Years of economic policy mistakes after the fall of Saddam Hussein left unemployed young Iraqis easy targets for recruitment by al Qaeda and other insurgents, a U.S. Defense Department official said on Sunday....I dunno, I think that comes awfully close to editorializing in the news -- the article's language, to me, obscures whether it's Lindsey or the writer who thinks it's "understandable" that American policymakers drank so deeply of the free-market kool-aid. (The sentence just reads wrong to me, your mileage may vary.) I don't expect Marxism from a wire service, but if "kleptocracy" was given quotation marks, understandable merited them.
Brinkley said early economic planners had made the understandable mistake of assuming that a free market would rapidly emerge to replace what he described as Saddam's "kleptocracy", and create full employment.
As for the larger point, this was clearly one of the many mistakes made during Paul Bremer's year in Baghdad -- the market fundamentalist "shock therapy" administered in Iraq was a deliberate policy of destroying the existing economy with the express purpose of making Iraq a more compliant market for international capital. That it failed totally is just another example of your average Bush administration competence.