom process is more important than victory. Mr. Feith loses sight of the real battlefields — the ones on which soldiers die — in favor of the paper wars fought between competing factions of bureaucrats.


For those who don't follow the beltway book tours, Feith has been making the rounds promoting his book at various policy venues throughtout DC. Dr. iRack was at one of these events and was shocked, just shocked (!) at the degree to which Feith managed to blame everybody else (State, CIA, the White House) for the pre/"post" war mistakes (e.g., bad intelligence on Saddam's WMD and AQ links, poor Phase IV planning, failures during the early occupation, etc.) even though, as Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, his Office of Special Plans was in the thick of these decisions. (Dana Milbank over at the Post had a similar reaction after listening to one of Feith's self-delusional, er, I mean, self-promotional book events.) Now that there are warring memoirs (Bremer, Tenet, Feith, etc.), Dr. iRack looks forward to seeing the circular firing squad begin in earnest. Expect many accusations and counter accusation from former Bush administration folks moving forward. Dr. iRack for one wants to see Richard Armitage, the "round mound of diplomacy," square off against Feith in a cage match for the ages!

Tip of the hat to Laura Rozen over at War and Piece for flagging the Washington Times review.