Tuesday, February 20, 2007

We're off to see the Wizard

I've been reading Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone. It's a fascinating work. The author alleges that Douglas Feith, the Undersecretary of Defense in charge of planning for post-war Iraq wanted Ahmed Chalabi to be put in charge of the new government. But the State Department didn't trust Chalabi.

So Feith appointed Jay Garner, a retired General, to take charge of the reconstruction of Iraq, but Feith didn't give Garner any of the Pentagon's post-war planning. The reason for this was to force Garner to rely on the Iraqi exiles and thus a government of exiles would come into force despite the State Department's insistence.

If true, this means that Garner was set up to fail... but this really set up the entire Iraqi reconstruction to fail.

Feith is largely responsible for the incredible disgrace in Iraq. Gen. Tommy Franks once said that Feith was "the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth." |Political Animal| Feith is also the man whose work in manufacturing pre-war intelligence was declared inappropriate, but not illegal, by the Pentagon's Inspector General. |Capitol Hill Blue|

Of course, the failure to hire real reconstruction professionals was a huge mistake. Instead this administration selected personnel based on their ideological commitment to the neo-con vision and one's connections within the Republican party.

The Republicans almost religious allegiance to "free market economics" was another huge problem for the reconstruction. And we broke the country long before we invaded. The country was bombed and starved to the edge of collapse by the US, and then we took over the place. Brilliant.

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