A final point. What is depressing is that a host of formal civilian and military officials, who during their tenure assured everyone that victory over the insurgents was in sight, then, upon leaving in the wake of criticism (one thinks of Bremer, Franks, Sanchez, etc.), post facto lambasted the effort. The net effect is a lack of credibility among the military and civilian overseers sort of 'why should I believe you now, since when and if you are relieved, you will only retroactively tell us how bad was what you now say is good.'Item #2 comes from David Ignatius, suggesting that the United States needs a "dignity agenda" as much as it needs a "democracy agenda":
A final item on my dignity reading list is "Violent Politics," a new book by the iconoclastic historian William R. Polk. He examines 10 insurgencies through history from the American Revolution to the Irish struggle for independence to the Afghan resistance to Soviet occupation to make a stunningly simple point, which we managed to forget in Iraq: People don't like to be told what to do by outsiders. "The very presence of foreigners, indeed, stimulates the sense first of apartness and ultimately of group cohesion." Foreign intervention offends people's dignity, Polk reminds us. That's why insurgencies are so hard to defeat.Italics mine. In tomorrow's edition of DOTO: our foreign policy should probably consist of more than war, the threat of war, and contempt for anyone who questions war. There will be a quiz at 11.