How can one not envy a writer who, in calling for a full airing of the wrong—headedness of the Scowcroftians, begins his essay this way?
The sole point of the non—findings of the Fitzgerald non—investigation, into the non—commission of non—crimes and the non—outing of a non—covert CIA bureaucrat, is (as Messrs. Kerry, Krugman, Rich, and others keep reminding us) that it might even yet trigger the long—awaited inquest into the Iraq intervention. I very strongly hope that there is a full—dress postmortem into this country's Iraq policy, though I am not ready to assume that "inquest" or "postmortem" are the correct terms for it. Let's just say a serious blue—ribbon, bipartisan, full—out inquiry. This inquiry, however, could hardly be confined—as Kerry, Krugman, and Rich so obviously hope—to the years 2001—05.
At the very minimum, the starting point of such a retrospective should be the decision, in 1991, to confirm Saddam Hussein in power after his expulsion from Kuwait and to keep his population under international sanctions. Another place to begin might be the apparent "green light," given by the Carter administration, for Saddam Hussein's invasion of Iran. Real specialists and buffs might wish to start with the role of the CIA in the 1960s military coup—or coups—that brought the Baath Party to power in Baghdad in the first place.
Jeffrey Goldberg's widely discussed essay on Brent Scowcroft's politics, published in The New Yorker of Oct. 31, makes an ideal starting point. It reminds us, for one thing, that the root—and—branch opposition to regime change in 2003 came not from the left, but from the right. There were many vocal leftists on the streets at that moment, as we all remember, but their slogans were so puerile (a war for Halliburton and all that) as to make them ignorable. Far more to the point were the arguments made by conservatives and "realists" to the effect that the status quo in the Middle East was preferable to any likely alternative. My impression is that Mr. Goldberg paid out enough rope to Gen. Scowcroft to allow him to hang himself, most especially at the critical stage where the old reactionary proudly announced that the pre—existing status quo had meant: "Fifty years of peace."
Clarice Feldman 11 01 05