Josh Marshall accuses Paul Wolfowitz of “turning into the Comical Ali of the collapse of neoconservative grand strategy in the Middle East” for his assertion that the UN bombing has changed the organization’s perspective on the Iraq War:

Seeking a new U.N. resolution, he said, “didn’t sort of emerge out of nowhere a few days ago.”

“It’s been on our agenda ever since the fall of Baghdad,” Wolfowitz said.

He described last month’s deadly bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad as a “breakthrough — a sad one” — in bringing the international community aboard.

“The bombing of the U.N. headquarters, I think, changed the atmosphere in New York and it looks like we can move forward in that area,” he said.

“Things change. You exploit opportunities, you deal with surprises.”

The statement seems reasonable to me, although there is a certain element of spin. Clearly, the “facts on the ground” have increased pressure on the Administration to get more “boots on the groundTM,” preferably non-American ones. But it’s also true that they pushed for months before the war started and have continued to push for UN endorsement and help. Granted, they’ve insisted that the UN do this on our terms and with the US dominating the decision-making. They’ve clearly softened a bit on this demand, although only a bit.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Paul says:

    Maybe I missed it… How did they soften? (I’ve heard so many conflicting things.)

    For months the position was “We would love the U.N. but we run the show.”

    Yesterday I thought I heard, “”We would love the U.N. but we run the show.”

    Maybe I missed something, what changed?


  2. James Joyner says:

    I think we’re now at, “…we more or less run the show.”