You've probably read Rajiv Chandrasekaran's account in the Washington Post today of how the Iraq occupation became, in part, an employment agency for the children or relatives of well-connected Republican party operatives or ideologically correct hacks, with much less expertise than others turned down. In the immortal words of Abe Simpson, it's a story that angers up the blood. The guy in charge? James O'Beirne, the husband of National Review's Kate O'Beirne. So many pundits married to so many party officials - it gets hard to keep them straight at times.

As for the underlying story, it is simply of a piece with the impression that John DiIulio got when he quit the Bush administration in disgust. The only thing that matters in this White House is politics. The substance of policy is secondary. If Bush ran a war with the dedication, ruthlessness and attention to detail that he brings to bear on a political campaign, then he might actually have a strategy for winning one. And, as Jon Chait points out, the more we find out about the spectacular recklessness of this administration's conduct of the war the less persuasive it is that this operation was always doomed to failure. In my view, although the war was always going to be extremely difficult, it wasn't necessarily doomed from the start. It was the administration's relentless, politicized incompetence that doomed it.

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