The Corner

Edward “Cakewalk” Djerejian?

Conventional wisdom relates that, if only the Bush administration had listened to regional experts and not the so-called neo-cons, then U.S. planning for Iraq’s occupation would have been far more comprehensive.  This April 2003 interview with Baker Institute director Edward P. Djerejian, a former Ambassador to Syria, reflects the advice of State Department Arabists at the time:

What we’ve stated in our report is that we should have no illusions; that it’s going to take at least two to three months of a very strong military presence in Iraq to re-establish law and order, get humanitarian assistance going, get the water going, the electricity going, in other words establish the secure premise upon which reconstruction can take place both physically in the country and in terms of political evolution.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly.