Sunday, March 9, 2008

Feith Settles No Scores and Achieves Nothing With His New Book

This is the kind of thing that normally gets ignored on the weekends, but here goes. Douglas "the Fucking Stupidest Guy on the face of the Earth" Feith writes a book:

WASHINGTON - In the first insider account of Pentagon decision-making on Iraq, one of the key architects of the war blasts former secretary of state Colin Powell, the CIA, retired Gen. Tommy R. Franks and former Iraq occupation chief L. Paul Bremer for mishandling the run-up to the invasion and the subsequent occupation of the country.

Douglas J. Feith, in a massive score-settling work, portrays an intelligence community and a State Department that repeatedly undermined plans he developed as undersecretary of defense for policy and conspired to undercut President Bush's policies.

Among the disclosures made by Feith in "War and Decision," scheduled for release next month by HarperCollins, is Bush's declaration, at a Dec. 18, 2002, National Security Council meeting, that "war is inevitable." The statement came weeks before U.N. weapons inspectors reported their initial findings on Iraq and months before Bush delivered an ultimatum to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Feith, who says he took notes at the meeting, registered it as a "momentous comment."

So it's really kind of hard to keep blaming Democrats for this war, isn't it? The original AUMF was designed to give Bush the authority to invade Iraq if the weapons inspectors weren't allowed to do their job. But BEFORE that even happened, he had made up his mind to go to war anyway. And the guy who played on the team that got everything wrong is now trying to write a book five years later that tries to say that they got everything right?

What a fucking joke. This is the best indication of where Feith is utterly and completely delusional:

Others have criticized Feith's plan as relying too heavily on Iraqi exile politicians, including Ahmed Chalabi. Feith says that he considered Chalabi one of the most astute and democratically minded Iraqis but that he had no special brief for him. Instead, he charges that the State Department, the CIA and the military's Central Command were pathologically opposed to the exiles and to Chalabi in particular.

Now, why would he want to invoke Chalabi at this point? Hasn't it been proven that Chalabi was a liar and that he had no possibility of influencing anything positive in Iraq? The Iraqis don't trust Chalabi--he always has been a liar and an opportunist, plain and simple.

Of course, there's always that neocon saw--blame the CIA:

Feith continually denounces the CIA, accusing it of producing poor intelligence, intruding on the formulation of policy, and then using leaks to the media to defend itself and attack its bureaucratic opponents. Most notably, he charges that intelligence officials ignored and refused to investigate possible links between al-Qaeda and Hussein's government.

The CIA was being politicized from within at that point. Anyone trying to get the truth to the decision makers was being silenced. If Powell had simply received the dissenting material from agencies like the CIA and the DIA, he would never have given his disasterous report to the United Nations. General Tommy Franks was never going to let the Iraq War be his legacy. He was hell-bent on getting out of town as soon as he could. And he recognized Feith for what he was--the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the Earth:

He reports, as others have, that Franks, who commanded the U.S. invasion force, treated him disrespectfully, sometimes rolling his eyes when Feith asked a question. But he indicates that Franks's disregard grew partly out of the general's lack of interest in planning for the postwar period. When Feith tried to talk to him about one aspect of that, Franks walked around the table, leaned over and said, "Doug, I don't have time for this [expletive]." He concludes that Franks failed in part because of advice he received from his advisers at the CIA and the State Department.

In contrast with the reputation of Gen. Richard B. Myers, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for pliability, Feith reports that Myers grew irate at what he saw as administration attempts to get around the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners following the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. Myers, he writes, threatened to bypass Rumsfeld and take his concerns directly to Bush, but calmed down after being told that the administration would distinguish between legitimate prisoners of war and al-Qaeda and Taliban detainees.

In summarizing his view of what went wrong in Iraq, Feith writes that it was a mistake for the administration to rely so heavily on intelligence reports of Hussein's alleged stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons and a nuclear weapons program, not only because they turned out to be wrong but also because secret information was not necessary to understand the threat Hussein posed.

Hussein's history of aggression and disregard of U.N. resolutions, his past use of weapons of mass destruction and the fact that he was "a bloodthirsty megalomaniac" were enough, Feith maintains.

He blames both the CIA and Powell, who outlined the weapons case in a February 2003 speech at the United Nations, for overemphasizing the threat. But Feith appears to ignore the crucial role that statements from Cheney and Rice, about the imminence of "mushroom clouds" emanating from Iraqi nuclear weapons, played in the case the administration made for war.

It's a wonderful attempt at ignoring the history. Here's Chris Suellentrop on Feith in 2004:

Of all the revelations that have surfaced about the Abu Ghraib prison-abuse scandal so far, the least surprising is that Douglas Feith may be partly responsible. Not a single Iraq war screw-up has gone by without someone tagging Feith—who, as the Defense Department's undersecretary for policy, is the Pentagon's No. 3 civilian, after Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz—as the guy to blame. Feith, who ranks with Wolfowitz in purity of neoconservative fervor, has turned out to be Michael Dukakis in reverse: ideology without competence.

It's not that the 50-year-old Feith is at fault for everything that's gone wrong in Iraq. He's only tangentially related to the mystery of the missing weapons of mass destruction, for example. (Though it's a significant tangent: An anonymous "Pentagon insider" told the Washington Times last year that Feith was the person who urged the Bush administration to make Saddam's WMD the chief public rationale for going to war immediately.) Nor was it Feith who made the decision to commit fewer troops than the generals requested. (Though Feith did give the most honest explanation for the decision, saying last year that it "makes our military less usable" if hundreds of thousands of troops are needed to fight wars.) But if he isn't fully culpable for all these fiascos, he's still implicated in them somehow. He's a leading indicator, like a falling Dow—something that correlates with but does not cause disaster.

Start with Abu Ghraib. Feith's office was in charge of Iraq's military prisons, but that's not the only reason his name keeps turning up in newspaper reports about the scandal. It was Feith who devised the legal solution for getting around the Geneva Conventions' prohibition on physically or psychologically coercing prisoners of war into talking. As a Pentagon official in the 1980s, Feith had laid out the argument that terrorists didn't deserve protection under the Geneva Conventions. Once the war on terrorism started, all he had to do was implement it. And even more damning than his legal rule-making is Feith's reported reaction to complaints by military Judge Advocate General lawyers about the new, looser interrogation rules. "They said he had a dismissive, if not derisive, attitude toward the Geneva Conventions," Scott Horton, a lawyer who was approached by six outraged JAG officers last year, told the Chicago Tribune. "One of them said he calls it 'law in the service of terror.' "

Abu Ghraib is only the latest of the Pentagon's Feith-based problems. During the buildup to the war, Feith oversaw the two offices that have since been criticized for politicizing intelligence and for inadequately planning for the occupation. The first group was known as the Counter Terrorism Evaluation Unit, and it was established to find links between terrorist organizations and their state sponsors. The group issued a report about connections between Iraq and al-Qaida that Rumsfeld had Feith deliver to CIA Director George Tenet in August 2002. This was reportedly the same report that Vice President Cheney recently called "your best source of information" on the links between Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.

But the report has been widely discredited. Tenet told a congressional committee in March that Cheney was mistaken about its reliability. And Daniel Benjamin, former director of counterterrorism at the National Security Council, wrote in Slate that, far from proving Saddam-Osama ties, "the document lends substance to the frequently voiced criticism that some in the Bush administration have misused intelligence to advance their policy goals."

The other office Feith oversees, the Office of Special Plans, probably wrought even worse damage that the Counter Terrorism Evaluation Unit: Its job was postwar planning, which even many conservatives now admit has been a disaster. As USA Today's Walter Shapiro put it this month when he summed up a one-year anniversary panel discussion on Iraq at the American Enterprise Institute (hardly a bastion of the antiwar left): "An easy summary of the overall impression fostered by the panel would be: Right war, wrong postwar plan."

Why is Feith involved with all these foul-ups? How could one man be so consistently in error? Nearly every critique of the Pentagon's plan for Iraq's occupation blames the blinkers imposed by ideology. For example, The New Yorker reported last fall that Feith intentionally excluded experts with experience in postwar nation-building, out of fear that their pessimistic, worst-case scenarios would leak and damage the case for war. In the Atlantic earlier this year, James Fallows told a similar story: The Pentagon did not participate in CIA war games about the occupation, because "it could be seen as an 'antiwar' undertaking" that "weakened the case for launching a 'war of choice.' " The State Department's Future of Iraq Project, an effort that accurately predicted some contingencies that the Pentagon overlooked, was dismissed by Feith and company out of hand.

And while the Pentagon's assumptions of an ecstatic, sweets-and-flowers-bearing populace that would welcome the occupiers as liberators may have been understandable in February 2003, Feith continued to let ideology rule his decisions long after the "major combat operations" ended. Last September, Knight Ridder reported that Paul Bremer's request for more than 220 employees for the occupation had yet to be approved. Guess who was to blame? "It is taking forever because Feith only wants true believers to get through the gate," a senior administration official said.

And those true believers turned out to be young, inexperienced and incompetent Bush cronies and campaign workers. Feith is trying to avoid responsibility for a momentously stupid decision, one of many.

But, given all of that responsibility, there's that one tried and true attempt that virtually every former Bush Administration official is going to try when they make that feeble attempt at rehabilitating their reputations--throw the President's girlfriend under the bus:

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. Bremer, meanwhile, is said to have done more harm than good in Iraq. Feith also accuses 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.

Even a blind pig finds a truffle once in a while, right?

The neocons who manipulated us into war must NEVER be allowed to rehabilitate themselves, especially when they're simply trying to rewrite history and blame others.

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