There’s no substitute for competence

In this Washington Post op-ed piece, Rachel Belton explains why rebuilding Iraq is “no job for a coalition.” Belton, who is writing a book on nation-building, notes that the only two successful attempts at postwar democratization occurred in Japan and Germany, where defense officials took full responsibility. She attributes this to the fact that “the centralized defense structure allowed America’s core values to remain consistent and penetrate every aspect of the mission.” Also, “unlike international organizations, whose entire job is to ‘help’ other countries, the Pentagon has other work to do.” Thus, “it has every incentive to create a viable local government and then allow it the autonomy to function on its own.”

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