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    01 October 2006

    A tale of two stories, one from Woodward and another from them

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    Bob Woodward took the front page in Sunday's WaPo and revealed a little bit of Rumsfeldian shenanigans, among other things. After the formation of the so-called unity government in Iraq, Administration officials, in their delusional and disconnected way, asserted that "the forces of terror [had begun] their long retreat" and other rose-colored rhetoric so common from the White House and Pentagon. However, a secret intelligence document was circulating a few days later that said otherwise. It forecasted an increase in violence, a deterioration of infrastructure, and a lack of political progress. In hindsight the forecast was pretty accurate.

    Then, and now, reality was not convenient for Administration officials. Just days after the intelligence assessment came out -- and before that, Bush's claim of freedom gaining foothold gibberish -- the Pentagon, as required by law, delivered a report that flat out lied to Congress, reporting the opposite of what the intelligence document said.

    That's but one of the revelations in Bob Woodward's damning expose in Sunday's Post.

    Another instance happened years before. It began with what Jay Garner called "three tragic decisions" all made by L. Paul "Jerry" Bremer who was sent by Rumsfeld to replace Garner early on in the occupation. [L. Paul "Jerry" Bremer is a Kissinger protege] The first, debathification; two, disbanding the standing (non-Republican Guard) army; and three, the dismissal of the Iraqi leadership group in favor of Bremer to be the face of the transitional government. [Talk about not understanding the region! If there is one thing Middle Easterners hate it's the impression of colonialism or imperialism. Pick which ever word you like best; Bremer was the epitome of it to the Iraqis.] Garner pleaded to Rumsfeld that the decisions were reversible. Rumsfeld, as expected, refused. "They didn't see it coming," Garner concluded, "[a]s the troops said, they drank the Kool-Aid." [Pat Lang is going to love that quote!]

    Continuing, on our Iraq strategy, or lack there of.

    Moving forward from '03 to '04, just about everyone with a conscience and not blinded by faith or loyalty to the Bush Administration had realized that Iraq was a fiasco. Then deputy National Security Advisor, Stephen J. Hadley, is quoted saying "If we have a military strategy, I can't identify it ... I don't know what's worse -- that they have one and won't tell us or that they don't have one" in reference to the Pentagon and the main policy makers in the White House.

    After the reelection of George Bush, in February 2005 now Secretary of State Rice sent a friend, Dr. Philip D. Zelikow to Iraq to get the facts. He returned with a long memo of observations and conclusions. He delivered this assessment, "[a]t this point Iraq remains a failed state shadowed by constant violence and undergoing revolutionary political change ... [the insurgency was] being contained militarily [but remained] quite active." It's been obvious for some time at this point that we were, and still are, locked in the Green Zone and unable to exert our authority outside of Baghdad effectively. Zelikow added that the "[m]obility of coalition officials is extremely limited, and productive government activity is constrained" noting that "the war can certainly be lost in Baghdad, but the war can only be won in the cities and provinces outside [of] Baghdad."

    The article continues to discuss the presence of Henry Kissinger in the White House and the so-called (by some, not Woodward, anyone in his piece or me) Vietnamization of Iraq.

    It goes into some depth regarding the views of Centcom commander Gen. Abizaid who is quoted in a discussion with old Army buddies saying that "[w]e've got to get the [expletive] out" of Iraq. When pressed on the strategy of winning in Iraq, Abizaid replied, "[t]hat's not my job" it's the job of "[t]he president and Condi Rice, because Rumsfeld doesn't have any credibility anymore."

    After Murtha came to the conclusion that we need to go through a process of redeployment of our troops in Iraq, Abizaid sought out the Pennsylvania Congressman and according to Murtha, "Abizaid raised his hand for emphasis, held his thumb and forefinger a quarter of an inch from each other and said, 'We're that far apart.'" If true, now we know why the usually hawkish Murtha came out for troop redeployment. And so many called him a traitor.

    This was a summary of Woodward's article in today's Post. Watch 60 Minutes for the TV version tonight, or any news channel for coverage all next week.

    Posted by Geoff

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