Paul Wolfowitz, one of the leading architects of the Iraq debacle, has an article in today’s Financial Times, telling world leaders what to do about Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Surprisingly, nowhere in the article does he say, “Of course I was spectacularly wrong last time anyone asked me my opinion, but here I go again.”
Imagine you hired a plumber. He tells you the job is both vital and easy. The cost ends up being twenty times higher than his estimate, you flood the entire neighbourhood, make things much worse than they had ever been before, and then you find out the putative problem that occasioned the emergency did not even exist. Would you ever hire him again? Would you ask him his advice on the next plumbing problem?
The men who lied to us, who bamboozled us into war, have not paid the price for their hubris and idiocy. The government officials have moved on to think tank sinecures, they continue to fly first-class, and respectable publications still print their opinions. The Lib Dems—right about Iraq—are still considered somehow not serious, while Tony Blair picks up $1m from an Israeli foundation for his contributions to world peace.
I guess Japanese-style hara kiri is too much to ask, but perhaps Christopher Hitchens, Paul Wolfowitz, Paul Bremmer, et al could do us a favour and shut up for a while and spend a decade or so in the wilderness considering why they were so wrong, before they open their mouths again and tell us what to do.