Bush officials are finally coming to grips with reality in Iraq. Circa 2003.
As The Washington Post reported
Sunday, it's out with ideological purity, and in with "a sense of reality," as the administration tries to undo the many errors made handling Iraq's reconstruction (privatizing state factories, de-Baathification, etc.).
The piece focuses on one Timothy Carney, exactly the sort of battle seasoned, quick thinking, feet-firm-on-the-ground type you'd want helping with reconstruction, and who left his senior post in disgust only a few months after the U.S. took over in 2003.
Why? For instance:
"This is a big mistake," Carney thought in May 2003, when Bremer told senior CPA officials that he would soon issue an edict prohibiting many former members of Hussein's Baath Party from holding government jobs....
From the moment the order was issued, most of Carney's time was devoted to de-Baathification. He held long meetings with the industry ministry's management, first to explain the policy and then to comb through records to identify people who were ineligible for future employment.
"It was a terrible waste of time," Carney said. "There were so many more important things we should have been doing, like starting factories and paying salaries."
After a few months, the CPA began to receive reports that 10,000 to 15,000 teachers had been fired because of the de-Baathification order. In some Sunni-dominated areas, entire schools were left with just one or two teachers.
Now Carney has been tapped to help roll back those efforts (setting up a clash with Iraq de-Baathification kingpin Ahmad Chalabi) and, as the new Iraqi reconstruction czar, do what he wished he could have done four years ago.