With a friend. The quote from Mark Twain about "what we need to fear isn't what we don't know, it's what we know that just ain't true" thus rang in my mind when I read this piece by Digby about the hideously flawed books that the right uses as sources for their foreign and military policies. Of particular interest are wild frothing tomes about Saddam being responsible for the 1994 WTC bombing, and a lovely text called "the Arab mind" which purports to show that Arabs "only understand force, and...that the biggest weakness of Arabs is shame and humiliation." It's about as popular as polio with academics, yet is a widely-referenced text in both the conservative movement and high-level segments of the US military.
I'm starting to understand both why Iraq was such a disaster, and why the people on the ground were so flabbergasted at the reactions of their higher-ups. If you have an expectation of behavior, it'll affect your decisionmaking- if it's wrong, then it'll be disastrous.
Thus I, kinda like Twain, almost wish that they had gone in there completely ignorant. Maybe they could have learned themselves some reality, instead of a racist fantasy.