It is becoming increasingly clear that President George W. Bush and his top advisers lack not only a strategy for fighting the war in Iraq but—more disturbing—any idea of how to devise one.
The latest, most jaw-dropping evidence comes from a front-page article by Greg Jaffe in the Nov. 15 Wall Street Journal. Jaffe tells the story of David (last name withheld for obvious reasons), a 37-year-old U.S. Army foreign-affairs officer stationed undercover in northwestern Iraq. David wears civilian clothes, packs only a pistol, and is so fluent in Arabic that the locals think he's one of them. As a result, he's been able to trace how jihadist fighters have moved into Iraq across the Syrian border—what routes they use, what markings they follow—and he's passed on the information to American military commanders. He's also advised these commanders and other officials on how to deal with their Iraqi counterparts, he's fired incompetent interpreters who'd been hired by officials who didn't know the language, and he's staved off at least one big conflict with Turkey.