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Niall Ferguson Sez: "But I Didn't Know Bush Was Incompetent!"

Greg Mankiw sends us to an interview with Niall Ferguson:

Greg Mankiw's Blog: Ferguson Interview: The "Ideas" section of today's Boston Globe interviews Harvard historian Niall Ferguson. An excerpt:

IDEAS: But you supported the invasion of Iraq.

FERGUSON: I argued that if it was to be done, it should be done well or not at all. But I didn't oppose it. With the benefit of hindsight, I regret that. It was a disaster to commit so few troops and to have no coherent plan for reconstruction. It was in defiance not only of British imperial history but of successful American occupations--for example of Germany, Japan, and Korea, where the United States stayed long enough to change institutions. But typically, American interventions last only a few years. In the case of the Middle East, the result will be turning Iraq into a Haiti on the Tigris.

But by the start of 2003, it was clear that the Bush administration was incompetent at everything, wasn't it? It was certainly clear to many--although Daniel Davies put it best:

D-squared Digest -- FOR bigger pies and shorter hours and AGAINST more or less everything else: Can anyone... give me one single example of something with the following three characteristics:

  1. It is a policy initiative of the current Bush administration
  2. It was significant enough in scale that I'd have heard of it (at a pinch, that I should have heard of it)
  3. It wasn't in some important way completely f---- up during the execution.

Agreed that the administration of this jumped-up sadistic spoiled rich kid frat boy has been much more incompetent than any of us imagined. But shouldn't there be some embarrassment on Niall Ferguson's part at being conned--somehow--into thinking it was competent?