Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

September 28, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

THESE ARE THE ADULTS?....Newsweek on the management of postwar Iraq:

Last February, retired Lt. Gen. Jay Garner was trying to put together a team of experts to rebuild Iraq after the war was over, and his list included 20 State Department officials. The day before he was supposed to leave for the region, Garner got a call from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who ordered him to cut 16 of the 20 State officials from his roster. It seems that the State Department people were deemed to be Arabist apologists, or squishy about the United Nations, or in some way politically incorrect to the right-wing ideologues at the White House or the neocons in the office of the Secretary of Defense. The vetting process got so bad that even doctors sent to restore medical services had to be anti-abortion, recalled one of Garners team.

....The ideological intrigue reached into the upper levels of the Bush administration. Rumsfeld ordered General Garner to drop a State Department official named Thomas Warrick from his reconstruction team. Garner protested, his aides recall; he needed Warrick, who had been the author of a $5 million, yearlong study called The Future of Iraq. Rumsfelds reply, as relayed by Garner to his aides, was: Im sorry, but I just got off a phone call from a level that is sufficiently high that I cant argue with him. Sources tell NEWSWEEK that Rumsfeld was taking his orders from Vice President Cheney.

....On May 16, five days after he arrived in Baghdad, Bremer assembled the top American officials in Baghdad and announced that all ministries would be de-Baath-ized by removing roughly the top six layers of bureaucracy. The CIAs Baghdad station chief demurred. Well, thats 30,000 to 50,000 pissed-off Baathists youre driving underground, said the senior spook. Bremer went on: the Army would be formally disbanded and not paid. Thats another 350,000 Iraqis youre pissing off, and theyve got guns, said the CIA man. Said Bremer: Those are my instructions.

....Some astute foreign observers think that time is running out. We are losing the consent of the Iraqi people, warned John Sawers, British Prime Minister Tony Blairs emissary in Baghdad. We have until Ramadan [Oct. 27-Nov. 25] to turn it around, Sawers told American officials in Washington two weeks ago. After that it will be too late. At least one old Middle East hand is a pessimist. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak recently passed a message to Rumsfeld. It ran roughly: Theres a 5 percent chance you get Saddam tomorrow, the energy goes out of the resistance and things get dramatically better. Theres a 5 percent chance a car bomb takes out the entire Governing Council, and things go to hell. In between those, it will get better over time, or worse over time. Right now, I say its twice as likely that it gets worse. Its not known how Rumsfeld responded.

There's too much good stuff in the article to excerpt, but taken as a whole it's a damning indictment of the neocon true believers and their withering contempt for anyone who didn't buy their liberation fantasies wholesale. Just go read the whole thing.

Kevin Drum 4:31 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly