Some time ago, Daniel Drezner commented on the “bipartisan piss-offedness” among people who actually know something about foreign and security policy at the sheer amateurishness of the Bush Administration in (among other things) the occupation of Iraq. Yesterday Dan followed up on one of his own earlier posts about the politicization of the hiring process at the Coalition Provisional Authority, which led to the staffing of that crucial agency with people who held the approved views about, e.g., abortion, but didn’t, e.g., speak Arabic or know anything technically relevant to the jobs they were hired to do.
Read Dan’s piece, follow the links, and reflect on the high cost of “strategery,” Mayberry-Machiavelli style. Even when it comes to things we absolutely positively can’t afford to blow, the Bushites will always choose loyalty (to the President, not the country) over competence. (Recall, for example, that the White House version of the Homeland Security operation was staffed the same way; I haven’t seen any follow-up on patronage hiring within DHS.)
Dan Drezner is the sort of person who (once he gets tenure) might easily be considered for senior foreign-policy jobs in Republican administrations. He must know his frankness isn’t doing him any good in career terms. He deserves enormous credit for his courage in saying what others are thinking.