For a moment, let's put aside any suspicion that there were any shadowy motives behind the decision to invade Iraq still unknown to the general public. Forget for the time being about the New World Order, the International Zionist Conspiracy, and the timeline of events in which the Iraq War is simply the step between 9/11 and the goal of turning the world into a prison planet.
Let's look at Alexander George's "Case for Multiple Advocacy in Making Foreign Policy". The Iraq war is now far enough along so that we can apply the "Multiple Advocacy" framework to the information we now have about the deliberation process that led to our to stick our willy in the oil-rich hornet's nest that is Iraq.
There's no denying that something important happened when the President and his closest advisers decided to invade Iraq, expecting a populace teeming with latent ethnic tensions checked only by a brutal dictatorship employing every nasty trick in the book - including music videos. The most publicly debated concern is that certain important considerations were given insufficient attention - which is a nice way of saying that the decision makers overlooked some pretty important sh*t. Could this oversight have been prevented if there had been stronger representation for alternatives to the 2003 invasion of Iraq? The readings for this week are obviously centered around the fiasco of the Bay of Pigs, along with the near-fiascos of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the threat of annihilation posed by the Cold War, but we can at least use the George, Halperin and Allison's analyses to come up with some further questions regarding the Iraq War and future important foreign policy decisions.
I think the BoP was the best example of an uninformed president making a bad decision based on incomplete information provided by a group of men determined to carry out a certain plan - or an UPMBDBIPGMDCP scenario, in the foreign policy lexicon. What was similar, and what was different about the decisions regarding BoP and IW(the iraq war)?
For one thing, Kennedy didn't have Rumsfeld and Cheney - how much of an effect can "multiple advocacy" have when up against two undeniably strong and skilled bureaucratic grapplers? For another thing, BoP was a US covert military action, where the Iraq War was (supposed to be) a multilaterial action sanctioned by the international community and in accordance with UN requirements for war. During last week's Iraq Roundtable discussion, the point was raised that when one sees such a plethora of reasons for going to war, one should ask why one good reason does not suffice, and whether this implies the absence of any good reason to go to war. I think that would be an excellent point...if the Iraq War hadn't required some sort of international support. How many of those reasons - humanitarian, national security, economic, etc. - were just for the US citizenry, and how many were for the international community? After all, the EU may not give a fig about some US domestic issues, but they might care quite a bit about a more general, humanitiarian objective.
Just a few thoughts on the matter, which is appropriate given how few thoughts were given the matter in the first place.