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Impeach Bush

Current and former military officers are blaming Rumsfeld
By Vernon Loeb
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 30, 2003; Page A19

Current and former U.S. military officers are blaming Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and his aides for the inadequate troop strength on the ground in Iraq, saying the civilian leaders "micromanaged" the deployment plan out of mistrust of the generals and an attempt to prove their own theory that a light, maneuverable force could handily defeat Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

More than a dozen officers interviewed, including a senior officer in Iraq, said Rumsfeld took significant risks by leaving key units in the United States and Germany at the start of the war. That resulted in an invasion force that is too small, strung out, underprotected, undersupplied and awaiting tens of thousands of reinforcements who will not get there for weeks.

"The civilians in [Rumsfeld's office] vetoed the priority and sequencing of joint forces into the region -- as it was requested by the war fighters -- and manipulated it to support their priorities," said an officer who asked not to be quoted by name. "When they did this, it de-synchronized not only the timing of the arrival of people and their organic equipment, but also the proper mix of combat, combat support and combat support units."

Retired Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, who commanded the 24th Infantry Division during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, said yesterday that he told a senior member of Rumsfeld's staff shortly before the war that the secretary's office had to stop meddling in the deployment process and let Army commanders have the units they believed they needed to fight the war.

Rumsfeld, McCaffrey said, "sat on each element for weeks and wanted an explanation for every unit called up out of the National Guard and Reserve and argued about every 42-man maintenance detachment. Why would a businessman want to deal with the micromanagement of the force? The bottom line is, a lack of trust that these Army generals knew what they were doing."

Responding to criticism, Rumsfeld and Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a Pentagon news conference Friday that U.S. forces were following a war plan that was developed by Gen. Tommy R. Franks, commander of Central Command, and agreed to by leaders of all the military services. Myers called it "brilliant."

Aides close to Rumsfeld said any changes made were for the better. "The original war plan for Iraq was really awful," a senior official said yesterday. "It was basically Cold War planning, and we're not in the Cold War anymore. Rumsfeld, like a lot of people, asked a lot of questions designed to produce the best, most flexible plan."

Briefing reporters yesterday at the Pentagon, Maj. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, deputy operations director for the Joint Chiefs, insisted that the move this week to send an armored division, an armored cavalry division and an armored cavalry regiment to Iraq was not a reaction to battlefield conditions, but part of the long-planned rolling start.

"This force flow was determined months ago, to include the order of forces moving and when they would go, and deployment orders were signed before we even were sure that we would have to have hostilities," McChrystal said. "So, if anybody takes an inference that this is reinforcements based upon what's happened in the first week of the war, that would be incorrect."

But many officers insist that the United States would have had a much heavier force on the ground when the war began had Rumsfeld refrained from constantly changing Central Command's troop deployment plan, known in military parlance as the Time Phased Force and Deployment Data (TPFDD).

One senior defense official said those changes delayed deployments by as much as 50 days and meant a slower start for three heavy divisions: the 4th Infantry, whose equipment is heading for Kuwait after being denied a base in Turkey; the 1st Cavalry, which has not started moving from its base at Fort Hood, Tex., and the 1st Armored, which is at its base in Germany.

"I know the 1st Armored Division was delayed," an officer said. "They were scheduled in pretty early. I don't know why, but I just know they were stood down. Otherwise, they would have been there by now."

The officer said he discussed the need to secure rear supply lines weeks ago with Army Lt. Gen. Scott Wallace, commander of the 5th Corps inside Iraq, and that Wallace wanted the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment assigned to that mission. The unit is moving from its base at Fort Polk, La. -- a week after irregular Iraqi forces from Saddam's Fedayeen began attacking supply convoys and other U.S. forces from the rear.

Rumsfeld's aides said there were legitimate reasons for not deploying the units sooner. "There were people with antiquated thinking and processes," the senior defense official said, "who wanted to deploy people and wreck their lives and move them even before we knew there was going to be a war -- because it's easier that way."

But Rumsfeld's detractors acknowledge that the defense secretary probably would not be taking so much criticism if the government of Turkey had allowed the 4th Infantry Division to be based there. That would have put hundreds of the Army's highest-tech Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles in place to begin a powerful and rapid advance toward Baghdad from the north.

Instead, 35 ships carrying the division's equipment remained off the coast of Turkey for three weeks after Turkey's parliament first rejected a basing agreement and as Bush administration officials worked to persuade Turkish officials to change their minds. The ships were finally sent through the Suez Canal after the war began when it became clear the Turkish rejection was final.

With those ships now heading for Kuwait, where they will not finish offloading for two to three weeks, the advance on Hussein's capital is being spearheaded by one heavy mechanized Army division, the 3rd Infantry, which has advanced more than 200 miles from Kuwait in concert with lighter forces from the Army's 101st Airborne Division, the Marines and the British.

Anthony H. Cordesman, a former Pentagon official now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Rumsfeld understandably delayed calling up some guard and reserve units and deploying units from the United States for "political" reasons early in the year as the Bush administration pursued a diplomatic solution for disarming Iraq through January and February.

Shortly before the war began, Cordesman said, a senior U.S. military official conceded at a briefing that the lack of a northern front and the delayed deployment of some units for political reasons "did mean more risks and a lack of some of the forces needed if Iraq did not weaken in the south."

But "making Rumsfeld the scapegoat before the major battles begin, and most of the evidence is present, is scarcely fair," Cordesman said. "Rumsfeld may or may not have much to answer for once all of the facts and the outcome of the war is known -- but Rumsfeld does not deserve virtually all of the present blame he is getting."

One Army general agreed, saying the TPFDD deployment plan -- a computer printout the size of a telephone book listing the exact sequence for moving hundreds of units, large and small -- was rigid and archaic. But the general said that a difficult situation was made worse once Rumsfeld and his aides starting rejiggering the plan .

In addition to warning Rumsfeld's staff about micromanaging the TPFDD, McCaffrey said he warned a senior defense official shortly before the war began that although the Pentagon's assumptions on how strongly Iraq would resist were probably sound, planners were risking a "political and military disaster" if they were wrong.

"They chose to go into battle with a ground combat capability that was inadequate, unless their assumptions proved out," McCaffrey said.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
With this story the press is finally starting to challenge what Rummy says. It's about time. It won't last though. The media needs his TV war for ratings.


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US Tomahawk, not Silkworm Hits Kuwait
The Olympian, Olympia Washington
Saturday, March 29, 2003

KUWAIT CITY -- The war in Iraq came to Kuwait early today in the form of a suspected missile that slammed into a pier connected to a major shopping mall, blew out large chunks of ceiling and shattered glass doors and windows up to a half-mile away. There were no known injuries.
The missile was believed to be a "Silkworm," an anti-ship missile and the Chinese-made version of the Soviet Styx, according to U.S. officials. The Silkworm, which may have been fired from southern Iraq, has a range of about 50 miles, flies low and could escape detection by the American Patriot, used against high-altitude missiles. No air raid sirens sounded before the explosion.

However, The New York Times reported in today's edition that some Kuwaiti officials believe the missile was actually a stray U.S. cruise missile.

"It was an American cruise missile. We know from the markings and writing on it," an unidentified Kuwaiti police colonel told the Times. "It doesn't go up, it comes in low from the sea, and that's why there was no alert."

The force of the explosion could be felt at least two miles away, and only the timing of the attack -- just after 1:40 a.m. local time -- prevented injuries. The mall was closed although a nearby grocery store was open and customers were inside. The damaged Souq Sharq mall, on the Kuwaiti seafront, is three stories high and is one of the busiest in the country.

Smoke billowed as a backdrop to the Kuwait City skyline immediately after the blast, and police, firefighters and paramedics converged on the area within minutes, sending an unneeded reminder that war is raging only a bit more than 50 miles from here.

Many of the 2.3 million residents of the city have been scurrying into basements and shelters since shortly after the start of the war, alerted to missiles fired this way by air-raid sirens that have blared intermittently since U.S. warplanes first bombed Iraq, on March 20.

Jassim Al-Mansouri, the Kuwait City fire chief, said the missile struck the pier about 15 feet above sea level and probably was not detected because it was skimming so close to the water's surface.

Once the missile hit the pier, it exploded, and fragments continued inland, causing the damage to the mall and an adjacent parking garage, he said. Emergency workers quickly determined the missile carried no biological or chemical weapons.

"We were fortunate that it came when it did," the fire chief said, standing amid scattered steel fragments from the weapon and broken glass from lights that had brightened a small promenade between the pier and the mall's parking garage. "When the mall is open, it is packed."

Most of the damage was to the parking garage, but giant glass doors to the mall, more than 200 yards from where the missile struck, were blown onto a brick sidewalk outside and onto a marble floor inside.

A movie theater inside the mall has been closed since the start of the mall because of fears of an attack, Al-Mansouri said.

The missile that struck was the 13th fired at Kuwait since the war began, although most were believed to be targeting outside the city at U.S. forces.

At least two earlier missiles fired toward the city were reported intercepted by Patriot missiles.

©2003 The Olympian.

Commentary:
Here's how it works. The US military lies to us on day one. By the time the next day rolls around, another lie is out there and the press is running after that one. There's little or no time correct the previous days lies. Part of war? Nah...propaganda to keep the press thinking it's actually doing something of value.

Besides, "Kuwait hit with Chinese Silkworm' makes a better headline than 'Oops, we lied to you again because we're too lazy to check it out.'


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Turks, Saudis ban cruise missile flights
CNN News
Saturday, March 29, 2003 Posted: 5:08 PM EST (2208 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. Navy ships in the Red Sea and Mediterranean Sea have stopped firing cruise missile at Iraq after complaints by Turkey and Saudi Arabia that some of the missiles have fallen on their territories, a Pentagon official said Saturday.

Both countries asked the U.S. to stop the flights. Since the start of the war with Iraq last week, four malfunctioning Tomahawk missiles have landed in Saudi Arabia and three in Turkey.

There has been no reported damage from any of the stray missiles, which fell in remote areas.

Negotiations between the United States, Turkey and Saudi Arabia to reopen the flight corridors are ongoing, the official said.

Earlier this week, Turkey closed its air space to cruise missile overflights when two of them fell within its borders. Airspace was subsequently re-opened, then closed again when another cruise missile fell in Turkey within the past day or so.

Pentagon officials tell CNN that the U.S. Central Command maybe forced to move the ships from the Mediterranean and Red Sea locations into the Persian Gulf if both Turkey and Saudi Arabia continue the ban

© 2003 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.

Commentary:
The Tomahawk cruise missile costs us from $1.1 - $1.4 million a pop. How is it possible so many end up in other countries? Talk about missing their targets. The Silkworm missile that supposed to have come from Iraq was really a US Tomahawk missile. How many of them have we shot into Kuwait? The truth is out there, someone has to get it. So, we know for sure, our cruise missiles have landed in three countries that we're not at war with.


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Rumsfeld Ignored Pentagon Advice on Iraq
Reuters News
Sat March 29, 2003 06:39 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld repeatedly rejected advice from Pentagon planners that substantially more troops and armor would be needed to fight a war in Iraq, New Yorker Magazine reported.
In an article for its April 7 edition, which goes on sale on Monday, the weekly said Rumsfeld insisted at least six times in the run-up to the conflict that the proposed number of ground troops be sharply reduced and got his way.

"He thought he knew better. He was the decision-maker at every turn," the article quoted an unidentified senior Pentagon planner as saying. "This is the mess Rummy put himself in because he didn't want a heavy footprint on the ground."

It also said Rumsfeld had overruled advice from war commander Gen. Tommy Franks to delay the invasion until troops denied access through Turkey could be brought in by another route and miscalculated the level of Iraqi resistance.

"They've got no resources. He was so focused on proving his point -- that the Iraqis were going to fall apart," the article, by veteran journalist Seymour Hersh, cited an unnamed former high-level intelligence official as saying.

A spokesman at the Pentagon declined to comment on the article.

Rumsfeld is known to have a difficult relationship with the Army's upper echelons while he commands strong loyalty from U.S. special operations forces, a key component in the war.

He has insisted the invasion has made good progress since it was launched 10 days ago, with some ground troops 50 miles from the capital, despite unexpected guerrilla-style attacks on long supply lines from Kuwait.

Hersh, however, quoted the former intelligence official as saying the war was now a stalemate.

Much of the supply of Tomahawk cruise missiles has been expended, aircraft carriers were going to run out of precision guided bombs and there were serious maintenance problems with tanks, armored vehicles and other equipment, the article said.

"The only hope is that they can hold out until reinforcements arrive," the former official said.

The article quoted the senior planner as saying Rumsfeld had wanted to "do the war on the cheap" and believed that precision bombing would bring victory.

Some 125,000 U.S. and British troops are now in Iraq. U.S. officials on Thursday said they planned to bring in another 100,000 U.S. soldiers by the end of April.

© Reuters News 2003

Commentary:
Rumsfeld and Bush led the American people to believe this was going to be a cakewalk. They told us Iraqi's would cheer US troops, they told us.....and told us...and told us...None of it was true. At some point the press will have to stop covering for them and start calling it like it is. They lied. There was no evidence Iraqi's were going to jump to our aid, no evidence this would be an easy war. So why does the press continue to let this president lie to us? There can be only one answer. Facts are irrelevant to both.


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Former cabinet minister: 'Bring our troops home'
BBC News (UK)
Last Updated: Sunday, 30 March, 2003, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK

Former cabinet minister Robin Cook has sought to defuse a row with his ex-colleagues after a ferocious attack on the war in Iraq.
Mr Cook lashed out at the military action in a newspaper article on Sunday, saying he wanted UK troops back home before more are killed.

Seeing that as a call for forces to be withdrawn from Iraq, ministers said to do so would be to "capitulate" to Saddam Hussein.

But later on Sunday Mr Cook issued a statement saying he was not calling for troops to be withdrawn but that he wanted a quick victory before there are many more deaths.

In his newspaper article, Mr Cook, who resigned as Leader of the Commons in protest at the decision to launch hostilities without international agreement, denounced the campaign as "bloody and unnecessary".

He also warned that Britain and the United States risked stoking up a "long-term legacy of hatred" for the West across the Arab and Muslim world.

Mr Cook wrote: "I have already had my fill of this bloody and unnecessary war.

"I want our troops home and I want them home before more of them are killed."

Home Secretary David Blunkett slapped down the comments on BBC1's Breakfast with Frost, saying his former cabinet colleague was risking the "dignity" of his resignation by suggesting "capitulation" in Iraq.

He said: "Robin resigned with great dignity, he put his argument with great force, but it's hard to retain that dignity or force if you advocate capitulation after just 10 days.

And Foreign Office Minister Mike O'Brien said he heard of Mr Cook's comments "with great sadness".

"This is not the time to say these things Robin, and I am sorry you have done it," he said.

But Mr Cook subsequently released a statement saying he was not advocating the withdrawal of British forces from Iraq.

He said: "Now that the war has started it's vital that it ends in victory. There could be no worse outcome than one that lets Saddam Hussein survive.

"But as I said in my article in the Sunday Mirror those who started the war did so with a promise that it would be quick and easy.

Siege

"They owe us an explanation why the resistance has been greater than planned for and they owe British troops an explanation of how they are going to take Baghdad without further casualties."

In his article, Mr Cook said that US President George W Bush and his Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld did not appear to know what to do now that their hopes that Iraq would swiftly capitulate had proved unfounded.

They appeared to be contemplating laying siege to Baghdad, which would result in massive civilian suffering and many unnecessary deaths, he said.

Mr Cook was among 10 members of the Labour Government to resign over the war.

Speaking later on BBC Radio 4's The World this Weekend, Mr Cook insisted he fully backed Tony Blair as Labour leader despite their differences over Iraq.

He said he wanted to be part of efforts to reunite Labour once the conflict is over - and denied he had leadership ambitions.

A Downing Street spokesman said Mr Cook had a well-known position on Iraq which was not shared by the government.

Rebellions

Mr Blunkett denied reports that Labour MPs are plotting further rebellions against Tony Blair over the war.

He said the arguments of those against the conflict had been heard in the Commons and the issue had been voted on, he said.

He said pulling troops out now would boost Saddam and other dictators around the world.

But former defence minister Doug Henderson said troops should be withdrawn from the "hellish" situation in Iraq in order to avoid another potential Vietnam.

He told GMTV: "If it is so difficult to control the road north to Baghdad and try to make headway into Basra then what will the situation be like in Baghdad itself?

"Is it not better to recognise that we should withdraw?"

© BBC 2003

Commentary:
As the Brits attack Blair, the US opposition sits on its collective butts and watches as Rome burns. Where is the media and why aren't they calling Bush a liar? Where are the democrats? Recall during the Clinton years how republicans demanded an exit strategy every time Clinton was to use force. These same cowards sit back, say nothing, do nothing, demand nothing, and have capitulate to a president who's broken more laws than Reagan and Nixon combined.

There is hope at the end of this very dark tunnel. It's called an election. We must elect a new leader and a new congress. But can we find someone with enough character and integrity to follow our laws and International Law? It'll be hard, but we have no choice.


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Blair's Grave Mistake--US Conservatism
The Observer (UK)
Will Hutton
Sunday March 30, 2003

Will Hutton argues that, by opting to join the American hard Right, Tony Blair has made the gravest mistake of his political life, one from which he cannot recover.
Blair's drawn face, with its deepening gullies set in a near permanent hard frown, tells the story. This is the internationalist who is aiding and abetting, however unintentionally, the break-up of the UN system. The pro-European who is the trigger of the most acute divisions in the European Union since its foundation. The wannabe progressive whose closest allies are Washington's neo-conservatives and conservative leaders in Italy and Spain.

Worse, he is fighting a barely legitimate war that is already a military and diplomatic quagmire, where even eventual victory may not avert a political disaster. He knows his capacity to survive the diplomatic humiliations piled on him by the Bush administration is limited; you cannot long lead Britain's centre and centre-left from such a compromised position, wounding not only the country's profoundest interests but torching any linkage with the progressive project. For the first time his premiership is genuinely at risk.

It is a political tragedy, Shakespearean in the cruelty of its denouement. 9/11 accelerated trends in America that had been crystallising since the 1970s and which made the political structures in which successive British Governments have managed simultaneously to play both the American and European cards unsustainable. Blair was confronted with an invidious choice that nobody in the British establishment has wanted to make: Europe or America. Side with Europe to insist that the price of collaboration in the fight against terrorism had to be that the US observe genuinely multilateral international due process - and certainly say No to some of Washington's wilder aims. Or side with America insisting from the inside that it engaged in its wars multilaterally, and hope to bring Europe along in your wake.

Either choice was beset with risk, but it's hard to believe that siding with Europe, for all its evident difficulties, would have produced an outcome worse than the situation in which we currently find ourselves: a protracted war with no second UN Resolution, no commitment to UN governance of post-war Iraq, no commitment to a mid-East peace settlement. But Blair misread the character of American conservatism, its grip on the American body politic and its scope for rationality. He continues to do so, the miscalculation of his life.

The rise and rise of American conservatism is neither well documented nor well understood in Britain - but it's one of the pillars on which I build my case for Europe in The World We're In*. Ever since the pivotal Supreme Court judgment in 1973 legalising abortion (the Roe v Wade case) which marked the high water mark of American liberalism, it's been downhill all the way. American conservatism, an eccentric creed even within the pantheon of the western conservative tradition, now rules supreme. Domestically it offers disproportionately aggressive tax cuts for the rich and for business, reforms that shrink America's already threadbare social contract and a carte blanche for the increasingly feral, unaccountable character of US capitalism.

Internationally it is this philosophy that lies behind pre-emptive unilateralism and the wilful disregard of the UN. American conservatives are bravely willing to use force to advance democracy and markets worldwide - the exemplars of a civilisation the rest of the world must want to copy. No other legitimacy is needed, the reason for the wrong-headed self-confidence that could launch war in Iraq expecting so little resistance. Rumsfeld's exploded strategy is ideological in its roots. This conservatism is a witches brew - a menace to the USA and the world alike.

The conservative movement has deep roots. It made its first gains in the 1970s in reaction to economic problems at home that it wrongly claimed were wholly the fault of liberals, helped by the reaction of white working class Americans to the application of affirmative action: quotas of housing, university places and even jobs for blacks to equalise centuries of discrimination. When President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, outlawing the obstacles American blacks had experienced in exercising their civil rights from voting to sitting on juries, he famously joked that he had lost the Democrats the south. He could not have been more prescient; the uneasy coalition between southern conservative Democrats and the more liberal North was sundered - a political opportunity that Ronald Reagan was brilliantly to seize.

This laid the foundations for the conservatisation of American politics, helped by the growing economic power of the south and the west. The new sun-belt entrepreneurs, building fortunes on defence contracts and Texan oil, naturally believed in the toxicity of federal government and the god-given right of employers to cheap labour with as few rights as possible. Put that together with the south's visceral dislike of welfare, well understood to be transferring money from God-fearing, hard-working whites to black welfare queens, and the need for crime - again understood to be perpetrated by blacks against whites - to be met with ferocious penalties and you had the beginning of the new conservative constituency. Include a dose of Christian fundamentalism, and the building blocks of a new dominant coalition of Republican southerners and middle class, suburban northerners were in place.

What was needed to complete the picture was intellectual coherence and money. America's notoriously lax rules on political financing allowed the conservatives to outspend the Democrats sometimes by as much four or five times. Yet what opened the financial floodgates was intellectual conviction; a new generation of intellectual conservatives took on the apparently effortless liberal dominance, and beat it at its own game - the realm of ideas. The great right-wing thinktanks - the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute and the Hoover Institute - became the intellectual inspiration of the conservative revival. The rich were virtuous and moral because they worked hard; the poor worthless and amoral because they had not boot-strapped themselves out of poverty. Welfare thus bred a dependency culture, they claimed, and made poverty worse. Taxation was an act of coercion and an affront to liberty. Markets worked like magic; choice was always better than public provision. Corporations spearheaded wealth creation. Conservatism was transmuted into a moral crusade. The rich could back it aggressively both in their own self-interest and America's.

The capture of universities by the rich and the lack of education for the poor has meant that social mobility in the US has collapsed. American capitalism, in thrall to the stock market and quick bucks it offers, has hollowed out its great corporations in the name of the hallowed conservative conception of share-holder value - the sole purpose of a company is to enrich its owners. Productivity and social mobility are now higher in Old Europe than in the US - despite a tidal wave of propaganda to the contrary. Ordinary Americans are beset by risks and lack of opportunity in a land of extraordinary inequality.

Yet it is internationally that the rest of the world feels the consequences. Even before 9/11 the Bush administration had signalled its intention to be unencumbered by - as it saw it - vitality sapping, virility constraining, option closing international treaties and alliances, whether membership of the International Criminal Court or the Kyoto accords on climate change. It intended to assert American power as a matter of ideological principle; 9/11 turned principle into an apparent imperative in order to guarantee the security of the 'homeland'.

There are only two possible rival power centres that champion a more rational approach to world order - in the US a revived and self-confident Democratic party, and abroad an unified European Union. Britain's national interest requires that we ally ourselves as powerfully as we can with these forces - both of whom are only too ready to make common cause. Blair has done neither. Either he is now a convinced conservative or the author of a historic political misjudgment. Neither the Labour party nor the country can indulge this ineptitude much longer.

@copy; The Observer 2003

Commentary:
The two liberal parties in the US and Britain are in the same rat hole. Both have no answer to the irresponsible policies of conservatism. We live in a world where major parties borrow hundreds of billions, no trillions and give it to the richest of the rich. They then borrow more money from middle class social program to give that to rich also. Then, after creating trillions of dollars of debt they go into an endless attack mode when someone tries to undo their immoral and destructive policies.

When the American people come to understand there is no such thing as a tax cut when we have deficits, conservatism will go away. Not since the fall of communism has a political and economic belief system been more corrupt, more immoral and such a tragic failure.

Ronald Reagan stated this mess, giving over a trillion away in tax cuts...but creating massive debt (future taxes). Reagan created more debt than all previous presidents combined. Bush will easily create three times more debt than Reagan. All the while, his conservative friends (they're not real conservatives, but instead neo-liberals) cheer him on. Only an immoral person thinks he should have his taxes cut and then demand the next generation pay for what this generation spends. Such people are called conservatives.--they are a blight on our political system and must be eradicated.


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How it came to war
New Yorker
by NICHOLAS LEMANN
Issue of 2003-03-31
Posted 2003-03-24

Washington had a vertiginous feeling last week as the endlessly debated war against Iraq finally began. For the previous six months, the capital had surely been the most pro-Iraq-war city in the world: George W. Bush had given a textbook demonstration of Presidential power in bringing Washington into a position of support—or, in the case of many of the Democrats, cowed silence—for a course of action that almost nobody had advocated when Saddam Hussein forced the United Nations weapons inspectors to leave, in 1998. There had been, from the Washington point of view, a satisfying rhythm to the run-up to war, beginning with Bush's speech to the United Nations in September, continuing through Saddam's forced readmission of the weapons inspectors in the fall, and culminating in Secretary of State Colin Powell's presentation of evidence against Saddam at the U.N. in early February, which, in Washington, at least, caused a wave of liberal capitulations to the cause of war.

Then, to the queasy surprise of the small community of people in Washington who follow American diplomacy with a sense of proprietary interest, things fell apart. There was much more opposition to the war than anybody had expected; seemingly reliable allies jumped ship; the coöperation of the Security Council became unattainable; even the impeccably loyal Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister, needed last-minute resuscitation, in the form of a Presidential reiteration of support for Palestinian statehood. Recrimination between hawks and doves, over who was to blame for the failure of diplomacy, and gloom about the death of the international order were in the air—along with martial expectancy. Late Monday morning, after it was announced that President Bush would make a television address that evening, helicopters suddenly began patrolling the skies and streets were shut off. It turned out that a North Carolina tobacco farmer had driven his tractor into a pond on the Mall, but, before people knew that, the city had been alive with alarmed rumors: a peace protester was threatening to blow up the Washington Monument; a terrorist had driven a truck packed with explosives into the reflecting pool in front of the Capitol Building.

With the war only hours away from beginning, I had a long talk with a senior Administration official about how it had come about and what it seemed to portend.

"Before September 11th,' the official said, "there wasn't a consensus Administration view about Iraq. This issue hadn't come to the fore, and you had Administration views. There were those who preferred regime change, and they were largely residing in the Pentagon, and probably in the Vice-President's office. At the State Department, the focus was on tightening up the containment regime—so-called ‘smart sanctions.' The National Security Council didn't seem to have much of an opinion at that point. But the issue hadn't really been joined.

"Then, in the immediate aftermath of the eleventh, not that much changed. The focus was on Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda. Some initial attempts by Wolfowitz'—Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense —"and others to draw Iraq in never went anywhere, because the link between Iraq and September 11th was, as far as we know, nebulous at most—nonexistent, for all intents and purposes. It's somewhere in the first half of 2002 that all this changed. The President internalized the idea of making regime change in Iraq a priority. What I can't explain to you is exactly the process that took us from the initial post-September 11th position, which was, Let's keep the focus on Al Qaeda and Afghanistan, to, say, nine months later, when Iraq had moved to the top of the priority list for us. That's a mystery that nobody has yet uncovered. It clearly has something to do with September 11th, and it's clearly consistent with the President's speech about weapons of mass destruction in the hands of rogues, people with a history of some terror—but, again, how it exactly happened, and what was the particular role of Cheney, among others, I wish you well in uncovering.'

I wondered how the war looked to the American diplomatic community. "I think it's hard to generalize,' the official said. "It's my sense that the arguments for going to war are strong enough that people feel comfortable. There's a good case for going to war. There's also a respectable case for not. But the case for going to war is strong enough that I don't think a lot of people at senior levels are going home unable to face themselves in the mirror. A lot of this comes down to how imminent a threat you feel Iraq poses. Everyone agrees that Saddam Hussein is truly evil. Everyone agrees he has these weapons of mass destruction. Everyone is concerned about what he might do with them. And so the real question is, Did we have to do something right away, with military force? Reasonable men and women can disagree, but I think the bottom line is, the arguments that have led the President to this point are strong enough that even those who tilt the other way can still acknowledge the validity of the arguments, and, indeed, even conclude that those who favor going to war now may well be right.'

In terms of the future of American diplomacy, much depends on how the war effort goes. If things don't go well, the official said, "the price we pay is, first of all, the aftermath inside Iraq is likely to be more costly, in terms of how long, how many forces have to stay. It could be harder to put Iraq right, if what we inherit is a much more destroyed place. Second of all, we could find the world economy in much rougher straits. If things are messy and prolonged, we could find some friendly governments possibly overthrown, or at least in much worse shape. The U.S.'s reputation would be taking a battering. It's one thing if you challenge the conventional wisdom and are proved right. It's quite another'—he chuckled mordantly—"if you challenge the conventional wisdom and the conventional wisdom proves to have been right. I just think America's reputation would have taken a real battering. We'd probably also find increased terrorist attacks, because we'd be seen not as invincible, and bogged down, and all that. This is all—this is a big throw of the dice.'

An odd aspect of the Washington foreign-policy community during the last few months has been that there was less general enthusiasm for the war inside the government than you'd think, and more enthusiasm outside the government, which is where the Democratic foreign-policy specialists are now. Foreign-policy Democrats are a bit to the right of their party, because they feel that it tends to be too hesitant about the use of American power, and foreign-policy Republicans (excepting the hawks) are a bit to the left of theirs, because they feel that it undervalues diplomacy. The result is that the foreign-policy arms of the two parties form a continuum of opinion (excepting, again, the hawks), despite the custom that forbids those who have served in Administrations of one party from serving in Administrations of the other. The consensus after the expulsion of the weapons inspectors in 1998 was that Saddam Hussein was a bad actor, but that his misbehavior had not achieved the status of a grave international crisis. On the other hand, quite a few people in the Clinton Administration wanted to respond to him more forcefully than the United States actually did, with a four-day bombing campaign called Operation Desert Fox.

James Steinberg, who during the last years of the Clinton Administration was the No. 2 man at the National Security Council and is now the head of the foreign-policy division of the Brookings Institution, told me that he would have preferred to try to muster an international disarmament effort against Saddam. Then as now, the chief problem would have been persuading the French and the Russians. "We would have tried to go to the United Nations, but back it up with a more aggressive posture, including moving troops to the region,' Steinberg said. "But a variety of factors made it impossible.' He listed the war in Kosovo and Al Qaeda's bombing of the American embassies in East Africa as matters that took the focus away from Iraq—and, of course, Clinton had an especially weak hand during this period, because he was being impeached.

By the time of the 2000 Presidential campaign, the flurry of activity that followed the end of inspections had subsided, and on Iraq there was not much apparent difference between Clinton's position, Al Gore's position, and Bush's position. All three men were nominally for "regime change,' without suggesting an immediate way to achieve it. "In any Administration, the question is, How do you raise an issue from one that people with a narrow portfolio worry about to one that people with a broad portfolio worry about,' Stephen Sestanovich, another high diplomatic official in the Clinton Administration, whom I saw in Washington last week, told me. (Sestanovich now works at the Washington office of the Council on Foreign Relations.) "Iraq was a problem the regional specialists saw as very serious, but they could never get their argument accepted above the level of regional specialists.' That was as true in the early Bush days as in the late Clinton ones.

Then, when Iraq did become an issue of Presidential importance, Washington followed George Bush's lead. The foreign-policy consensus shifted, from the view that Saddam represented a second-order-of-magnitude problem to the view that it was worth a war to get rid of him, but only if it was an international effort like the first Gulf War. And most people believed that's what would happen, once Bush had acceded to Colin Powell's request to go to the United Nations to line up support. Surely, people felt, the rest of the world would come around to the new American position—even the balky Russians and French. As Sestanovich put it, "The anti-American stance is a familiar French thing, not entirely cynical, not entirely principled. They'd know when to call it off. After they'd been French for a while, they'd stop being French. People thought they understood the limits of the game and it would be over at a certain point. And then it wasn't. And it turned out that the Russians were prepared to be French, as long as the French were being French.'

So this was the dizzying progression in the Washington diplomatic world: from believing that Saddam should be taken somewhat more seriously as a threat, to believing that an international coalition was going to oust him from power, to watching the coalition fall apart and the United States go to war anyway—and wondering whether it made a difference anymore what professional diplomats think.

Last week, I went to see Richard Haass, the director of the policy-planning staff at the State Department. Haass is probably the Administration's most prominent moderate theoretician and is a leading member of the foreign-policy establishment. Before joining the Bush Administration, he had held the job at the Brookings Institution which James Steinberg now holds. (And Steinberg formerly held Haass's job in the State Department.) Haass will soon be leaving government to take one of the foreign-policy world's plummiest jobs, as president of the Council on Foreign Relations, in New York. With his departure, it's hard to think of whom one could call a prominent moderate theoretician in the Bush Administration.

I arrived at the State Department on the day that President Bush made his televised address giving Saddam Hussein forty-eight hours to surrender power. The enormous, usually crowded lobby of the building was deserted, as if to manifest the succession of diplomacy by war. Haass seemed tired but not harried, as you would when a long period of intense preparation had ended and there was nothing left to do.

I asked him whether there had been a particular moment when he realized that war was definitely coming. "There was a moment,' he said. "The moment was the first week of July, when I had a meeting with Condi'—Condoleezza Rice, Bush's national-security adviser. "Condi and I have regular meetings, once every month or so—she and I get together for thirty or forty-five minutes, just to review the bidding. And I raised this issue about were we really sure that we wanted to put Iraq front and center at this point, given the war on terrorism and other issues. And she said, essentially, that that decision's been made, don't waste your breath. And that was early July. But before that, in the months leading up to that, there had been various hints, just in what people were saying, how they were acting at various meetings. We were meeting about these issues in the spring of 2002, and my staff would come back to me and report that there's something in the air here. So there was a sense that it was gathering momentum, but it was hard to pin down. For me, it was that meeting with Condi that made me realize it was farther along than I had realized. So then when Powell had his famous dinner with the President, in early August, 2002'—in which Powell persuaded Bush to take the question to the U.N.—"the agenda was not whether Iraq, but how.'

The long, gruelling effort at the U.N. now looked like a waste of time—or did Haass disagree? "That's too negative,' he said. "Resolution 1441'—which the Security Council passed unanimously, and which reopened the weapons inspections in Iraq—"was an extraordinary achievement. It got inspectors back in under far more demanding terms. And it didn't tie our hands. We never committed ourselves to another resolution. So it was an extraordinary accomplishment. It gave tremendous legal and political and moral authority to anything that we would subsequently do. I don't see how anyone could fault that. Indeed, any problems that we have today pale in comparison to the problems we would have had if we had not done 1441. Where we had problems was obviously in the aftermath, and the question is why. Well, to some extent, as we got closer to the reality of war, all the visceral antiwar feeling came out. The French and others who voted for 1441 are being disingenuous. When they voted for it, they knew damn well what serious consequences it would have. What they're doing is listening to their public opinion, rather than leading it.'

There were other reasons besides French opposition that the American effort in the United Nations had failed, Haass said. "A lot of the resentment of American foreign policy over the last couple of years has coalesced. This has become a kind of magnet for resentment. I think we may have been hurt by having a policy toward the Israel-Palestine dispute that was perceived in much of Europe and the Middle East to be biased toward Israel. In any event, we ended up going for the second resolution, quite honestly, not because we needed it. It was seen as nice to have, from our point of view. It was seen as desirable. But it was something that Tony Blair and others felt very strongly that they needed in order to manage their domestic polities.'

After months of official talk about removing Saddam from power, would the United States really have been willing to accept his remaining as the Iraqi head of state if he complied with the weapons inspectors? "That's a hypothetical,' Haass said. "We said that we would have lived with it. My hunch is that, if you had had complete Iraqi coöperation and compliance, so we had eliminated to our satisfaction the W.M.D.'—weapons of mass destruction—"threat, the question would be, Could Saddam Hussein have survived that? My hunch is, Saddam concluded he couldn't survive it, which is one of the reasons why we are where we are. It would have been such a loss of face. But, assuming it did not lead to regime change from within, I do not think we could or would have launched a war in those circumstances. Instead, if Saddam survived W.M.D. disarmament, we could have pursued regime change through other tools. That's why you have diplomacy, that's why you have propaganda, that's why you have covert operations, that's why you have sanctions. You have the rest of the tools. So my recommendations would have been, we pursue regime change and war-crimes prosecution—he still should have been responsible for war crimes—using other tools. But I think you had to reserve the military either for the W.M.D. issue or for incontrovertible evidence of support for terrorism.'

Now people were saying that the United States, by deciding to abandon the Security Council negotiations, had done irreparable harm to the institutional stature of the United Nations. "We've not done irreparable harm to anything,' Haass said. "In the case of the U.N., we've just once again learned the lesson that the U.N. can only function as an institution when there's consensus among the major powers. The U.N. was never meant to act with the independence of a nation-state. It was never meant to be the instrument of one great power against another. So, when the great powers can't agree, that's when they have to go outside the U.N. Otherwise they'll destroy the institution to make it relevant. You want to preserve it for those times when the differences between the powers are modest, or they actually agree.'

Therefore, with the United States determined to go to war, it was imperative to avoid a vote on a second resolution, which might have failed and would have been vetoed even if it had passed. "This would have been a much more confrontational situation,' Haass said. "We would have been acting against the U.N. Now we can argue that we are acting pursuant to the U.N., in 1441. This is a way, I believe, quite honestly, of preserving the U.N.'s potential viability in the future. We've not destroyed it. We've just admitted, though, that it can't do everything, when the great powers of the day disagree.'

Now that the war is under way, the Washington foreign-policy consensus has shifted again, to the point that Haass's position on the future of the U.N.—indeed, the future of the United States as a member of lasting alliances—would seem overoptimistic to many people. Washington has stopped debating the merits of the real war in Iraq (that's one for demonstrators in the streets, not policymakers in offices) and has begun to focus on a possible one in North Korea.

Copyright © CondéNet 2003. All rights reserved.

Commentary:
The assumption that the UN was created only for times when the great powers disagreed is absurd. Anyone who thinks like this isn't fit to serve in government or any position of responsibility. What part of the UN Charter did he forget to read?

Clinton had a weak hand during Kosovo? Is this guy a complete fool? During this time, President Clinton not only stopped a Russian veto in his Kosovo resolution but also was able to get the UN, NATO, and France to go alone with him. Bush, without impeachment wasn't able to do any of the above. The weak president this author needs to deal with is Bush.

The author also asks a rhetorical question about how Iraq became tied up in terrorism and how it came that "regime change" became a Bush priority.

The answer is very simple. The hawks in the Bush Administration wanted to overthrow Saddam since the Clinton years. In fact, Elliott Abrams (NSC and Iran/Contra), Richard L. Armitage (Deputy Secretary of State), Richard Perle (Defense Policy Board), John R. Bolton (Under Secretary, Arms Control and International Security), Paula Dobriansky (Under Secretary, Global Affairs), Zalmay Khalilzad (U.S. envoy to Afghanistan), Peter W. Rodman (Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs), Donald Rumsfeld (Secretary of Defense), William Schneider, Jr (Chairman Defense Science Board Commissioner) and Paul Wolfowitz (Deputy Secretary of Defense) co-signed a letter to Clinton in January of 1998 saying just that. "We urge you to articulate this aim, and to turn your Administration's attention to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam's regime from power." The full test of their letter to President Clinton follows this article.


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Regime Change in Iraq predates 9/11 (1998)
The New American Century
January 26, 1998

The Honorable William J. Clinton
President of the United States
Washington, DC

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing you because we are convinced that current American policy toward Iraq is not succeeding, and that we may soon face a threat in the Middle East more serious than any we have known since the end of the Cold War.  In your upcoming State of the Union Address, you have an opportunity to chart a clear and determined course for meeting this threat.  We urge you to seize that opportunity, and to enunciate a new strategy that would secure the interests of the U.S. and our friends and allies around the world.  That strategy should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime from power.  We stand ready to offer our full support in this difficult but necessary endeavor.

The policy of "containment' of Saddam Hussein has been steadily eroding over the past several months.  As recent events have demonstrated, we can no longer depend on our partners in the Gulf War coalition to continue to uphold the sanctions or to punish Saddam when he blocks or evades UN inspections.  Our ability to ensure that Saddam Hussein is not producing weapons of mass destruction, therefore, has substantially diminished.  Even if full inspections were eventually to resume, which now seems highly unlikely, experience has shown that it is difficult if not impossible to monitor Iraq's chemical and biological weapons production.  The lengthy period during which the inspectors will have been unable to enter many Iraqi facilities has made it even less likely that they will be able to uncover all of Saddam's secrets.  As a result, in the not-too-distant future we will be unable to determine with any reasonable level of confidence whether Iraq does or does not possess such weapons.

Such uncertainty will, by itself, have a seriously destabilizing effect on the entire Middle East.  It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world's supply of oil will all be put at hazard.  As you have rightly declared, Mr. President, the security of the world in the first part of the 21st century will be determined largely by how we handle this threat.

Given the magnitude of the threat, the current policy, which depends for its success upon the steadfastness of our coalition partners and upon the cooperation of Saddam Hussein, is dangerously inadequate. The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.

We urge you to articulate this aim, and to turn your Administration's attention to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam's regime from power. This will require a full complement of diplomatic, political and military efforts. Although we are fully aware of the dangers and difficulties in implementing this policy, we believe the dangers of failing to do so are far greater. We believe the U.S. has the authority under existing UN resolutions to take the necessary steps, including military steps, to protect our vital interests in the Gulf. In any case, American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council.

We urge you to act decisively. If you act now to end the threat of weapons of mass destruction against the U.S. or its allies, you will be acting in the most fundamental national security interests of the country. If we accept a course of weakness and drift, we put our interests and our future at risk.

Sincerely,

Elliott Abrams    Richard L. Armitage    William J. Bennett

Jeffrey Bergner    John Bolton    Paula Dobriansky

Francis Fukuyama    Robert Kagan    Zalmay Khalilzad

William Kristol    Richard Perle    Peter W. Rodman

Donald Rumsfeld    William Schneider, Jr.    Vin Weber

Paul Wolfowitz    R. James Woolsey    Robert B. Zoellick

Commentary:
As you can see from the above letter and the previous article Bush is simply the puppet of these ultra-right wing nuts. They believe the fall of the USSR gives the US an opportunity to dominate the world. They believe in violating the UN charter, the rule of International Laws, and almost all previous treaties the US signed, including the ABM treaty, which Bush dutifully pulled out of.

The puppeteer's of the New American Century tell Bush what to do and what to say. They tell him regime change is necessary, they tell him to tie Saddam to terrorism. They are his masters.

Bush would be well advised to stop pretending to be president and instead look cute and play dumb like all good puppets.


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Upbeat Tone Ended With War
By Dana Milbank
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 29, 2003; Page A01

The moment the first shots were fired last week in the war against Iraq, the Bush administration pivoted sharply to dampen public expectations of the military operation.

In the months preceding the war, President Bush was largely silent on the subject of the conflict's cost, duration and dangers, while key administration officials and advisers presented upbeat forecasts. Vice President Cheney, for example, predicted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's troops would "step aside" and that the conflict would be "weeks rather than months," a phrase repeated by other top officials. Others in advisory roles in the administration predicted Iraqi soldiers would "throw in the towel" and Hussein would collapse like "a house of cards" -- phrases senior administration officials often echoed in private.

But when Bush announced the war on March 19, he offered a warning that has been echoed throughout the administration in the 10 days since: "A campaign on the harsh terrain of a nation as large as California could be longer and more difficult than some predict." Speaking to veterans yesterday, he warned again that "the fierce fighting currently underway will demand further courage and further sacrifice."

That assessment, combined with unexpected resistance facing coalition forces in Iraq, has produced a torrent of questions in recent days about whether the White House played down the costs of the conflict until it was underway. According to a new CBS News poll, 55 percent of Americans say the country underestimated Iraqi resistance, while 37 percent disagree.

Bush administration officials say it is far too early to dismiss the upbeat predictions. Indeed, just as early doubts about progress in Kosovo and Afghanistan were dispelled, Hussein's government could still collapse within weeks, and Iraqis could celebrate the U.S. "liberation" of their country.

Administration officials now say they were frank about the dangers all along. But in the months leading up to the war, top administration officials offered a number of forecasts that accentuated the positive.

On CBS's "Face the Nation" on March 16, Cheney said the fight would be "weeks rather than months. There's always the possibility of complications that you can't anticipate, but I have great confidence in our troops." Cheney also predicted the fight would "go relatively quickly, but we can't count on that." That same day on NBC's "Meet the Press," Cheney said, "I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators." It was then he predicted that the regular Iraqi soldiers would not "put up such a struggle," and that even "significant elements of the Republican Guard . . . are likely to step aside." Asked if Americans are prepared for a "long, costly and bloody battle," Cheney replied: "Well, I don't think it's likely to unfold that way. . . . The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but what they want to the get rid of Saddam Hussein, and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that." Cheney has spoken that way for months.

In September 2002, he said that "you always plan for the worst," but he also said, "I don't think it would be that tough a fight; that is, I don't think there's any question that we would prevail." In a speech in August, he cited a scholar's view that "the streets in Basra and Baghdad are sure to erupt in joy in the same way the throngs in Kabul greeted the Americans."

White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said yesterday that Cheney's "weeks rather than months" formulation may yet be proven correct. Facing repeated questions at his daily briefing, he declined to second the view of Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace, the Army's senior ground commander in Iraq, who said this week the war may be longer than many strategists had anticipated.

And he noted that the president did not make any predictions about the war's duration. A spokeswoman for Cheney echoed Fleischer's view that it is premature to dismiss Cheney's predictions about the conflict.

Fleischer cited three remarks Bush made about the conflict's risks. On Oct. 7, the president said "military conflict could be difficult. An Iraqi regime faced with its own demise may attempt cruel and desperate measures." On Jan. 3, he said: "I know that every order I give can bring a cost. . . . We know the challenges and the dangers we face." And in the Jan. 28, State of the Union address, Bush said: "The technologies of war have changed; the risks and suffering of war have not. For the brave Americans who bear the risk, no victory is free from sorrow. This nation fights reluctantly, because we know the cost and we dread the days of mourning that always come."

Fleischer said these comments show that Bush was upfront about the risks involved in attacking Iraq. "I think the American people, from the very beginning, when they heard the president on September 12, 2002, talk about the possibility of the United States using force to disarm Saddam Hussein, they started to understand that if we're going to use force, it, of course, entails sacrifice," he said. "I think that's one of the reasons that the American people have accepted the way they have the realities of this war, the risks of this war, and still support it as strongly as they do."

Though other officials often provided caveats about unpredictable dangers, they also spoke of the conflict in optimistic terms. For example, Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a breakfast meeting earlier this month that the goal was "a short, short conflict." Last September, Myers said that "Iraq is much weaker than they were back in the early '90s," when it was routed in the Persian Gulf War.

Right up to the hours before Bush announced the war's start last Wednesday, leading officials voiced confidence. "The campaign will be unlike any we have ever seen in the history of warfare, with breathtaking precision, almost eye-watering speed, persistence, agility and lethality," said Vice Admiral Timothy Keating, commander of U.S. naval forces in the Gulf.

That view appeared in a Defense Department document titled "Overview of Requirements" submitted this week to Congress. It referred to "a short, extremely intense period of combat operations using a full range of U.S. and coalition forces. This phase will eliminate any significant organized resistance to U.S. coalition forces and will end the current regime."

At a news briefing with Rumsfeld yesterday, Myers spoke in a more measured way about forces approaching Baghdad. "It was necessary to try to bring down this regime as quickly as possible," he said. "I didn't say quick; I said as quickly as possible. "You've heard us both stand up here and say this is going to take some time, and the tough part is yet ahead of us."

A senior administration official who briefed reporters Monday on condition of anonymity said Rumsfeld "has right along said that he thought that fighting was likely to last weeks, not months." Rumsfeld told troops last month that "it could last, you know, six days, six weeks. I doubt six months." Rumsfeld also contradicted the Army chief of staff, who told the Senate that "several hundred thousand" troops would be needed to occupy Iraq. "Far off the mark," Rumsfeld said.

Some officials' predictions may yet be realized, even if early signs have not been encouraging. For example, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz said in a speech earlier this month that "the Iraqi people understand what this crisis is about. Like the people of France in the 1940s, they view us as their hoped-for liberator." Wolfowitz said yesterday that "we probably did underestimate the willingness of this regime to commit war crimes," but he said other forecasts were on course.

Other forecasts seem increasingly improbable. Richard Perle, until this week chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, said last summer that Hussein is "much weaker than we think he is." Calling the regime a "house of cards," Perle said "support for Saddam, including within his military organization, will collapse at the first whiff of gunpowder."

In an interview on PBS, Perle said he "would be surprised if we need anything like" 200,000 troops, and predicted only 10 percent of Hussein's troops would be loyal. Though warning of "contingencies," he predicted an internal revolt against Hussein, adding: "It will be quicker and easier than many people think. He is far weaker than many people realize."

Yesterday, in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Perle said of the war: "There is some resistance, of course. I don't know anyone who thought this would be a war without resistance."

Staff researcher Lucy Shackelford contributed to this report.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
So Iraq was supposed to fall like a "house of cards." No wonder Perle was forced to step down. Did he get anything right? We can only hope the rest of the "New American Century" folks lose their jobs as well.


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Ex-US generals blame Rumsfeld for failures
Daily Times (PK)
March 30, 2003
By Toby Harnden

Six days into the Iraq war, Donald Rumsfeld is already facing accusations that he has committed insufficient troops to do the job and arrogantly ignored the counsel of senior military officers.

There have been long-running tensions between the defence secretary and the Pentagon's uniformed leadership over his rough-edged style and determination to shape his own war plan.

His critics now claim the rush to Baghdad has led to troops in the rear being dangerously exposed because Mr Rumsfeld repeatedly ignored requests from Gen Tommy Franks, commander of coalition forces, for extra men.

Retired generals, with the support of their serving colleagues, are openly accusing Mr Rumsfeld of underestimating the strength of Iraqi forces and mistakenly believing that the war would be a rout.

Ralph Peters, a military scientist and former Army officer, wrote in Washington Post that a coalition victory would be achieved "despite serious strategic miscalculations by the office of the defence secretary'.

He lambasted Mr Rumsfeld and his civilian aides for believing a "shock and awe' strategy of aerial bombardment would shatter the will of Saddam's regime.

"Our attempt to baby-talk Iraq's elite military forces into surrender was humane in purpose and politically attractive, and it might have minimised Iraqi casualties. But it delayed essential attacks on Iraq's military capabilities.

"This encouraged at least some Iraqis in uniform to believe they had a chance to fight and win. Now our forces advancing on Baghdad face the possibility of more serious combat than would otherwise have been the case.'

According to Pentagon sources, the first plan presented by Gen Franks proposed using four or five heavy divisions moving slowly towards Baghdad. Mr Rumsfeld is said to have rejected this, stating bluntly that it was unimaginative and too similar to 1991.

Mr Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, his deputy, favoured a smaller, lighter force relying heavily on Special Forces and air power.

Although Gen Franks managed to block any "Afghan model' plan in which Iraqi opposition forces would do much of the fighting supported by as few as 60,000 American troops, the final plan bore Mr Rumsfeld's stamp.

There are around 250,000 coalition troops in the Persian Gulf but only two heavy divisions: the US 3rd Infantry and Britain's 7th Armoured Brigade.

Mr Rumsfeld took over the Pentagon determined to wrest it back from military control. During the Clinton administration, senior officers became used to having a much freer hand because of the inexperience and weakness of many of the civilian leaders.

Some senior military officers believe that civilian Pentagon officials do not understand the reality of conflict because they have never served in uniform.

Supporters of Mr Rumsfeld, who was a Navy jet pilot but never saw combat, are infuriated by that claim and have hit back by denigrating some generals as being almost pathologically cautious and reluctant to commit troops. —LDT

Daily Times - All Rights Reserved

Commentary:
There's a lot of fluff in this article but it seems reasonably clear that this was a made for TV war, which meant they had to get to Baghdad as quickly as possible. The MTV generation isn't going to wait 40-some days for a war to begin. Now, we're in the "is it over yet" phase and the TV commentators must be getting antsy thinking about spending months in Iraq.


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