Leslie Gelb, a leading liberal interventionist at the Pentagon, the State Department, the Council on Foreign Relations and the New York Times, died last Saturday. Gelb’s most famous statement was his explanation in 2009 of why he had supported the Iraq War, a quote that even the Times used in his obituary.
My initial support for the war was symptomatic of unfortunate tendencies within the foreign policy community, namely the disposition and incentives to support wars to retain political and professional credibility.
Good to know. Those “unfortunate tendencies within the foreign policy community” continued unabated throughout the Obama administration. Ben Rhodes’s memoir:
Rhodes says pressure to attack Iran came from experts who had been “wrong on Iraq,” but were still influential.
“You have to bomb something,” one unnamed expert tells him.
“What?” Rhodes ask.
“It doesn’t matter. You have to use military force somewhere to show that you will bomb something.”
Obama bombed five Arab countries…
Those “unfortunate tendencies” continue to this day. From the Times this week:
And yet Trump’s last-minute decision to abort the attack [on Iran] in June led to a concern among Iran hawks in both Israel and the United States: that the president ultimately might not have the resolve to confront the threat with military force.
As Pete Seeger used to sing, When will they ever learn?