I published the above article in October of 2002.
It holds up in some places and not in others. One thing is for sure, the Bush Administration disregarded voices like mine which opposed relying on the military as the solution to what had emanated from Afghanistan on September 11th, and who counseled getting out quickly if we intervened.
Bush and Cheney wildly aimed next at Iraq, and arrogantly pretended it had something to do with the 9/11 attack on America. (It did not.)
At the time, we were ridiculed for trying to explain that Iraq had nothing do with 9/11, as it was a secular Baathist regime, and also for opposing these military adventures, and we were called naive. I think history has demonstrated that we were anything but.
The lesson? Listen next time to voices that are counseling caution, and offering an approach to foreign policy questions that is grounded in consideration not only of the history of a region, but also in an unsparing analysis of how our soft power will be impacted over time, and the extent to which we are raising the expectations of a population, whether that is a responsible thing to do, and whether we are willing to stay the course and meet our resulting responsibility.
Why the last consideration? Because it is morally wrong to raise expectations and then abandon our commitment to backing up our human rights ideals with our full power.
Joe Biden has been left to clean up the mess, and he is doing an admirable job of it in essentially impossible circumstances. History will treat him well. He warned for years that we were raising expectations without sufficient prospect for success.