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"State Of Denial" Page Created May 29th, 2007 Modified 11/6/2007

 

 

Tuesday November 6th, 2007

Hello and Good Evening - Submitted here for your browsing pleasure are the remaining excerpts culled from Bob Woodward's book that demonstrate President Bush and his Administration's inability to properly conduct their "War"  Where possible, The Raptor has inserted notes on some of the text.  It should be noted that this represents over 25 pages of information and may be a reading challenge...stick to it!...don't stop...it's worth it.

 

Page 236 to 239

KAY FLEW BACK TO WASHINGTON, arriving on July 26. He was already coming to the conclusion that they might not find stockpiles of WMD anywhere in Iraq, and he wanted Tenet to get the CIA stations in the region to see if Saddam might have smuggled WMD out of Iraq before the war. Spider Marks and his team had seen trucks heading toward the Syrian border but they still couldn't improve on Marks's statement that the trucks might, for all they knew, contain Toys 'R' Us bicycles.

"Look, things may have gone across borders, but you're going to have to energize the intelligence community to find out what's in those countries because we can't," Kay told Tenet. His group couldn't operate outside Iraq. 'All we can report is evidence of movement toward border."

"I want you to come with me to the White House tomorrow morning, for the President's Daily Brief," Tenet said. "Come in early and you can get a ride down with the PDB briefer." The President's Daily Brief was the highly classified report of the most sensitive and supposedly Important intelligence that went only to Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld, Rice and a few others.

The next morning, Kay arrived at CIA headquarters at 5:30. The woman in charge of the PDB told him, "We're glad you're briefing this morning, because it means we can reuse this material. We're getting sort thin, and we can reuse it."

Kay was surprised to hear that PDB intelligence was not so urgent or relevant that it had to be used immediately. He was more surprised about his presumed role that morning. “I’m briefing?" Kay asked.

Yes, she said.

Tenet was waiting at the White House, along with Rumsfeld and Andy Card. Kay and the PDB briefer went into the Oval Office, where Bush and Cheney were waiting. She went through her sections of the presentation, and then Kay was asked to report.

"The biggest mistake we made was to let looting and lawlessness break out," Kay said. Iraq was a mess and that made his job vastly more difficult. "Some of this evidence is beginning to shape up as if they had a just-in-time policy," he said, explaining the Soviet surge capability theory.  They might have had the equipment, the facilities and the material to make WMD on short notice but they might not have actually produced any.

We have not found large stockpiles," Kay said. "You can't rule them out. We haven't come to the conclusion that they're not there, but  they're sure not any place obvious. We've got a lot more to search for and to look at"

"Keep at it," Bush said. "You understand you're to find out the truth about the program. David, what do you need that we can do for you?"

"Sir, the only thing we need right now is time and patience," Kay said.

"You have the time," Bush said. "I have the patience."

Kay left the meeting almost shocked at Bush's lack of inquisitiveness. Kay had a Ph.D. and had taught at high levels, and he was used to being asked challenging, aggressive questions. A lot of the trauma in getting a graduate degree was surviving the environment of doubt, skepticism and challenge. 

HERE IS A GOOD POINT TO INTERJECT...BUSH & A LACK OF INQUISITIVENESS...NOW THERE IS A SHOCKER!

"He trusted me more than I trusted me," Kay later recalled. "If the positions had been reversed, and this is primarily personality, I think, I would have probed. I would have asked. I would have said, “What have "you done? What haven't you done? Why haven't you done it?' You know, ‘Are you getting the support out of DOD?' The soft spots. Didn't do it."

Cheney had been quiet in the meeting, but on the way out he and Scooter Libby pulled Kay aside. Cheney was now as probing as Bush had been passive. He was particularly concerned about the possible Syrian connection to WMD. What did Kay think? Cheney asked. Was there evidence? Could the weapons have gone to Syria?

"If things went across the border," Kay replied, "we can't go across the borders." He had alerted Tenet to the problem, he added.

Cheney inquired about the possibility that WMD could have been smuggled out and taken to the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, an area dominated by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, which had deep terrorist connections.

Again, Kay said, any meaningful assessment or action would have to involve the CIA stations.

Cheney pressed. He seemed to have a conviction that something had gone to Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. 

RAPTOR NOTE: WATCH OUT BEKKA VALLEY...VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY HAS YOUR NUMBER!

Lebanon? Kay thought to himself. The Israelis and their intelligence services knew the most about the Bekaa. He thought of saying, "Don't ask me, ask the Israelis." But he let it pass.

Libby had a small sheaf of intelligence reports, including some sensitive, raw NSA communications intercepts. Kay hadn't seen them, because like the intercept he'd been called about at 3 A.M. in Baghdad, they were Executive Signals Intercepts or involved individual conversations or snippets. The CIA had analysts whose job it was to take dozens of such intercepts and reports, sift through them and distill them into usable conclusions. As with many intercepts, they were maddeningly vague. They had interesting little tidbits, and sometimes even specific locations were mentioned, but it was as clear as smoke.

Kay was astounded that the vice president of the United States was using such raw intelligence. Here Cheney and Libby were acting like a couple of junior analysts, poring over fragments as if they were trying to decipher the Da Vinci Code. If only the world could be understood that way.

Kay said later, "Cheney had a stock of interpretations and facts that he thought proved a case and he wanted to be sure that you examined them. It was very sort of in the weeds, detailed, evidentiary questions, and not about what I had said, but about what he knew, that he wanted to know a little more. It was almost a doctoral exam. You're worried about someone trying to trip you up. 'Have you read this source?' "

Afterward, Kay had a call from Colin Powell asking him to come to the State Department. He'd known Powell in 1991 and 1992, when he was the U.N. nuclear inspections Chief in Iraq and Powell was JCS chairman. Powell had not been included in the White House briefing, and he wanted to hear what Kay was finding. As the public face of the American declaration before the United Nations that Saddam had WMD, Powell had almost as much at stake as Bush. 

RAPTOR NOTE: IT IS APPARENT THAT POWELL WAS A STOOGE AND GOT THE FREEZE OUT FROM BUSH'S ADMINISTRATION - WHAT A SHAME WHERE THE RAPTOR IS CONCERNED...POWELL HAD THE CREDIBILITY THAT BUSH, CHENEY, RICE AND RUMSFELD LACKED

Kay gave Powell basically the same briefing that he had given to Bush-inconclusive but basically a neutral to negative report.

"This is my personal e-mail address," Powell said, handing Kay a card as he turned to leave. "Write me if you have any concerns or any questions."

Kay looked at the card when he got back to Langley and almost died laughing. Powell had given him a regular, commercial, America Online e-mail address, a communication method about as secure and confidential as spray-painting graffiti on a highway overpass.

"Here I am sitting in the CIA headquarters," Kay thought. "I'm going to send something to an AOL account?"

RAPTOR NOTE - POWELL = STOOGE

 

Page 240 to 242

RUMSFELD JUST WAS NOT PAYING ATTENTION, Rice and Hadley had concluded by August 2003. He was not showing the same interest in postwar Iraq as he had with the military invasion plans. The only option was for the NSC to step in and manage Bremer more directly.

RAPTOR NOTE: RUMSFELD NOT PAYING ATTENTION...WHY DOE THAT NOT SURPRISE ME!

Rice needed someone dedicated to the task, and she thought of the man who had been her boss on the NSC in George H. W. Bush's administration. Robert D. Blackwill, 63, had recently resigned as ambassador to India to teach at Harvard.

Blackwill had served 22 years in the Foreign Service and had worked in the upper reaches of the State Department, including a stint as an aide to Henry Kissenger.  At 6-foot-3 and heavyset with white hair, he looked like Santa Claus when he smiled. But he was a prickly, demanding boss, who often referred to himself as Godzilla. In India, he had roiled the embassy staff. Two State Department inspector general reports criticized his management style.

RAPTOR NOTE: IS SOMEONE WHO IS "PRICKLY" A PRICK?

Hadley, the consummate staff man, started canvassing people who had worked with Blackwill.  The general report: Don’t bring him in. He’ll be disruptive. He has a terrible reputation. People don't want to work with him. He's after your job, and he has even let it be known he wants to be Condi's deputy.

Al Kamen's popular "In the Loop" column in The Washington Post in July had quoted unnamed officials -"mischief makers," Kamen called them - suggesting that Hadley might move over to the Pentagon to make room for Blackwill.

But Rice wanted Blackwill's brainpower, so she and Hadley called him to the White House. They summarized the rap on him, and said there would be new rules of civility and collegiality if he joined the NSC staff

"I hear you," Blackwill said. "I understand exactly what you're saying and I tell you that you will not have cause to complain."

In a second tough session, Rice asked Blackwill if he would have trouble working for her, his former subordinate, or for Hadley. He said he would not.

Blackwill was given the exalted title of coordinator for strategic planning on the NSC staff. Soon Rice made him point man for Iraq.

After a couple of weeks Blackwill told Rice and Hadley. "We're losing. We're just losing this whole thing.  The public opinion's going against us. This is awful. We're losing the battle for Iraq heart and soul."

Rice's immediate concern was not the situation on the ground in Iraq. The problem, she told Blackwill, was "the dysfunctional U.S. government." He soon understood what she meant. He attended the deputies committee meetings where Armitage and Doug Feith often sat across from each other in the Situation Room. The hostility between them was enormous, and Blackwill watched as Armitage, a mountain of a man, barked at Feith. It was almost as if Armitage wanted to reach across the table and snap Feith's neck like a twig. Armitage's knuckles even turned white.

RAPTOR NOTE: JUST SEEING A PICTURE OF DOUGLAS FEITH MAKES ME WANT TO DRIVE HIM INTO THE GROUND LIKE A SPIKE

The principals meetings or NSC meetings with Powell and Rumsfeld were not as coarse but had the same surreal quality, rarely airing the real issues. Blackwill, a veteran of the Kissenger style, was astonished. Rumsfeld made his presentation looking at the president, while Powell looked straight ahead. Then Powell would make his to the president with Rumsfeld looking straight ahead. They didn't even comment on each other's statements or views. So Bush never had the benefit of a serious, substantive discussion between his principal advisers. And the president, whose legs often jiggled under the table, did not force a discussion.

RAPTOR NOTE: IF BUSH COULDN'T SEE THIS...HE WAS PROBABLY ENGROSSED IN A CROSSWARD PUZZLE OR SOMETHING

Blackwill saw Rice try to intervene and get nowhere. So critical comments and questions-especially about military strategy-never surfaced. Blackwill felt sympathy for Rice. This young woman, he thought, had to deal with three of the titans of national security - Cheney, Rumsfeld and Powell - all of whom had decades of experience, cachet and strong views. The image locked in Blackwill's mind of Rice, dutiful, informed and polite, at one end of the table, and the inexperienced president at the other, legs dancing, while the bulls staked out their ground almost snorting defiantly, hoofs pawing the table, daring a challenge that never came.

 

Page 245 to 248

Rice was at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia on August 19, 2003, playing tennis on the last day of her vacation.  It was one of those rare four-day periods when not much happened.

The person on duty as her secure communications operator came running up.  “I have to talk to you.”

A massive truck bomb had gone off at the U.N. Headquarters In Baghdad.  Reports were incomplete but there were many killed and injured.  Sergio Vieira de Mello, the delegation head, was injured and reportedly buried in the rubble but able to talk to rescue workers.  Rice packed up her car and she and her security and communications team headed back to Washington.

Vieira de Mello is dead, the watch officer from the Situation Room said in a call.

Rice felt as if she'd been punched in the gut. She had personally urged Vieira de Mello, a highly respected diplomat who had been with the U.N. for 34 years, to go to Iraq.

RAPTOR NOTE: PUNCHED IN THE GUT?  WHAT A LOOSER!

What an outrage, Bush told her when they spoke later, that terrorists would go after the U.N.

She said it was apparently the first such attack of this magnitude on a U.N. headquarters. The final death toll was 22, with many more wounded. Hit-and-run attacks had occurred before, but such wholesale barbarity? For Rice, it meant something else was going on here. It was devastating and symbolic at once. What was happening? She felt out of touch.

Bush met with the National Security Council the next day, August 20. “An ugly day for freedom, but it should toughen our resolve to do what we have to do for freedom," he said. "We're at war. It's a different kind of war, but war nonetheless, and we will win it. Terrorists want us to retreat and we cannot. We need to redouble our efforts against terror."

Having set the tone, the president went into some operational matters. "We need to make assessments about what are the soft targets that are in Iraq? How are we going to harden those soft targets? Look, we need to reanalyze the enemy. What's his strategy? We've got to be constantly reviewing our offensive plan to take into account the changes we're seeing." He added, "This is a thinking enemy that changes, and as he changes, we need to change. And attacking the U.N. mission was a change. Now, what has he just told us, this enemy?"

They were facing a host of new questions, and Bush rattled some of them off, "What are we going to do about bad guys coming out of Syria and Iran? We need to counter those. We need better intelligence and military capabilities to deal with these guys." But he quickly pulled back from the more specific things that needed to be addressed. "Groups that respond by pulling out of Iraq are simply giving in to the killers and rewarding them," he said, back in pep talk mode.

Bremer, who was piped into the meeting over the secure video teleconference, said the U.N. attack needed to be a wake-up call for the Iraqis, and that the temporary Iraqi Governing Council had to take action. They need to get their faces out front, Bremer said, both internationally and with their own people. We need to rally the Iraqi people so they will rally the international community, he said. He wanted the Governing Council to call on the Iraqi people to support the police and the army.

“Do we have the communications strategy to be able to run with Al-Jazeera?" Bush asked.

"We have a network. We're using it," someone said.

"We should - Do we have the communications network?" Bush asked.

"Yes," someone said again. "We have our network, and we're also trying to use Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya to the extent we can."

"Our theme should be that the Iraqis should not allow foreign fighters to come into Iraq," the president said. "We need to play on a sense of nationalism that will motivate Iraqis to cooperate with us to exclude the foreigners."

The irony of the commander in chief of an occupation force of approximately 130,000 heavily armed foreign troops saying they should play on Iraqi nationalism and convince the people of Iraq to "exclude the foreigners" seemed to go unnoticed.

"We need to look at all possible sources of attack from all groups," Bush said. "Who did this and who do we worry about? We've learned something. We need to reevaluate who is the enemy, what are his tactics, and how do we adapt to it?"

It was a wake-up call for Bush and his war cabinet, but the president avoided mentioning it publicly. He flew to the Pacific Northwest to give speeches on the environment. Two days after the NSC meeting, a reporter asked him whether the conflict in Iraq was becoming a guerrilla war against the West.

"The way I view this is Iraq is turning out to be a continuing battle in the war on terror," Bush said. "You know, it's one thing to remove the Saddarn Hussein regime from power in order to protect America and our friends and allies, which we did. And then there are - we found resistance from former Baathist officials. These people decided that, well; they'd rather fight than work for peaceful reconstruction of Iraq because they weren't going to be in power anymore. I also believe there's a foreign element that is moving into Iraq and these will be al-Qaeda - type fighters. They want to fight us there because they can't stand the thought of a free society in the Middle East. They hate freedom. They hate the thought of a democracy emerging. And therefore, they want to violently prevent that from happening."

He added in a radio address on August 23 that the picture in most of Iraq was rosy, despite the attack on the U.N. "There is steady movement toward reconstruction and a stable, self-governing society. This progress makes the remaining terrorists even more desperate and willing to lash out against symbols of order and hope, like coalition forces and U.N. personnel.  The world will not be intimidated. A violent few will not determine the future of Iraq, and there will be no return to the days of Saddam Hussein’s torture chambers and mass graves.”

 

Page 285 to 286

By February 5, Silberman was over at the White House, meeting with Card to work out the particulars.

"I just got the most extraordinary phone call from Tom Foley, that he couldn't serve," Card said. News of his participation on the mission had leaked to the press, and Foley had come under pressure from congressional Democrats not to participate. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the San Francisco Democrat, had convinced Foley to back out, Card said, arguing that the presidential commission was designed to give Bush political cover on the failure to find WMD nearly a year after the Iraq invasion.

“A commission appointed and controlled by the White House will not have the independence or credibility necessary to investigate these issues," wrote Pelosi and two senior Senate Democrats, Minority Leader Tom Daschle and Senator John D. Rockefeller IV; the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, in a letter to Bush. "Even some of your own statements and those of Vice President Cheney need independent scrutiny."

Privately, they had convinced Foley not to lend his name to the effort. Card said the president was disappointed.

Bush and Cheney dropped by Card's office.

"What do you think, Larry?" the president asked. "Do you want to be chairman by yourself?"

"I'm not sure that's wise," Silberman replied. "I was appointed as a Republican. I'll be perceived as a Republican. I think there ought to be a co-chairman."

"I think so too," Bush said. Bush, Cheney, Card and Silberman started to brainstorm for a co-chair who could give the commission some political balance and themselves political cover. "

What about Chuck Robb? Bush suggested. Charles S. Robb was a former Democratic governor and senator from Virginia, and son-in-law of Lyndon Johnson. Robb had been a Marine captain in Vietnam, and as a senator for 12 years, from 1989 to 2001; he had served on each of the key national security committees - Foreign Relations, Armed Services and Intelligence.

Robb was viewed as a moderate, even conservative Democrat. He was known in Virginia as an almost-republican. He had supported the 1991 Persian Gulf War and criticized President Clinton's decision to rule out using ground troops in Kosovo in 1999.

The president called Robb, who agreed to serve. 

Bush, Cheney, Card and Silberman then reviewed some lists of names to fill out the commission. Silberman knew they would need at least one real, liberal Democrat and so he suggested Judge Patricia Wald, a Carter appointee with whom he had served on the federal appeals court. The two were ideological opposites, but Silberman said he had enormous respect for her.

"Zeal, intelligence, courage and integrity," he said. "Well, it's your pick," Card responded.

Later, when Karl Rove heard about the Democrats on the committee, he was taken aback.

"Pat Wald?" Rove joked to Bush in disbelief. "Don't you remember, Mr. President? Back in the antediluvian age, she was a Commie."

Bush told Rice that he didn't want a congressional investigation that resembled the Church and Pike committees after Watergate in 1975-76 that exposed CIA and NSA spying on U.S. citizens, drug testing and assassination plots of foreign leaders including Cuba's Fidel Castro. The president thought those investigations had been witch hunts. They had demoralized the CIA and had wound up limiting presidential power.

THE DEMOCRATIC LEADERS in the House and Senate wanted to model the WMD investigation on the 9/11 Commission created by law, with the president and Congress each appointing half its members. Massachusetts Senator John F. Kerry, who was emerging as the leader in the race for the Democratic nomination for president, called for an independent inquiry into the WMD intelligence.

"It goes to the core of why the nation went to war," he said. "If there is that kind of failure, the kind of separation between the truth of what the CIA tells the White House and what happens, then we have to separate that investigation from the White House so the American people get the truth."

The president was not about to lose control of the investigation. At 1:30 P.M. Friday, February 6, he took the podium in the White House press briefing room to announce that he was signing an executive order appointing nine people to the Silberman-Robb Commission. They would have broad authority not just to look at Iraq WMD intelligence, but to study WMD intelligence worldwide and look at all U.S. intelligence capabilities and organizations.  


Page 296

Bob Blackwill was handed the U.N. task. Not surprisingly he found that Cheney and Rumsfeld were not enthusiastic at all. "We'll get the U.N. in," Rumsfeld warned Blackwill, "and we'll lose control."

"Yeah, but I think we can manage it," Blackwill insisted, and he went on a recruiting drive. He zeroed in on Lakhdar Brahimi, a former Algerian foreign minister who had headed the U.N. mission in Afghanistan for two years. In Blackwill's view, Brahimi, a 70-year-old secular Sunni, was a world-class diplomat, the kind of person who could really help with everything from funding, to stability to elections.

Absolutely not," Brahimi said, when Blackwill solicited his help. Brahimi detested the American approach and did not want to become an enabler of or spokesman for U.S. Iraq policy.

Still, Blackwill kept up the diplomatic courtship. In January, Brahimi became top adviser to Secretary General Kofi Annan on peace and security. Though he resisted focusing primarily on Iraq in his new job, Blackwill and Rice invited him to the White House to press him to help with Iraq. Powell dropped by during the visit, and Bush made time to talk with Brahimi too.

The wooing worked, and Brahimi and Blackwill went to Iraq. The two men virtually lived together there for three months. As sovereignty was about to be transferred, Brahimi warned Blackwill that something would have to be done for the Sunnis, who had run things under Saddam. They were used to their privileges - the first group of positions in the military academy, the medical schools and just about everything else. "If you got all these exiles," Brahimi said, referring to the Shiites likely to rule, "none of whom have any real political roots in this country, this thing is going to turn into a terrible mess."

Blackwill tried to reach out to the Sunnis, who were really only a fifth of the population, and keep them involved. In one meeting with a key Sunni leader, he said, "I want to reassure you that it's our intent that the Sunnis in this new Iraq have in every dimension a status and privileges consistent with their role and number in Iraqi society."

"Mr. Ambassador," the Sunni said, formally addressing the former envoy to India, "you don't understand. We want to run Iraq."

It was a frightening moment for Blackwill, who sensed that it would take a generation or two to get the Sunnis adjusted to majority Shiite rule.

 

Page 302 to Page 303

Rice voiced agreement and expressed immense frustration at Rumsfeld and the Pentagon, but never said she would force the issue. Blackwill, who still often referred to himself as Godzilla, was no shrinking flower. As Rice's former boss in Bush senior's NSC, he had an opportunity to press. But he didn't want to be so coarse as to ask, "Well, what are you going to do about it?" Rice had put up a slight wall, and Blackwill wanted to be careful not to be seen as trying to penetrate her relationship with the president.

Blackwill also pressed Hadley about the military strategy. "If we have a military strategy, I can't identify it," the deputy national security adviser said. "I don't know what's worse - that they have one and won't tell us or that they don't have one."

AND THEN THERE WAS poor Frank Miller, Blackwill thought, trying to find solutions. Miller was indefatigable, trying to help the troops in Iraq moving electrical generators or guarding pipelines or securing transportation routes. Blackwill figured he wasn't being paid enough to ever go to any of Miller's meetings. They were exercises in frustration and futility.

It had taken Blackwill a while to understand what was really wrong, but now he felt he fully comprehended. There was no way that Rice, Hadley, Miller or he could fix Iraq because they had no control over the real problem: There were not enough troops. Everyone got diverted, trying to solve derivatives of the real problem. But those problems couldn't be solved until somebody fixed the real problem of not having enough troops on the ground.

Instead of the top 10 to-do list he'd wanted after he had come back from Iraq in March, Miller's reconstituted Executive Steering Group now had a list of 90 things that were supposed to be completed by June 30, a few months away, when the transfer of sovereignty was scheduled.  That's useless, he said again. We need to pick out the 10 most important. Chairing the ESG was frustrating. Defense was increasingly out of it. Feith sent a different person from his policy staff each time. When Feith came, he'd refuse to discuss issues, saying he hadn't talked with Rumsfeld about them and so, of course, he couldn't engage. Then he'd come back with Rumsfeld's inflexible position.

Miller thought he'd never seen a group of people less able to advance their own interests. In the field the division commanders knew what needed to be done, but they weren't getting support. Where is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Dick Myers? Miller wondered. Why wasn't Meyers pounding the table saying, “Why aren’t my soldiers supported?” 

Page 316 to 317

 ON JULY 15, 2004, Steve Herbits, Rumsfeld's one-man think tank, sat down at his computer and wrote a scathing seven-page report entitled "Summary of Post-Iraq Planning and Execution Problems." Though he discussed the postwar planning and policies, and Bremer, his real target was his friend of 37 years, Don Rumsfeld. The memo listed a series of tough questions:

. "Why didn't Rumsfeld supervise him [Bremer] the way he did Franks?"

. "Who made the decision and why didn't we reconstitute the Iraqi Army?"

. "Did no one realize we were going to need Iraqi security forces?" . "Did no one anticipate the importance of stabilization and how best to achieve it?"

. "Why was the de-Baathification so wide and deep?"

"Rumsfeld's style of operation," Herbits wrote, was the "Haldeman model, arrogant," referring to Nixon's White House chief of staff, H. R. "Bob" Haldeman.

"Indecisive, contrary to popular image," Herbits wrote of Rumsfeld. "Would not accept that some people in some areas were smarter than he . . . . Trusts very few people. Very, very cautious.  Rubber glove syndrome" - a tendency not to leave his fingerprints on decisions.

Rumsfeld was "often abusive" in meetings. "He diminished important people in front of others.

"He had a prosecutor's interrogation style. While he was trying to improve product - and his questioning almost always did - his style became counterproductive Summary: Did Rumsfeld err with the fundamental political calculation of this administration: not getting the post-Iraq rebuilding process right within 18 months?"

TENET WENT TO SEE BUSH alone in early June. He had to get out. His doctor had told him he was jeopardizing his health. He'd had a heart attack years ago when he'd been on the Clinton NSC staff.

Bush said he didn't want any member of his war cabinet leaving now, in the election year.

Tenet knew he and the CIA were targets. The Senate Intelligence Committee was investigating Iraq WMD, Silberman and Robb were investigating. The 9/11 Commission report was coming out soon. He insisted that he was out.

The president had no choice. . The June 4 Washington Post front-page headline read, "Tenet Resigns as CIA Director; Intelligence Chief Praised by Bush, but Critics Cite Lapses on Iraq War." Tenet had given a tearful speech at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, the day before, saying he was leaving because he wanted to spend more time with his wife and teenage son, who would be leaving for college the following year. He had been director for seven years, under two presidents, and had seen the agency for better or worse through both 9/11 and the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. On July 11, he officially left office.

Eleven days later, the 9/11 Commission released its report. Among its many recommendations was the creation of a director of national intelligence who would oversee the entire intelligence community, including the CIA.

Page 334 to Page 337

A few more weeks went by. Now the plan was stalled by the State Department, which was concerned about transferring sensitive U.S. military technology to a foreign government. Finally, at the end of December, they repainted three C-130s with Iraqi flags on the tails.

Myers thought that wasn't too bad a record. Three months was an accomplishment. But Miller thought it was ridiculous that it took this much effort to get a simple presidential order carried out in the spirit in which it was issued. The snail's pace was not because nobody gave a damn - though Miller thought it sure looked that way at times. It was because too often no one was made responsible and then held responsible.

Miller's complaints finally got some attention at the Pentagon. Myers called to declare, "We've got a master plan."

Hadley went over to the Pentagon for a briefing, taking Miller and O'Sullivan with him. Skip Sharp, who headed the plans and policy directorate, gave them a presentation with 60 or 70 items that he said needed to be accomplished in Iraq. It was another ponderous list of basic infrastructure and security issues. Each item was marked with the familiar stoplight red, yellow or green, marking alleged progress.

At the end of the Pentagon meeting, Hadley said to Miller, "Here, Frank, take it. Keeper of the lists. Take it."

Miller knew that the State Department had a very similar list. So much of it was the same-worthy goals such as getting the electricity working, building sewer lines, and putting Iraqis back to work. Make sure that there are embassy representatives with each of the military commanders, the State Department list said, and that each embassy representative has someone from USAID with them. But the list never really got reduced to eight or 10 priority items.

PRINCE BANDAR AND HIS AIDE, Rihab Massoud, had half a dozen meetings with President Bush in 2004. Bush's deep religious convictions came up time and time again, and he talked about his faith and his relationship with God. The president made it clear that he felt no doubt that a higher authority was looking after him and guiding him. "I get guidance from God in prayer," he said, and mentioned a number of times that he had asked for, prayed for and received such guidance.

RAPTOR NOTE: FAITH IS NOT GOING TO WIN THIS WAR - ITS PLAIN AND SIMPLE

The Lord had played an important part in his life, Bush said, and prayer was a significant element of his daily routine. It helped him, he said, and gave him comfort. He made it clear that he felt the burdens that God had put on his shoulders as president. Bush said he relied on his faith to carry him through.

Whenever Bush saw or talked with the Crown Prince he referred to their shared, deep belief in God. The Crown Prince sent Bush a prayer, which the president told Bandar he used.

"This is the most precious thing I ever got," the president said.

IN THE TWO MONTHS before the presidential election, Bush would be campaigning almost nonstop. Rice decided that either she, Hadley or Bob Blackwill would travel with the president wherever he went.

Since Rice was giving her own speeches around the country - a controversial role for a national security adviser -and Hadley was much more of the nuts-and-bolts NSC manager, the campaign travel duty often fell to Blackwill. He got up at 4:30 each morning so he could go over the President's Daily Brief with the CIA before Bush received it.  Blackwill's focus was whether anything in the PDB could cause difficulty in the campaign. What was out there that might suddenly surface as an election issue? He gave special attention to intelligence reports on possible terrorist attacks in the U.S.

The daily campaign routine began after Bush heard the PDB briefing-which took 20 to 25 minutes before 7 A.M. Then he and his entourage headed out to Andrews Air Force Base. There usually were six or seven events scheduled, in as many as three states, with helicopters flying Bush from one event to the next.  The stops were often an hour or less.  Bush landed, made his speech, and then was back in the air.  Karen Hughes, Bush's longtime aide and communications adviser, spent the travel time writing Bush's remarks and rewriting his stump speech. Karl Rove would be pushing campaign strategy on the president, calibrating the impact of presidential visits in the key battleground states.

"If you go to this stop in Ohio you can catch the tip of West Virginia," Rove told Bush in one such instance.

Blackwill was struck that there was never any real time to discuss policy. In between the stops or in the air, whenever Iraq came up, it was always through the prism of the campaign. What had the Democratic nominee, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, said that day about Iraq? What had happened on the ground in Iraq that might impact the president's bid for reelection? As the NSC coordinator for Iraq, Blackwill probably knew as much about the war as anybody in the White House.

He had spent months in Iraq with Bremer. But he was with the campaign only as part of the politics of reelection. Not once did Bush ask Blackwill what things were like in Iraq, what he had seen, or what should be done. Blackwill was astonished at the round-the-clock, all-consuming focus on winning the election. Nothing else came close.

In the days and weeks just before Election Day, violence surged in Iraq. The classified figures showed that the number of insurgent attacks in Iraq had soared over the summer, going from 1,750 or so in June and July to more than 3,000 in August. In September there was some hope, as the number of attacks fell to just over 2,000, but in October they were back up to about 2,500.

The violence was now 10 times worse than it had been when Bush landed on the aircraft carrier in May 2003 and declared that major combat was over. New Iraqi army and police units rolling out of training were being butchered. Insurgents were getting reliable intelligence and acting on it. In Diyala Province, about 100 miles northeast of Baghdad, insurgents dressed as Iraqi police set up a false checkpoint on October 23. They grabbed 49 new Iraqi soldiers off a bus, forced them to lie down, and executed them with bullets to the head. Between 30 and 50 percent of all trained Iraqi units melted away and went home.

It was clear to Blackwill that things weren't going well. For over a year he had been baffled there was no military strategy. Again and again, Bush talked about Iraq strategy in his campaign speeches, but never gave specifics. He talked about goals, expressed his optimism and determination, and gave pep talks. "We have a strategy that says to our commanders, adapt to the ways on the ground," Bush said in a September 23 speech in Bangor, Maine. "The way to prevail, the way toward the successful conclusion we all want, the way to secure Iraq and bring our troops home is not to wilt or waver or send mixed signals to the enemy. We can grieve, but we will not waver."

Blackwill had taught strategy at Harvard. Strategy involves a series of actions to achieve a goal and entails answering questions such as: What is going to be done? By whom?  When? Where? How? The president, whom Blackwill liked and respected as a political leader, instead talked about winning and goals. But as Blackwill taught in his class, "Aspirations aren't strategy." The administration had no real strategy, he concluded.

Rice had made it clear that her authority did not extend to Rumsfeld or the military, so Blackwill never forced the issue with her. Still, he  wondered why the president never challenged the military. Why didn't he say to General Abizaid at the end of one of his secure video briefings,  "John, let's have another of these on Thursday and what I really want, from you is please explain to me, let's take an hour and a half, your military strategy for victory."

Lack of a strategy in Iraq and the worsening situation on the ground never quite grabbed hold in the campaign. Part of that had to do with skillful politics. The public learned of specific, spectacular violence through news reports. But the real evidence of just how badly things were going-the data and trends on the violence, the number and the effectiveness of the enemy-initiated attacks-was all kept classified, hid- den away from the voting public.


Page 364 to 366

The worst thing, Armitage said, would be for a deputy to be promoted to the top spot. "Don't do it," Armitage warned.

Hadley said he agreed. The number one and the number two jobs were different, requiring different skills. He also felt that it was important for a second-term president to demonstrate that he was robust and powerful, that he could bring in people even more qualified for the top jobs than the people leaving. He called this the "oh, wow'~ factor. Finding new, true heavyweights for the top posts would generate it’s own momentum and credibility.

Hadley also agreed the president ought to replace most of his national security team. They had a lot of baggage, especially the Iraq War. Bush needed a clean start. In the first term he hadn't had the diplomacy of the country harnessed behind his agenda, Hadley believed, and Powell had only carried out a modified version of Bush's agenda. It was often too much Powell, and not enough Bush. Powell was too independent- minded. So it made sense to make Rice secretary of state.

But Rumsfeld was a managerial and bureaucratic lone ranger. No one would call Rumsfeld a team player, and he wasn't going to change. He continued to disparage the NSC and the interagency process on both the largest and smallest matters. Hadley was known to refer sarcastically in private to "the great Don Rumsfeld." 

Hadley joined the parade who told Bush he needed a new national security team. But Bush had different ideas, and he asked Hadley to move up to fill Rice's shoes as national security adviser. "I need you to do this," the president said.

The summons-and opportunity-for presidential service at this level could not be refused, at least not by Hadley.

So it's ironic, isn't it," Hadley later said to Armitage, "that I find myself in this position."

"Yeah," Armitage said. "I don't know whether to congratulate you or offer you condolences."

Hadley said he wasn't sure himself.

 

THE HARD DUTY OF INFORMING Colin Powell that he was out fell to Card. He phoned Powell and invited him to his West Wing office.

"The president wants to make a change," Card said, delivering the classic line.

"Well, fine. We talked about that," Powell replied.  

"The president is likely to name Condi. I'm pretty sure it's going to be Condi. Obviously something could happen between now and the time it does, but I think it's going to happen, and you should plan on it."

"Okay," Powell asked, "when do you want my letter?"

"If you get the letter to me, I will hold it. No one will know I have It." ~ they would release it only at a mutually agreed-on time.

"There's a lot coming up right now," Powell said. "We've got all the meetings in December, all the ministerial meetings, a lot of other things coming along." There were NATO conferences, an annual summit in Chile, a December gathering of Arab leaders in Morocco. The Iraqi elections would be January 30. "Do you want to wait and let me go through all of that?"

"No," Card replied, and said there were going to be other cabinet changes too. "The president thinks if we're going to do it and we're doing all the others, we ought to do them all at once."

"Is there going to be a change at the Defense Department?" Powell asked.

"I haven't seen any indication of that yet," Card replied. Powell understood. If all the cabinet changes were going to be announced at once, and yet there was no indication of a change at Defense, it meant Rumsfeld was probably staying. Clearly disappointed, Powell became much more emotional than Card had expected.

It suddenly became emotional for Card too. The meeting turned sad. Nobody could have been a better secretary of state for Bush's first four years, Card thought. Bush had come in with no foreign policy expertise or interest, and he picked Powell, who was known and respected in the United States and around the world. Powell was no shoot-from-the-hip Texan. He'd been tested as Reagan's national security adviser and as chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Back in 2001, Powell was already thought of as a statesman, and he had helped Bush clear lots of hurdles. But Card did not think Powell would be right for the second term. Maybe he would go on to be the secretary-general of the United Nations.

Powell was a towering figure, and Card wanted him to leave at the top of his game, but he thought the secretary of state was kind of like a Hall of Fame-bound baseball player who wants one more time at bat. It was sad, but not everyone could be Ted Williams and go out with a home run.

"You've made great contributions," Card said, trying to comfort. "But we're going to another phase."

RAPTOR NOTE: TEARS WERE FALLING AT THIS POINT!

Afterward, Card gave a full report to the president and recounted the feeling of sadness and how Colin Powell was not Ted Williams.

 


Bush was impatient as usual. He had picked Rice and she had accepted. He wanted to get it announced. Where was Powell's resignation letter?

Card waited several days and the letter didn't come. He called Powell at home. It was a polite but curt conversation. Where's the letter? "It's on its way," Powell said.

The letter arrived Sunday, November 14. Two days later, Bush announced Rice's nomination. He praised Powell, and in a single paragraph announced that Hadley would be his new national security adviser.

 


Page 420

Even the president's father had confided that he was unhappy with Rice. "Condi is a disappointment, isn't she?" the former president had offered, adding, "She's not up to the job."

From his military contacts, as far as Scowcroft could tell, General Myers, the outgoing chairman of the JCS, was a broken man, a puppy dog. General Pace was worse. Pace had watched Myers with Rumsfeld for four years, knew exactly what he was getting into, and accepted it anyway.

Cheney was the worst, Scowcroft felt. "What's happened to Dick Cheney?" all the old hands were saying to him, the people who'd known him for years. "It's a chorus. 'We don't know this Dick Cheney.' "

Rumsfeld was behaving as he always had, going back to the Ford administration-"enigmatic, obstructionist, devious, never knows what his game is." To Scowcroft, Rumsfeld was a wholly negative force.

Most tragic, Scowcroft felt, was that the administration had believed Saddam was running a modem, efficient state, and thought that when he was toppled there would be an operating society left behind. They hadn't seen that everything would collapse, and that they would have to start from zero. They hadn't seen the need for security, or that probably 90 - percent of the Iraqi army could have been saved and used. So Iraqis now felt overwhelmingly insecure. Without security there was little opportunity to give people a stake in their society, little reason for them to have a positive attitude. It seemed to Scowcroft that the Iraqis were in despair.

But the administration wouldn't reexamine or reevaluate its policy. As he often said, "I just don't know how you operate unless you continually challenge your own assumptions." Most distressing to Scowcroft was to see his good friend and former leader Bush senior, "41," as Scowcroft called him, in "agony," "anguished" and "tormented" by the war and what had happened afterward. It was terrible. The father still wanted his son to succeed. But what a tangled relationship! In his younger years, Scowcroft thought, George W. couldn't decide whether he was going to rebel against his father or try to beat him at his own game. Now, he had tried at the game, and it was a disaster. Scowcroft was sure that 41 would never have behaved this way - "not in a million years."

 


Page 423

The other, bigger message in Bush's speech, however, was that the White House was going to come out swinging at anyone who claimed Bush and Cheney had misled the country before the war. The effect was to equate criticism with undermining the troops.

"While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began," Bush said, prompting applause from the audience of troops and veterans. "The stakes in the global war on terror are too high, and the national interest is too important, for politicians to throw out false charges," he added, to more applause. "These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will

ON NOVEMBER 16, Cheney gave an address to a conservative organization called the Frontiers of Freedom Institute, and amplified Bush's challenge. The accusation that they had lied was "one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city," he said, adding, "The saddest part is that our people in uniform have been subjected to these cynical and pernicious falsehoods day in and day out. American soldiers and Marines are out there every day in dangerous conditions and desert temperatures-conducting raids, training Iraqi forces, countering at- tacks, seizing weapons, and capturing killers-and back home a few opportunists are suggesting they were sent into battle for a lie. The President and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone-but we're not going to sit by and let them rewrite history."

That day, the White House released a 5,OOO-word, point-by-point rebuttal of a 913-word New York Times editorial that was sharply critical of Bush's prewar WMD rhetoric, and the more recent administration "claims that questioning his actions three years ago is a betrayal of the troops in battle today."

THE NEXT DAY, Congressman Jack Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat, introduced a resolution in Congress calling for American troops in Iraq to be "redeployed"-the military term for returning troops overseas to their home bases-"at the earliest practicable date." Murtha, a former Marine Corps drill instructor and the first Vietnam veteran elected to Congress, had excellent sources among the armed forces. No one had better credentials as a supporter of the military than the 73-year-old Murtha

 

Page 443

A series of videoconferences was set up so Hadley could talk at length with Baghdad-the embassy and General Casey's command. He got into SO much detail, drilled down so far, and had to pullout so much information that the conferences were often not with Casey or Khalilzad but with their deputies. The national security adviser became, in effect, the mission manager for Iraqi oil production quotas.

Card saw how awkward it was for Hadley to try to bridge Rice's and Rumsfeld's views. He was not sure Hadley could succeed. After weeks of work, Hadley came up with a plan that, at least on paper, looked integrated with the six main parts. The new part was a proposal to create rapid repair elements that could quickly fix almost any damage inflicted by the insurgents, an idea the government of Colombia had used in its battle against FARC insurgents.

These repair units would be called Strategic Infrastructure Battalions and would be comprised largely of Iraqi tribal-based forces that lived near the pipelines. Since there was some evidence that these battalions had been complicit in the attacks, a whole new retraining and vetting effort would be undertaken. In addition, U.S. forces and regular Iraqi forces would be embedded or partnered with the tribal units to increase their effectiveness and monitor them.

The other elements included: physically hardening. The pipelines; building resilience and redundancy in the pipelines, including some secondary pipelines that would run alongside the primary; ferreting out corruption in the oil and electrical ministries; and improving intelligence coordination. They would ask for $250 million in the supplemental budget to fund it all.

Hadley asked that Rice and Rumsfeld be briefed separately. The plan was presented as what one official called “a fully coordinated, fully integrated, fully vetted, multi-pronged strategy to help Iraqis address this problem."  

Rumsfeld seemed satisfied because the plan involved helping Iraqis get an Iraqi solution. "We can't solve this for them, although we can help them solve it."

Nearly three years after the invasion and two years after the transfer of sovereignty, the administration was addressing the same issues.  


Pag e 446

"Iraqis for the first three years suffered the equivalent of a 9/11 attack every week. You can imagine the traumatic effect a 9/11 attack being repeated weekly would have on American society. Don't you think it's having a similar effect on Iraqi society?"

Rumsfeld dismissed the notion. "Wait a minute," Adelman insisted. 'A former boss of mine always said identify three or four things, then always ask about, get measurements and you'll get progress or else you'll never get any progress." The former boss was Rumsfeld himself, who had driven the point home to Adelman 35 years before, when he worked for Rumsfeld at the Office of Economic Opportunity. What are they? Adelman insisted.

Rumsfeld said it was so complicated that he could not give a list.

Adelman believed that meant there was a total lack of accountability. If Rumsfeld didn't agree to any criteria, he couldn't be said to have failed on any criteria.

"Hundreds," Rumsfeld insisted.

"Then you don't have anything," Adelman said. He left as disturbed as ever. No accountability. When he had been Rumsfeld's civilian assistant in the Ford administration, all Rumsfeld had to do to be a great secretary of defense was to bitch about Kissenger. It became his main occupation, along with bashing the Soviet Union and stopping SALT II, the treaty for strategic arms limitations.

Now, Adelman thought, Rumsfeld's task was of greater strategic and historical meaning. The Pentagon, Rumsfeld and Bush-to say nothing of the very age in which they lived-would be remembered for either winning or losing the Iraq War.

THE PRESIDENT MONITORED Khalilzad's efforts to put together a new government. It was slow and tedious. Bush repeatedly reminded his ambassador of the immense frustration in the U.S. People want to see progress in Iraq, he told Khalilzad, and it's hard to portray progress when there's so much political wrangling around this new government.

The Iranians started saying openly and emphatically that Jafari was their candidate. For Washington, Iranian support for Jafari was reason enough to dump him. Besides, nobody at the NSC could think of a time when Jafari had taken a decisive stand on anything.

In addition, Jafari's crutch was Moqtada al-Sadr, who had supported him early in the process.

 


 

Page 470

THAT WEEK RUMSFELD was holding three days of closed-door Pentagon meetings with the combatant commanders and top civilians in Defense. Before Rumsfeld, these regular meetings had been run by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Rumsfeld now ran the meetings.

General Jones, the NATO commander, told Pace he believed that Rumsfeld so controlled everything, even at the earliest stages, that they were not generating independent military advice as they had a legal obligation to do. Rumsfeld was driving and affecting the debates and decisions "politically." They, the uniformed military, should be worried about the "political spin," he said. He proposed that Pace meet alone with the combatant commanders and service chiefs-without Rumsfeld, without any Defense Department civilians. "I've got issues," he said, that needed to be addressed and debated without Rumsfeld present.”

Pace agreed to hold a one-hour meeting one morning that week with just the service chiefs and combatant commanders.

At the meeting, Jones said he wanted to focus on one issue-the value of forward basing. The Marines, Army, Navy and Air Force had bases all over the world so they would be at trouble spots to prevent conflict, se- cure borders, capture or defeat terrorists. Rumsfeld's idea was to bring as many of the forces as he could back to the United States. Jones argued that this was altering the basic concept and premise of American global presence. They had an obligation to state their views and fight this new theology because it would weaken the position of the United States in the world. A number of those present agreed in principle, but no one seemed willing to take on the secretary of defense.

 


Page 487

The court's decision was a major blow to the Bush administration's ideas about fighting the war on terror. In the decision, the High Court said that the administration had to adhere due process.

Several months earlier, on May 1, Rumsfeld had circulated a six-page secret memo proposing some fixes, entitled "Illustrative New 21st Century Institutions and Approaches."

It was almost the latest version of the “Anchor Chain" memos he had written in his first months as secretary in 2001-a cry from his bureaucratic and managerial heart. Not only was the Defense Department tangled in its anchor chain but so was the rest of the U.S. government, and the world.

Like Andy Card, Rumsfeld was sensitive to the charge of incompetence. He dictated, "The charge of incompetence against the U.S. government should be easy to rebut if the American people understand the extent to which the current system of government makes competence next to impossible."

AT THE END OF THE SECOND INTERVIEW I quoted former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, 'Any military commander who is honest with you will say he's made mistakes that have cost lives." "Urn hmm," Rumsfeld said.

"Is that correct?"

"I don't know. I suppose that a military commander-"

"Which you are," I interrupted.

"No, I'm not," the secretary of defense, said. "Yes, sir," I said.

"No, no. Well . . ."

"Yes. Yes," I said, raising my hand in the air and ticking off the hierarchy. "It's commander in chief, secretary of defense, combatant commander."

"I can see a military commander in a uniform who is engaged in a conflict having to make decisions that result in people living or dying and that that would be a truth. And certainly if you go up the chain to the civilian side to the president and to me, you could by indirection, two or three steps removed, make the case."

Indirection? Two or three steps removed? It was inexplicable. Rumsfeld had spent so much time insisting on the chain of command. He was in control – not the Joint Chiefs, not the uniformed military, not the NSC or the NSC Staff, not the critics or the opiners.  How could he not see his role and responsibility?

I could think of nothing more to sat.

 

.

 


Page 490 to 491

I VIVIDLY REMEMBERED how he had told me in an earlier interview, 'A president has got to be the calcium in the backbone." His rhetoric on postwar Iraq was right out of that "calcium in the backbone" script. All the perpetually upbeat talk and optimism-from "Mission Accomplished," through "stay the course" and "when they stand up, we'll stand down," his proclamations that he'd stay on the same path even if only the first lady and his dog supported him, the talk about turning points and turned corners, and the barbs that suggested anyone who questioned his strategy in Iraq did not support the troops and instead wanted America to "cut and run" or "surrender to the terrorists"-it was the same play, over and over. His strategy was to make repeated declarations of optimism and avoid adding to any doubts.

In researching and reporting for a newspaper series in The Washington Post and my two previous books on Bush's war decisions, I interviewed him four times-December 2001, August 2002, and finally twice in December 2003. The transcripts for the combined seven and a half hours of interviews run hundreds of pages.

Those were the days when Bush was a popular president - post 9/11, and later during the first nine months after the Iraq invasion. As the war dragged on, as Americans and Iraqis continued to die, and as Bush's approval ratings dropped dramatically in 2005 and 2006, so did my chances of getting another interview with him.

I asked repeatedly for the opportunity to talk with Bush. In February 2006, Dan Bartlett said he and Hadley would continue to help me but the president probably would not be interviewed. I interviewed key members of the administration many times and reviewed thousands of pages of documents. By the summer of 2006, Rumsfeld had talked with me on the record for two afternoons, but Bartlett and Hadley had gone radio-silent and would not return my phone calls.

As early as 2005, I had learned, Hadley was leaning against further White House cooperation. He knew the issues and events I was pursuing and the kinds of questions I was asking: What is the strategy for victory in Iraq? Didn't anyone at the White House notice that the actions being implemented on the ground in the months after the invasion were almost diametrically opposed to the plan that had been briefed to Bush?

What was Rumsfeld telling Bush? What was Cheney telling Bush? What did Bush decide? What did he neglect? When did the administration begin to realize that they were dealing with a monumental task, and that major combat was not over? When did they realize that there would likely never be weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq? Are things really as good in Iraq as the top civilian and military officials in the U.S. government keep insisting publicly?

"What's going through my mind is this is just going to be great," Hadley said sarcastically to a colleague in October 2005. My book on postwar Iraq, he said, would be published in 2006, after Jerry Bremer's book. "So, let's see, this is going to be an issue. So we will go into the '06 congressional elections with a raging debate on everybody who will say politically, 'I was with the administration. I wouldn't have gone into Iraq but I recognized how important it was. And if the administration had had a plan and if they had any competence at all I would have stayed with them. But as it is they clearly didn't have one. This is an incompetent ad- ministration. Iraq is the most important issue. I support the troops. I understand the importance of the mission, but given the incompetence of this administration, as demonstrated by the Bremer and the Woodward books, we have no choice but to throw the Republicans out and bring the troops home.' I mean, this is really going to be awful."

Hadley sighed. Later, he picked up the theme again, telling his colleague, "I've got to help this president get through what is going to be a really rugged three years. And if the Democrats take over the House and the Senate it's going be unbelievable after 2006."

The president's national security adviser understandably wanted to win the 2006 congressional elections. Having the president answer questions about Iraq was conspicuously inconsistent with that goal. The strategy was denial.

With all Bush's upbeat talk and optimism, he had not told the American public the truth about what Iraq had become.

RAPTOR NOTE: WOW!

 

Sunday June 24th, 2007

Background:  The Bush White House had appointed Paul Bremer to become the President's envoy in Iraq.  He was scheduled to begin his tour of duty on May 14th, 2003.  Bremer was under the gun to turn the post invasion situation into a positive for soon to be US public relations  debacle.  Being replaced was Retired Army General Jay Garner, considered by many in the Bush camp to be a weak link in the transition...Read On.

"About 7 AM on May 14th, Bremer's first full day in Baghdad, Robin Raphel ran up to Garner.  "Have you seen this?", she asked. " No", Garner replied. " I don't know what the hell you've got there." " It's a de-Baathification policy", she said, handing him a two page document.

Garner read quickly: "Coalition Provisional Order Number 1 - De-Baathification of Irqui Society."  The Baath Party was organized by rank, and the order said that all "full members" - those in the top four ranks - would be immediately removed from their posts and banned from future government employment.  Additionally, the top three layers of management in the ministries would be investigated for crimes and as possible security risks.

Garner then spoke with various entrenched agents from the CIA and Bremer to soften the harshness of the order.  "Absolutely not", Bremer said.  "Those are my instructions and I intend to execute them."  "Hell," Garner answered, "you won't be able to run anything if you go this deep."  A CIA station chief stated that "If you put this out, you're going to drive up to 50,000 Baathists underground that were the most powerful, well connected elites from all walks of life.

Garner called Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld to obtain some guidance on this matter.  Rumsfeld stonewalled the matter and stated that the order came from "somewhere else."  Garner was stunned.  

Raptor note: Paul; Bremer and Donald Rumsfeld did such a good job with the Iraq War that they have been awarded the "Presidential Medal Of Freedom.

Garner spoke with Bremer again the following day due to order #2 which disbanded the Iraqi ministries of Defense and Interior, the entire Iraqi military, and all of Saddam's bodyguard.  Garner was stunned again.   

Raptor note:  Garner was easily stunned.

 

Tuesday  May 29th, 2007  

Submitted here are excerpts from the Woodward book.

Page 83...

Well into the Afgan bombing campaign, Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Sec Def, called an old friend, Chris DeMuth, the longtime president of the American Enterprise Institute, the conservative Washington think tank.  Just before coming to the Pentagon, Wolfowitz had been Dean of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins University in Washington, known as SAIS.  AEI and SAIS, just blocks from each other, were the forum for lots of intellectual cross-pollination.

The U.S. government, especially the Pentagon, is incapable of producing the kinds of ideas and strategy needed to deal with a crisis of the magnitude of 9/11, Wolfowitz told DeMuth.  He needed to reach outside to tackle the biggest questions.  Who are the terrorists?  Where did this come from? How does it relate to Islamic history, the history of the Middle East, and contemporary Middle East tensions?  What are we up against here?

Wolfowitz said he was thinking along the lines of Bletchley Park, the team of mathematicians and cryptologists the British set up during World War II to break up the ULTRA German communications code.  Could DeMuth quickly put together a skilled group to produce a report for the president, Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld, Rice and Tenet?

Asking a think tank if it would be willing to strategize for the top policy-makers in a time of extraordinary crisis was like asking General Motors if they would be willing to sell a million more cars.  DeMuth, a smooth, debonair lawyer trained at the University of Chicago Law School and expert on government regulation, readily agreed.  AEI was practically the intellectual farm team and retirement home for Washington conservatives.  Among it's scholars and fellows were former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Lynne Cheney, the wife of the vice-president.  Cheney himself had been an AEI fellow between his stints as secretary of defense and president and CEO of the giant defense contractor, Halliburton.

DeMuth recruited a dozen people and on Thursday November 29th, 2001 the group met at a secure conference center for a weekend of discussion.  This study group developed a seven page report called "Delta of Terrorism".  It concluded that " What we saw on 9/11 and the less dramatic attacks of the 90's like the USS Cole, manifest that a war was going on within Islam-across the region.  It was a deep problem, and 9/11 was not an isolated action that called for policing and crime fighting.

It concluded that the United States was in for a two generation battle with radical Islam.

Raptor note - Wolfowitz, Gingrich, Dick & Lynne Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice and Tenet?????- I think I am going to throw up! When the "Best And The Brightest" thought they could win the Vietnam War, they probably worked a fellowship or two at AEI!  What really makes me ill is how "suits" cook up policy and then jamb it down our throats!

The memo also concluded that a confrontation with Saddam was inevitable.  Hussein was a gathering threat and he would have to leave the scene before the problem could be addressed.  Copies of the memo, straight from the noeconservative playbook, were hand delivered to the war cabinet.  Cheney was pleased with the memo, it had a strong impact on President Bush and Condi Rice found it very, very persuasive.  Again...I am going to throw up!

 

 

 

 

 

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