Thursday, February 22, 2007

"Big Time" Plays Hide The Chalabi

On a trip abroad recently, “Billion Dollar” Dick Cheney criticized the U.S. House vote on Iraq, stating that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Dems are trying to “validate the al Qaeda strategy” to “break the will of the American people.”

There is much that I could say in response to this criminal, but I will try to limit my remarks as follows (though I think this will be a long post anyway).

That to me means that Cheney believes that Pelosi and the Dems (including Congressman John Murtha, a far, far better man than Cheney could ever hope to be in his utter dreams) want to see terrorism victorious in Iraq.

Putting aside the utter monstrousness of that charge for a minute or two, I would like to point out the following based on pages 124-129 of “State of Denial,” Bob Woodward’s book about the runup leading to the Iraq war and the war itself up to about last summer.

This section has to do with the efforts of Gen. Jay Garner (a man who I am developing newfound respect for as I read this book) to obtain enough staff to accomplish the monumental task of trying to rebuild Iraq after the military goal of defeating Saddam Hussein had been achieved (Garner was named Director of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance).

As Woodward notes, Garner gathered about 200 people to the National Defense University at Fort McNair in southwest Washington, D.C. on February 21-22, 2003 for a massive rehearsal and planning conference (otherwise known as a “rock drill,” using an Army term for a field commander’s technique of using rocks to represent combat units and their positions in battle).

At the conclusion of the conference, Garner was despondent because he felt he’d unearthed more questions and issues than he’d been able to resolve (as you read this book, by the way, it becomes crystal clear that the lower-level officers and “grunts” knew exactly how this mess was likely to turn out, unfortunately), but he was struck by the questions asked by a man later identified as Tom Warrick, who previously had written a 20-page report called “The Future Of Iraq.” Among the issues Warrick raised were:

“…We risk letting much of the country descend into civil unrest and chaos whose magnitude may defeat the strategy of a stable new Iraq, and more immediately, we place our own troops, fully engaged in the forward fight, in greater jeopardy.”

“It seems likely that we will begin military action before we know whether sufficient…funds will be available. If fewer funds are available than required, we risk leaving behind a great unstable mess with potential to become a haven for terrorists.”

“The (rock drill) did not take up the most basic issue: What sort of future government of Iraq do we have in mind, and how do we plan to get there?”

“With no sufficient plan for police from U.S. troops or a civilian government of Iraq, ‘what happens to law and order in the meantime?’”
(And again, Warrick pointed this out four years ago and prior to the invasion.)

Garner found out later that Warrick worked for the State Department and wrote his “Future of Iraq” study in that capacity. Woodward also notes that Garner was thrilled to get Warrick, as well as Meghan O’Sullivan, also from State with a doctorate in political science from Oxford University who had written extensively about rogue states and Iraq. This was because Garner ran into a lot of resistance and “groupthink” as he assembled his team and had a hard time finding anyone to look realistically at what they were assigned to do from Bushco in Iraq.

So, Garner was allowed to add Warrick and O’Sullivan to his team, right?


Our old friend Don (“The Defense Secretary You Used To Have, And Probably Still Do To A Degree”) Rumsfeld pulled both of them from Garner’s team.

And the reason why is because both had been critical of Ahmed Chalabi (info here and here – again, according to Woodward)…

Warrick had been in the Clinton Administration and was a strong advocate of indicting Saddam Hussein as a war criminal. He worked on regime change for State, met with lots of Iraqi exiles, and had discovered that other exiles weren’t exactly enamored of Chalabi. In fact, there had been a conference of Iraqi opposition leaders he’d worked with in 2002 when many of them said they wouldn’t come if Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress were put in charge (of postwar Iraq).

O’Sullivan had worked at the Brookings Institution, a left-of-center think tank, and she was seen as a protégé of Richard N. Haass, the director of policy planning at (Colin) Powell’s State Department. She and Haass had co-authored a paper urging the use of economic, political and cultural incentives as levers to influence countries such as Iraq instead of military force or covert action. In another paper O’Sullivan had questioned U.S. support to Iraqi exiles.

Garner thought the whole maneuver was a bad sign. He was repelled that personalities and apparently ideology would play a role in such vital postwar planning. Losing Warrick, clearly a top expert on the issues, was a blow, though Garner’s team kept his “Future of Iraq” study, and a lot of Iraqis who had worked on it wound up in Garner’s organization.
Something I should point out is that the postwar reconstruction was ultimately tasked to Rummy as Secretary of Defense instead of Colin Powell as Secretary of State (explaining a lot, I realize), and that also explains why Garner reported ultimately to Rummy on this one.

Further, it explains why Warrick and O’Sullivan were booted out by Douglas Feith working on Rummy’s behalf (Feith didn’t want anyone from State, or as he called it derisively, “The Department of Nice”…something else you quickly realize as you read this book is that Douglas Feith is one of the most incompetent human beings who has ever walked upright in the history of time).

But both Feith and Rummy had to be following orders from somebody, and you’ll never guess who that “somebody” was.

If you said Dick Cheney, then you get an automatic invitation to his daughter’s baby shower.

So, for reasons of “ideological purity” (in this case, calling out Chalabi for the crook and utterly clueless liar that he was and probably still is), Cheney had two highly talented individuals removed from Jay Garner’s reconstruction team; both could have provided vital assistance in postwar Iraq immediately after the invasion in the areas of rebuilding infrastructure, addressing medical needs, and re-establishing law and order.

So, tell me again, Dick, how much more are Nancy Pelosi and the other House Dems trying to help the terrorists achieve victory in Iraq, assuming they could promote that unholy cause more than you have by virtue of your own murderous egomania, stubbornness and overall incompetence?

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