The season for making amends
With Christmas party season in full swing, the White House sneaks something up on the website:
On December 7, President Bush issued a new Presidential directive to empower the Secretary of State to improve coordination, planning, and implementation for reconstruction and stabilization assistance for foreign states and regions at risk of, in, or in transition from conflict or civil strife ...
The directive establishes that the Secretary of State shall coordinate and lead integrated United States Government efforts, involving all U.S. Departments and Agencies with relevant capabilities, to prepare, plan for, and conduct stabilization and reconstruction activities. Depending on the situation, these operations can be conducted with or without U.S. military engagement. When the U.S. military is involved, the Secretary of State shall coordinate such efforts with the Secretary of Defense to ensure harmonization with any planned or ongoing U.S. military operations across the spectrum of conflict.
Translation: we screwed up. The Pentagon should never have been in charge of reconstruction in Iraq. The experts in this thing are in the State Department. 33 months too late, they make the right call.