After Making a Mess of Iraq, Bush Advisers Join Team Romney

Mitt RomneyMitt Romney held a news conference to respond to the release of a video tape made at one of his fundraising events. (Photo: Jim Wilson / The New York Times Syndicate)I have to admit that I haven’t been paying much attention to Mitt Romney’s foreign policy; the domestic side already offers a target-rich environment. But my eyebrows shot up when Dan Senor popped up speaking for Mr. Romney in the aftermath of the protests in Libya and Egypt. Dan Senor?

I mean, Mr. Senor is one of the key figures in Rajiv Chandrasekharan’s book “Imperial Life in the Emerald City,” an account of the United States’ disastrous occupation of Iraq. As the head of public relations for the Coalition Provisional Authority, Mr. Senor exemplified the core problem with that occupation: officials were chosen for political loyalty to President George W. Bush, not experience or competence, and were evidently much more interested in getting Mr. Bush re-elected than in running the country they were supposed to be fixing.

In Mr. Senor’s case this meant that instead of trying to win Iraqi hearts and minds, he was busy trying to put a smiley-face on events for the American audience, spinning reality so badly that he quickly became a joke, “Baghdad Dan,” to anyone actually paying attention.

With that record, Mr. Senor should have gone on to sell insurance, make furniture, whatever — something, anything, other than advising anyone on foreign policy. Yet there he is, part of Mr. Romney’s entourage. And in general Mr. Romney has gathered around him the very same crew that botched Iraq.

Bear in mind that this is really a choice on Mr. Romney’s part; he’s under a lot of pressure from the Tea Party to show himself properly right-wing on domestic issues, but I don’t think there’s an important part of the G.O.P. base that cares much either way whether he’s listening to Dick Cheney’s foreign policy team.

I understand, in a way, why these people are still at it; research shows that the truly incompetent often have high self-confidence, because they’re too incompetent to realize that they’re incompetent. But what does it say about Mr. Romney that he’s relying on this crew?