Bolton also acknowledges that the Iraq War did not go well, but then adds, "Where mistakes were made was after the military campaign." The U.S. was unprepared for the civil war that broke out. The U.S. also failed to turn utilities and other state-run companies in Iraq over to the private sector, maintaining poorly run monopolies on energy production and other essential services, often squandering billions of dollars.
It might be seen as a harsh lesson in the importance of planning for the aftermath of toppling a bad regime. But we libertarians wonder: Why assume government will do better next time?
Occasionally government acknowledges mistakes in domestic policy -- but that doesn't mean it then becomes more efficient. It usually just spends more to try, and fail, to fix the problem. It's the nature of government. Politicians don't face the competitive incentives that force other people to make hard decisions.
Candidate Obama garnered support by criticizing Bush for costing money and lives through a protracted stay in Iraq. But that didn't stop Obama from putting more money and troops into Afghanistan.
In his first term alone, Obama spent about three times as much in Afghanistan as Bush did in two terms. Did we win hearts and minds? I don't think so. The Taliban may still retake the country.
Our military should be used for defense, not to police the world.