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October 17, 2004

Thank God Our Political Analysts Are Completely Different From Saddam Hussein

It's not just our leaders who see the world in the same way as Saddam Hussein. So do our political analysts, apparently.

The best example of this is The Threatening Storm by Kenneth Pollack. Read today, it's REALLY funny. First of all, Pollack explains that we innocent Americans will never be able to understand the thinking of someone like Saddam Hussein. Then he describes Saddam in ways that seem consciously chosen to make him sound like George Bush. And then Pollack himself behaves in exactly the ways he says Saddam does.

For instance, this appears on page 268 of The Threatening Storm:

[Saddam's] own determination to interpret geopolitical calculations to suit what he wants to believe anyway lead him to construct bizarre scenarios that he convinces himself are highly likely.

Then Pollack falls into this reverie on page 338:

Imagine how different the Middle East and the world would be if a new Iraqi state were stable, prosperous, and a force for progress in the region, not a source of violence and instability. Imagine if we could rebuild Iraq as a model of what a modern Arab state could be, showing the frustrated and disenfranchised of the Arab world what they should be trying to fashion. Imagine if there were a concrete symbol demonstrating that America seeks to help the Arab world rather than repress. Invading Iraq might not just be our least bad alternative, it potentially could be our best course of action.

Yes... just imagine!

Posted at October 17, 2004 09:10 PM | TrackBack

And next up to the plate is Syria and/or Iran...

The motto of the Bush adminstration:

"If at first you don't succeed, fail and fail again".

Posted by: floopmeister at October 17, 2004 10:44 PM


Yes. Notice that Pollack has suffered no career repercussions at all for being about as wrong as someone can be. He's still an "analyst" for CNN, still has his think tank job, etc.

Meanwhile, I don't see CNN hiring someone like Scott Ritter, who was as right as someone could be.

A Sun Tzu quote seems appropriate here:

"If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle."

Since we are completely blind to both ourselves and others, I think our losing streak will continue indefinitely.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at October 17, 2004 10:56 PM

The heck with Sun Tzu. We have superior firepower. Being right is completely irrelevant.

Posted by: Anna in Cairo at October 18, 2004 05:38 AM


In fairness to Sun Tzu, in The Art of War he also said, "Be sure to blow up as much shit as possible." So he came down on both sides of this issue.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at October 18, 2004 07:52 AM

Sun Tzu straight up didn't say "be sure to blow up as much shit up as possible". Sun Tzu didn't make direct attacks. If you read his book instead of just pulling quotes that everybody knows you would know that

Posted by: Seven at January 16, 2006 12:07 PM