Rich Cohen

Say what?

This drug for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is sorely needed. ADHD explains why few seem to challenge the call to continue the mission in Iraq, apparently forgetting that the mission has changed and no one is quite sure what it is now. It explains why after just 100 hours the first President Bush concluded the Persian Gulf War with Saddam Hussein still in power and his helicopters slaughtering rebellious Shiites and Kurds. And it explains why the Carter, Reagan and first Bush administrations so ardently supported Hussein and then — an administration later — made it U.S. policy to topple him. We were always forgetting the kind of guy he was.

ADHD also explains why we are still fighting in Afghanistan almost five years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that launched the war against the Taliban. It’s because our attention got diverted from the Afghanistan-based al-Qaeda, which had attacked us, to Iraq, which had not. Take two pills for this one.

Finally, ADHD explains — if anything possibly can — why the United States went into Iraq with virtually no idea of what to do the day after the war was essentially won. Not only did the United States lack the patience to do nation-building — what to do with the army, the police, the Baath Party? — but it would not even supply the troops to secure government offices and ministries. Widespread looting broke out; public property was not protected. “It is not exaggerating to say that the United States may have lost the war on the very day it took Baghdad, April 9, 2003,” writes Peter W. Galbraith in his forthcoming book, “The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created a War Without End.”

Aren’t we winning this war? Aren’t we only 3 years in? Don’t the Iraqis have a new government? And 3 different elections? What am I missing?
(need to get back to my first day of work, so will end this now. May return later for further comment, but basically, hear my scream into the room and read for yourself this column on ADHD and this administration and the war and us)