The administration has "actively rejected expertise and embraced ignorance"
We probably won't know in my life time how much damage the Mayberry Machiavellis of the Bush administration have done. One bad decision after another and a total inability to govern. A potential success story in Afghanistan was abandoned for what was always destined to be a failure in Iraq because the Bush/Cheney cabal refused to listen to anyone who didn't tell them what they wanted to hear. If our children and grandchildren even have a future it will be a much darker one because of the Mayberry Machiavellis. An example of someone who knew but was ignored can be found in
Ahmed Rashid: Bush Didn't Listen
For three decades, Ahmed has been investigating the nexus between the Pakistan military and extremist groups, roving tribal lands in between Pakistan and Afghanistan.Afghanistan could have been a success story but...
Ahmed believes his research is worth the risk. The mountains and valleys surrounding Afghanistan are among the least understood parts of the globe, he says. And he believes his findings help policymakers understand and alleviate tensions in the volatile region. He's shared his research with the world and has had high hopes, particularly for successive U.S. administrations. In recent years that hope has been dashed.
Until Bush came into office, Ahmed thought his words mattered to America. In the 1980s, he discussed Taliban resistance with ambassadors over tea. In the 1990s, he collaborated with policymakers to raise Afghanistan's profile in the Clinton White House. But during the Bush administration, he feels his risky research has been for naught.
Ahmed traversed the city’s bureaucracies and think tanks repeating “one common sense line”: In Afghanistan you have a “population on its knees, with nothing there, absolutely livid with the Taliban and the Arabs of Al Qaeda . . . willing to take anything.” The U.S. could "rebuild Afghanistan very quickly, very cheaply and make it a showcase in the Muslim world that says ‘Look U.S. intervention is not all about killing and bombing; it’s also about rebuilding and reconstruction…about American goodness and largesse.”Go read the entire article.
Many lifelong bureaucrats specializing in the region shared Ahmed's enthusiasm, and they agreed that after decades of violence, America could finally turn Afghanistan around through aid. But the biggest players in Bush's government, Ahmed says, had already shifted their attention to Iraq "abandoning Afghanistan at its moment of need."