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Competency gap?

In her New York Times column today, Maureen Dowd was right on the money in pointing out the apparent failure of the Bush Administration to grasp the human cost of its Iraq adventure. In addition to their well-documented reluctance to have coffins of the war dead photographed upon arrival in the United States, it now becomes clear that the policy-makers don't seem to have a sense of just how costly this conflict has become:

Asked during a Congressional budget hearing on Thursday how many American troops had been killed in Iraq, [Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul] Wolfowitz missed by more than 30 percent. "It's approximately 500, of which I can get the exact numbers approximately 350 are combat deaths," he said.

As of Thursday, there were 722 deaths, 521 in combat. The No. 2 man at the Pentagon was oblivious in the bloodiest month of the war, with the number of Americans killed in April overtaking those killed in the six-week siege of Baghdad last year.

(For the entire Dowd column, click here.)

Pretty discouraging detachment from reality for someone who was perhaps the prime architect of the Iraq war.

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