...that is Bu$hCo. Josh Marshall is right about the cliche Afghanistan has sadly become, but nonetheless is shows how the administration created the clusterfuck that is Iraq. It is sad reading, really, particularly for the 3707 American deaths in Iraq since 3/19/03.
My emphasis.The claim that President Bush took his eyes off the ball in Afghanistan so he could rush into disaster in Iraq has been repeated so many times that it is almost a cliche. A true cliche. But something like a cliche nonetheless. It becomes shocking again, however, when you look at it up close. The most charged issue in the US -- at least at the headline level -- is the failure to bag bin Laden. But that's not the only issue, in some ways not even the most important one because actually transforming Afghanistan (if that was possible, which I won't pretend to know the answer to) would at least arguably have been of more consequence that killing or capturing this one man.
And as long as we're on the subject, let's track back to our earlier discussion of President Bush's bogus 'democracy promotion agenda.' Remember, US policy makers have always been happy to push democracy on enemy states or among friends where there were no potential adverse policy consequences. The rub is always balancing support for democracy and the rule of law with more immediate policy needs.
So who are our main allied states in the War on Terror and the Muslim Middle East generally? The answer? Unquestionably, I think, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia -- one military dictatorship (if one with semi-constitutional and parliamentary attributes), with a military with a long history of ties to radical Islamists and another hereditary despotism riddled with sympathizers with radical Islamists.