The Price of Iraq

Here's my chosen excerpt from Evan Thomas' Newsweek cover story on the hunt for bin Laden:

When Franks refused to send Army Rangers into the mountains at Tora Bora, he was already in the early stages of planning for the next war. By early 2002, new Predators—aerial drones that might have helped the search for bin Laden—were instead being diverted off the assembly line for possible use in Iraq. The military's most elite commando unit, Delta Force, was transferred from Afghanistan to prep for the invasion of Iraq. The Fifth Special Forces Group, including the best Arabic speakers, was sent home to retool for Iraq, replaced by the Seventh Special Forces Group—Spanish speakers with mostly Latin American experience. The most knowledgeable CIA case officers, the ones with tribal contacts, were rotated out. Replacing a fluent Arabic speaker and intellectual, the new CIA station chief in Kabul was a stickler for starting meetings on time (his own watch was always seven minutes fast) but allowed that he had read only one book on Afghanistan.

At any rate, you're welcome to pick your own paragraph, but that's my favorite. Certainly, it's a point that I think Democrats are going to want to emphasize in the 2008 election, which is why I think it would be smart for Democrats to, insofar as possible, not nominate people who think authorizing the invasion of Iraq was a good idea.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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