02/08/2012 12:13 pm ET Updated Apr 09, 2012

Blind Ambition

Almost exactly a decade ago, I remember producing articles and speeches in which I questioned whether there were actually weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, predicting a prolonged conflict, and suggesting that the Bush administration actually had in mind to use Iraq as a military and political base to promote American power in the region. If that was the aim, I predicted, the U.S. ambassador would reign like an ineffective viceroy confined to quarters by ongoing sectarian strife all around him.

Now we learn that our new $750 million embassy, the largest in the world, as the centerpiece of an even more expensive "green zone" meant to house a massive city of 16,000 Americans, most of whom would be "contractors" and heavily armed private security forces to protect the 2000 "diplomats", will be cut back severely, both because we can't afford the projected annual operating budget of $6 billion (!) and because the "diplomats" cannot leave the complex for fear of violence.

This is a metaphor for the failed global ambitions of the hardline, regime change, neocons who got us into this mess.

Two lessons from this: the United States should always resist imperial ambitions, and the people of the world are not stupid.

Expressing a common sentiment among Iraqis, an Iraqi parliamentarian reflected: "The U.S. had something on their mind when they made [the embassy] so big. Perhaps they want to run the Middle East from Iraq, and their embassy will be a base for them here." I'm tempted to send her my articles from 2002.

Meanwhile, our isolated "diplomats" are eating MREs (meals ready to eat) because there are no more US troops to protect the supply caravans.

Instead of endlessly and ineffectively interviewing the Santorums of the world, wouldn't it be interesting if just one of the Sunday morning talk programs rounded up George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Richard Perle, and many others who dominated those same programs in 2002 to whip up public support, based on misinformation, calculation, and even deception, to hold them accountable for this monumental act of folly.