Larry Diamond of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, spoke yesterday at a special PARC forum on “Our Squandered Victory and the Prospects for Democracy in Iraq”. I must admit, I was skeptical that I would find him an agreeable (or even informed) speaker – I’m not a great fan of the Hoover Institution. But he knew his stuff, was right on the money about the money (the billions spent on this war), had lots of those “where did they get those guys” stories of screwups in Iraq (our guys – not their guys), and presented a thorough convincing argument for how badly the administration has bungled the job from an insider’s perspective.
Why is he an “insider”? Apparently Larry Diamond was asked by Condoleezza Rice to go to Baghdad as an adviser to the American occupation authorities. Diamond wasn’t an Iraq war supporter, but he said he thought creating a “viable democracy” was important. He was there last year.
One of the best speakers I’ve seen this year. He answered every question, and met critics head-on. I wish more Americans could talk to him as someone who’s really “been there”. It’s one way to cut through the spin and make your own “fair and balanced” decision.