jueves, 7 de diciembre de 2006

Los "neocons" y el fracaso en Irak

Un artículo muy interesante en Vanity Fair sobre la evaluación que hacen hoy los neocons del fracaso en Irak. ¿Qué salió mal? Es un tema muy interesante para analizar la racionalidad de la decisión de invadir y otras posteriores. En un post anterior me referí a la "irracionalidad" de Saddam Hussein: ¿por qué no aceptó las inspecciones de Naciones Unidas, si no tenía armas de destrucción masiva, y terminó encarcelado? http://martintanaka.blogspot.com/2006/10/la-iracionalidad-de-sadam-hussein.html Ahora quiero explorar la racionalidad de los invasores. En efecto, ¿cómo explicar la decisión de invadir, viendo ahora tan malos resultados? Ahora que los neocons están desprestigiados, Bush aparentemente liquidado, y las tropas en EU. planeando la salida, derrotados, cabe preguntarse por la racionalidad de las decisiones.

¿Dónde queda el argumento de que se invadió para quedarse allí y controlar el petróleo? ¿O el que decía que a partir de allí se invadiría Siria e Irán? ¿Que todo esto era un plan minuciosamente armado de expansión imperial? ¿O es que eso es lo que se buscaba, y todo salió mal? En ese caso, ¿qué falló?

En el artículo lo que se ve es que los neocons no piensan que la decisión de invadir fuera mala, sino que fue pésimamente ejecutada. Un problema de mala administración, mala gestión, un problema de ineficiencia, y de malas decisiones de personal incompetente. Y un presidente con un liderazgo cuestionable. Sin embargo, más allá de estos problemas contingentes, los problemas institucionales asociados al "State Building" ya se debatían antes de tomarse la decisión de invadir (ver mi artículo "El pensamiento de los 'halcones' de la Casa Blanca, http://www.desco.org.pe/publicaciones/QH/QH/qh141mt.htm).

Por ahora, me parece que estamos ante un problema de irracionalidad: un sector excesivamente ideologizado, que empujó una decisión sin medir sus consecuencias, sin atender las advertencias que se le hacían, sin considerar la evidencia disponible, empujado por la premura de aprovechar una oportunidad "histórica" abierta después del 11 de septiembre de 2001. Paradójico: Hussein aparece, en cierto modo, como un actor más racional en su estrategia que los halcones. Hussein jugó a blufear con la posesión de armas de destrucción masiva, apoyado por la posición de Rusia y Francia ("EU no se atreverá a invadir"); con la información que tenía, parecía una estrategia racional. Los que no lo fueron fueron los halcones, que, excesivamente ideologizados, se metieron a una aventura cuyo desenlace actual era previsible. En mi artículo de 2003 decía:

"Pero si bien Bagdad cayó pronto, también rápidamente empezaron a verse los problemas involucrados en la «construcción de naciones» (nation building) que los halcones le habían criticado antes a Clinton: saqueos, caos, descontento, manifestaciones en contra de la presencia norteamericana, etc. Creo que a partir de ahora se harán cada vez más evidentes las limitaciones del pensamiento y las estrategias de los «halcones». Es que si bien pudieron ser persuasivos en la necesidad de terminar con Hussein y eficientes en cuanto a imponer el poder militar, son ahora terriblemente torpes para manejar la transición a un gobierno legítimo en Irak, y lidiar con las consecuencias que tiene su total descrédito en el Medio Oriente y en todo el mundo".

Termino con un punto, preocupante. Ahora que se habla de que las tropas de EU deben dejar Irak y cambiar de política... ¿qué? El artículo de Vanity Fair termina diciendo:

"All the neocons are adamant that, however hard it may be, stabilizing Iraq is the only option. The consequences of a precipitous withdrawal, they say, would be far worse. Listening to them make this argument, I cannot avoid drawing a deeply disturbing conclusion. One of the reasons we are in this mess is that the neocons' gleaming pre-war promises turned out to be wrong. The truly horrifying possibility is that, this time, they may be right".

Es un comentario sobre el que cabe meditar seriamente. Los problemas no se resolverán mágicamente con el simple retiro de los EU.

Neo Culpa

Please don't call them "architects of the war": Richard (Prince of Darkness) Perle, David (Axis of Evil) Frum, Kenneth (Cakewalk) Adelman, and other elite neoconservatives who pushed for the invasion of Iraq are beside themselves at the result.

by David Rose January 2007

I: About That Cakewalk …

I remember sitting with Richard Perle in his suite at London's Grosvenor House hotel and receiving a private lecture on the importance of securing victory in Iraq. "Iraq is a very good candidate for democratic reform," he said. "It won't be Westminster overnight, but the great democracies of the world didn't achieve the full, rich structure of democratic governance overnight. The Iraqis have a decent chance of succeeding."

In addition to a whiff of gunpowder, Perle seemed to exude the scent of liberation—not only for Iraqis, but for all the Middle East. After the fall of Saddam Hussein, Perle suggested, Iranian reformers would feel emboldened to change their own regime, while Syria would take seriously American demands to cease its support for terrorists.

Perle had spent much of the 1990s urging the ouster of Saddam Hussein. He had co-founded the Project for the New American Century, a neoconservative think tank that agitated for Saddam's removal, and he had helped to engineer the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act, which established regime change as formal U.S. policy. After the accession of George W. Bush, in 2001, Perle was appointed chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee, and at its first meeting after 9/11—attended by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz; and Rumsfeld's No. 3, Douglas Feith—Perle arranged a presentation from the exiled Iraqi dissident Ahmad Chalabi. Perle wanted to shut down terrorist havens—not only in Afghanistan but also in Iraq. When we spoke at Grosvenor House, it was late February 2003, and the culmination of all this effort—Operation Iraqi Freedom—was less than a month away.

Three years later, Perle and I meet again, at his home outside Washington, D.C. It is October 2006, the worst month for U.S. casualties in Iraq in nearly two years, and Republicans are bracing for what will prove to be sweeping losses in the upcoming midterm elections. As he looks into my eyes, speaking slowly and with obvious deliberation, Perle is unrecognizable as the confident hawk I once knew. "The levels of brutality that we've seen are truly horrifying, and I have to say, I underestimated the depravity," Perle says, adding that total defeat—an American withdrawal that leaves Iraq as an anarchic "failed state"—is not yet inevitable, but is becoming more likely. "And then," he says, "you'll get all the mayhem that the world is capable of creating."

According to Perle, who left the Defense Policy Board in 2004, this unfolding catastrophe has a central cause: devastating dysfunction within the Bush administration. The policy process has been nothing short of "disastrous," he says. "The decisions did not get made that should have been. They didn't get made in a timely fashion, and the differences were argued out endlessly. At the end of the day, you have to hold the president responsible.… I think he was led to believe that things were chugging along far more purposefully and coherently than in fact they were. I think he didn't realize the depth of the disputes underneath. I don't think he realized the extent of the opposition within his own administration, and the disloyalty."

Perle goes as far as to say that, if he had his time over, he would not advocate an invasion of Iraq: "I think if I had been delphic, and had seen where we are today, and people had said, 'Should we go into Iraq?,' I think now I probably would have said, 'No, let's consider other strategies for dealing with the thing that concerns us most, which is Saddam supplying weapons of mass destruction to terrorists.' … I don't say that because I no longer believe that Saddam had the capability to produce weapons of mass destruction, or that he was not in contact with terrorists. I believe those two premises were both correct. Could we have managed that threat by means other than a direct military intervention? Well, maybe we could have."

Having spoken with Perle, I wonder: What do the rest of the war's neoconservative proponents think? If the much-caricatured "Prince of Darkness" is now plagued with doubt, how do his comrades-in-arms feel? I am particularly interested in finding out because I interviewed some of the neocons before the invasion and, like many people, found much to admire in their vision of spreading democracy in the Middle East.

I expect to encounter disappointment. What I find instead is despair, and fury at the incompetence of the Bush administration many neocons once saw as their brightest hope.

David Frum, the former White House speechwriter who co-wrote Bush's 2002 State of the Union address, accusing Iraq of being part of an "axis of evil," says it now looks as if defeat may be inescapable, because "the insurgency has proven it can kill anyone who cooperates, and the United States and its friends have failed to prove that it can protect them. If you are your typical, human non-hero, then it's very hard at this point to justify to yourself and your family taking any risks at all on behalf of the coalition." This situation, he says, must ultimately be blamed on "failure at the center."

Kenneth Adelman, a longtime neocon activist and Pentagon insider who has served on the Defense Policy Board, wrote a famous op-ed article in The Washington Post in February 2002, arguing, "I believe that demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk." Now he says, "I am extremely disappointed by the outcome in Iraq, because I just presumed that what I considered to be the most competent national-security team since Truman was indeed going to be competent. They turned out to be among the most incompetent teams in the postwar era. Not only did each of them, individually, have enormous flaws, but together they were deadly, dysfunctional."

Fearing that worse is still to come, Adelman believes that neoconservatism itself—what he defines as "the idea of a tough foreign policy on behalf of morality, the idea of using our power for moral good in the world"—is dead, at least for a generation. After Iraq, he says, "it's not going to sell." And if he, too, had his time over, Adelman says, "I would write an article that would be skeptical over whether there would be a performance that would be good enough to implement our policy. The policy can be absolutely right, and noble, beneficial, but if you can't execute it, it's useless, just useless. I guess that's what I would have said: that Bush's arguments are absolutely right, but you know what? You just have to put them in the drawer marked CAN'T DO. And that's very different from LET'S GO."

James Woolsey, another Defense Policy Board member, who served as director of the C.I.A. under President Clinton, lobbied for an Iraq invasion with a prodigious output of articles, speeches, and television interviews. At a public debate hosted by Vanity Fair in September 2004, he was still happy to argue for the motion that "George W. Bush has made the world a safer place." Now he draws explicit parallels between Iraq and Vietnam, aghast at what he sees as profound American errors that have ignored the lessons learned so painfully 40 years ago. He has not given up hope: "As of mid-October of '06, the outcome isn't clear yet." But if, says Woolsey, as now seems quite possible, the Iraqi adventure ends with American defeat, the consequences will be "awful, awful.… It will convince the jihadis and al-Qaeda-in-Iraq types as well as the residual Ba'thists that we are a paper tiger, and they or anybody they want to help can take us on anywhere and anytime they want and be effective, that we don't have the stomach to stay and fight."

Professor Eliot Cohen of Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, yet another Defense Policy Board member and longtime advocate of ousting Saddam Hussein, is even more pessimistic: "People sometimes ask me, 'If you knew then what you know now, would you still have been in favor of the war?' Usually they're thinking about the W.M.D. stuff. My response is that the thing I know now that I did not know then is just how incredibly incompetent we would be, which is the most sobering part of all this. I'm pretty grim. I think we're heading for a very dark world, because the long-term consequences of this are very large, not just for Iraq, not just for the region, but globally—for our reputation, for what the Iranians do, all kinds of stuff."

II: Let the Finger-Pointing Begin (...)

[El texto completo en: http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/01/neocons200701?printable=true&currentPage=all]

1 comentario:

Anónimo dijo...

Està muy interesante este post sobre los neoconservadores, me ha servido porque yo realizó una tesina donde incluye este tema y he usado un texto suyo que salió en Quehacer (El pensamiento de los halcones). En mi blog (http://realpolicy.wordpress.com) he recomendado la lectura de la revista Foreign Policy en donde uno de sus miembros da algunas ideas de como recuperarse despues del fracaso en Irak en él el autor indica que es hora de utilizar el "poder blando" americano.