Daniel Drezner has a piece in Slate in which he says that there are essentially three critiques of Bush administration foreign policy.
They are ...
First, Bush is a crazy fascist madman who will destroy the world but not before making sure Halliburton makes some money off it.
Second, Bush administration unilateralism endangers the medium-term to long-term security of the United States.
Third, the Bush administration is hopelessly incompetent at executing its desired policies.
(Those are my paraphrases, yes. But I think these capture his meaning.)
Then Drezner writes "Process criticisms have begun to appear more frequently in the mainstream media. What's interesting about these critiques is that they come primarily from Bush sympathizers."
Now, before unsheathing the shiv, let me say that I'm a big fan of Drezner and his site (it's one of six blogs that I have on my own personal links page).
But that last line is certainly false. If I wanted to push pride of authorship I could point to this article from over a year ago. But the truth is that the president's center-left critics have been all over the competence issue, like flies on you know what -- which actually isn't such a bad analogy.
And not just in Iraq, but in East Asia and Latin America too. And did I mention Turkey?
So yes, the conservatives that Drezner mentions have gotten on the incompetence bandwagon. (Welcome aboard) But they didn't discover this line of critique. It's just become so glaringly obvious that it's now impossible for even them to ignore.
Later, we'll get to why critiques two and three are intrinsically connected.
LATE UPDATE: My reading was rather limited while I was sick so I had not noticed that on his blog Drezner mentions my hammering of this competence issue. So let me correct that point, though I still think he gives shortshrift to a lot of other center-left commentators who have done the same.