(Much of what you see here was taken from an excellent article in The Washington Post.)
Then: roughly one year ago.
Now: the present day — 1 year after the invasion of Iraq.
Then: The Iraqis will welcome us with open arms.
Now: Many, and probably most, Iraqis are happy to be rid of Saddam Hussein. Despite this, the American presence does not appear to be regarded with any fondness.
Then: Andrew S. Natsios, the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, said, “The American part of this will be $1.7 billion. We have no plans for any further-on funding for this.”
Now: Oops. In this year alone, reconstruction costs looks to be close to $75 billion — an error of 97.8%.
Then: Paul Wolfowitz said that Iraq “can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.”
Now: The administration is looking for an allocation of $150 billion for Iraqi reconstruction.
The news isn’t all bad. The Iraqi economy is picking up and the people are enjoying greater freedom. However, with all of the talk about the specious justifications for war pushed by the Bush administration, it’s particularly interesting to see that much of what was projected has not come to fruition.
It surprised me to see Ken Pollack’s criticism of the administration, though I agree with him. I saw Pollack speak last year at The Yale Club about his book, The Threatening Storm. While he never allied himself with the Bush camp (he actually specifically stated the he did not speak for the administration), he seemed to have drawn many of the same conclusions about WMD and the need to remove Saddam from power. Punditry is an interesting racket, ain’t it?