Wise Old Toddlers.

Wise Old Toddlers.


There’s the criticism from the Left: Bush lied, we had no right, think of the children. In other words, bad idea from the start.

There’s the criticism from the Right: Too little, too poorly planned, too stupid. In other words, good idea, screwed up by Mr. Bush.

Regular readers know that I choose: B. I think attempting to liberate Iraq and ram democracy down the unwilling throats of medieval tribesmen, just as we rammed it down the unwilling throats of savage Germans and mentally disturbed Japanese, was not a horrible idea. (I’ve detailed many times what I see as Mr. Bush’s criminal incompetence, so let’s not take the stick to that dead horse again.)

Now we see, mostly on the blogs, an option C: the Toddler Option.

Adult to toddler: Honey, that frog is dead.

Toddler to adult: No it’s not.

Adult: Sweetie, look, his body is in one place and his head is across the street. He’d dead.

Toddler: Unh unh. He likes his head to be there. He always liked it when his head was somewhere else.

What’s fascinating to me is that those who choose the Toddler Option fancy themselves wise. They see themselves as the calm, chin-stroking wise men who refuse to be swayed by momentary passions, harrumph, harrumph.

Toddler: We always said it would be bloody.

Adult: No, you said it would be a cakewalk.

Toddler: Everyone knew there would be difficult patches.

Adult: The Iraqi police are militia death squads, refugees are fleeing the killing that takes place right under our noses, the Iraqi army keeps ‘standing up’ and yet we’re sending more guys, our army is overstretched, our own intel admit that Iraq is the new jihadist training ground and that it’s been a boon to terrorist recruiting, the Syrians are less afraid of us and the Iranians are laughing as they process fissile materials right next door.

Toddler: Yes, of course, exactly what we always said would happen. And a good thing, too.

Adult: Oh, and it’s cost us hundreds of billions.

Toddler: Yes, just as we said: it’s paying for itself. Why, it’s working out marvelously. Just you don’t lose heart. You’ll see.

Here would be my point to the Toddlers: you can’t fix it unless you admit it’s broken. And by refusing from the start to ever admit that anything was wrong, you ensured it never got fixed. And now that frog is dead.

(Cross posted from Mighty Middle.)

  • Joshua

    [B]y refusing from the start to ever admit that anything was wrong, you ensured it never got fixed. And now that frog is dead.

    Maybe that’s not such a good analogy after all. How do you “fix” a decapitated frog?

    Other than that, great post.

  • http://www.mightymiddle.com/ Michael Reynolds

    Hmmm. Super glue?

  • Don

    While Bush is certainly incompetent, let’s spread the blame around a little. Gulf II featured many of the same key players as Gulf I, but with a few voices of sanity missing. In his autobio, Schwartzkopf notes that there were a handful of voices in Bush41’s inner circle who were pushing for an offensive strike with his defensive force, without additional forces requested by CentCom. While most aren’t named, he does note that SecDef Cheney dreamt up several offensive strategies that were (politely) dismissed by Schwartzkopf’s planners and the JCS. Had the ‘hawks in the White House’ been successful, Gulf I would have been much bloodier than it turned out.

    Many of Bush41’s inner circle became insiders in the Bush43 administration. Throw in Rumsfeld, a far more intimidating, far less accomodating, and equally incompetent armchair general than his protege as SecDef; top it off with a careerist Pentagon staff; and mix for the massive fiasco the US is in up to the eyeballs.

    As President, Bush should bear ultimate responsibility for the failure of Iraq, but he wasn’t the one setting the strategy or calling the shots on the ground.