Monday, March 10, 2008

No Feith In His Copouts On Iraq

I just about became physically ill when I read this news story by Tom Ricks and Karen DeYoung of The Washington Post yesterday about the soon-to-be-released book by Douglas Feith, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy under Rummy prior to the commencement of the Iraq War.
This approximately-900-page tome must be nothing more than a never-ending exercise in CYA revisionism and score-settling between the author and primarily the CIA and State departments under our ruling cabal.

Ricks and DeYoung tell us…
(Former Secretary of State Colin) Powell, Feith argues, allowed himself to be publicly portrayed as a dove, but while Powell "downplayed" the degree and urgency of Iraq's threat, he never expressed opposition to the invasion. (Former viceroy Paul) Bremer, meanwhile, is said to have done more harm than good in Iraq. Feith also accuses (Gen. Tommy) Franks of being uninterested in postwar planning, and writes that Condoleezza Rice, Bush's national security adviser during most of Feith's time in office, failed in her primary task of coordinating policy on the war.

He describes Bush as having wrestled seriously with difficult problems but as being ill-served by subordinates including Powell and Rice. Feith depicts former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld with almost complete admiration, questioning only his rough handling of subordinates.
Yeah, well, considering that Rummy was Feith’s boss, that not really unexpected, is it? And while Colin Powell had his own infamous role here for which he must make an accounting one day, I may someday believe this story about him, while I will never give Feith any credibility at all.

And while Bremer was the person who instituted “de-Baathification” in Iraq and disbanded the Iraqi army soon after the end of the war before the insurgency began, I can definitely believe that the orders for that came from Deadeye Dick Cheney and were channeled through Rummy and Feith; the author is even more of a weasel and a coward than I imagined for trying to “skate” on this.
And as far as Tommy Franks is concerned, Feith may be correct, though as noted here, Franks once referred to Feith as “the dumbest [expletive] guy on the planet.”

Oh, but Feith is relentless when it comes to spreading around the blame for his awful decision making. As Maureen Dowd of the Times noted here (returning to form for a change after all of her catty political nonsense, writing about a speaking gig Feith had with the AEI war heads last December)…
He noted that in battles through American history, “the military fights better over time.” This from a guy who sent our military into Iraq without the right armor, the right force numbers or the right counterinsurgency training.

“A strategic alliance of the ousted Baathists and foreign jihadists was something that our intelligence community did not anticipate,” he said, continuing to spread the blame.

But the intelligence community didn’t miss it. The neocons tried to scrub out that sort of analysis, knowing it would make the war harder to sell.

Classified reports prepared for President Bush in January 2003 by the National Intelligence Council warned that rogue elements of Saddam’s government could hook up with existing terrorist groups to wage guerrilla warfare.
And…
In “Fiasco,” Tom Ricks wrote that Feith’s Pentagon office was dubbed the “black hole” of policy by generals watching him drop the ball.

“People working for Feith complained that he would spend hours tweaking their memos, carefully mulling minor points of grammar,” Ricks wrote. “A Joint Staff officer recalled angrily that at one point troops sat on a runway for hours, waiting to leave the United States on a mission, while he quibbled about commas in the deployment order.”

Jay Garner, America’s first viceroy in Iraq, deemed him “incredibly dangerous” and said his “electrons aren’t connected.”

Feith’s disdain for diplomacy and his credo that weakness invites aggression were shaped, Ricks reported, by personal history: “Like Wolfowitz, Feith came from a family devastated by the Holocaust. His father lost both parents, three brothers, and four sisters to the Nazis.”

Feith told Jeffrey Goldberg in The New Yorker that “My family got wiped out by Hitler, and ... all this stuff about working things out — well, talking to Hitler to resolve the problem didn’t make any sense to me. The kind of people who put bumper stickers on their car that declare that ‘War is not the answer,’ are they making a serious comment? What’s the answer to Pearl Harbor? What’s the answer to the Holocaust?”
Ugh…Exhibit A for why partisans of any stripe should never hold public office.
And here are some other “golden moments” with Feith:

  • A meeting Pentagon analysts reporting to Feith held with arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar prior to the Iraq war, even though the CIA had deemed Ghorbanifar as unreliable because of his involvement with the Iran-Contra fiasco (here)

  • Feith’s involvement in having Tom Warrick and Meghan O’Sullivan booted off Gen. Jay Garner’s transition team that began work in Iraq after the invasion and before Bremer arrived because they committed the unpardonable sin of working for the State Department, which Feith called “The Department of Nice,” as noted here – both were formidable assets, though O’Sullivan managed to “land on her feet” later on

  • The characterization of Feith’s operation as “The Gestapo” by Colin Powell here (yep, it’s easy to see why a petty demagogue like Feith would think a 900-page “pity party” would be appropriate for Powell speaking the truth)
  • How sadly typical for a Bushco partisan to try and disgrace his peers instead of owing up to his own failings on the war (men such as Powell and Richard Armitage, I believe, feel some sense of remorse, while worthless lickspittles like Feith would be hard-pressed to communicate even the meaning of the word).

    2 comments:

    John said...

    Typical Bush appointee, screw something up and blame someone else.

    Mo MoDo said...

    Dowd at that time reported that co-neo-cons Perle and Wolfowitz were in the front row of his talk giving aid and comfort to their fellow screw-up.