by Patrick Appel
[T]he O.M.B.’s $60 billion estimate [for the Iraq war] anticipated “a conflict, a period of stabilization in Iraq, and the phased withdrawal of a large number of American forces within that six-month window,” which turned out to be wrong, wrong, wrong. But the question is whether it was the Office of Management and Budget’s job to figure out in advance how wrong Donald Rumsfeld’s plan for Iraq would turn out to be. Daniels wasn’t the Secretary of Defense, and he certainly didn’t set the administration’s strategy; he took their strategic vision and tried to cost it out. He could have publicly questioned that vision, and issued sweeping 10-year cost estimates for what might happen if Rumsfeld’s “light footprint” plan sent Iraq spinning into chaos but that isn’t what O.M.B. directors generally do.