Kates lieutenant is absolutely right. The institutional performance of government departments other than Defense has been abysmal. This is one of the greatest failings of United States foreign policy. Its very heartwarming when you see US soldiers with beaming Iraqi kids because theyve just rebuilt the schoolhouse, but its not what US soldiers should be doing. In the modern world, your civil service, judiciary, agriculture and treasury expertise need a capacity for global projection, too. Yet, aside from somewhat frustrated asides from the President and former Secretary Rumsfeld, theres very little sense that Washington understands this. My favorite Foreign Minister, Australias Alexander Downer, gives a lot of thought to this matter. Oz has several failed and failing states in its backyard and its far more comfortable with the idea not just of sending in troops but of sending in judges and civil servants and the like to get the place on its feet. Sovereignty is not absolute, as Mr Downer likes to say.
They dont need to be running the joint. A while back, John OSullivan told me hed once danced a foxtrot with the prima ballerina of the Royal Danish Ballet. As she took his hand, she said, I will lead. But I will make you look like you are leading. I said, Wow! That should have been our Iraq policy. Instead of Paul Bremer as viceroy, a lot of really great discreet Number Twos in the Interior, Treasury, Education and other ministries.
(Apologies to John if this reflects badly on his manhood. The Danish gal did a great job. Hes a terrific dancer. Which also reinforces my point.)