The Think Tank Man’s Burden

Almost as an afterthought, amidst this McClatchy piece warning of the imminent onset of the regions-wide Sunni-Shiʿa conflagration that’s been imminent really since 1979 but never seems to get here, blog hero Kenneth Pollack explains the mindset of the Maximum Intervention crowd pretty succinctly:

Some Iraq scholars argue that the country can be saved. Decentralization of power, reconciliation with Baathists and other concessions that would motivate Sunnis to oust the Islamic State are “feasible, absolutely,” says Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

But he said the administration is not making the effort.

“I believe it is negligence,” he said. “They continue to insist we can’t want this more than the Iraqis. . . . This is historical nonsense. If you leave it to the Iraqis, they won’t do the right thing even if they want to.

Jesus Christ, you can’t leave Iraq to the Iraqis — are you mad? They’ll screw the whole thing up! It takes principled white people Americans to fix Iraq’s problems, like we did when Kenneth Pollack helped cheerlead us into invading Iraq in the first place!

That an open “White Man’s Burden” adherent like Kenneth Pollack still holds a plumb gig at a major DC think tank in the year twenty-freaking-fifteen, and is still considered an expert on, well, anything, post-Iraq War, would be shocking if we all hadn’t lived through the continuing and baffling relevance of these people over the last 13 years. It’s a Very Serious Person’s world, and the rest of us are just waiting for the next military intervention.

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