PHOENIX FIVE EARTH CHANGES BULLETIN
October 9, 2003 by MW Mandeville
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ITEMS: The Imperial Faction Is Factionating: Rumsfield On The Way Out?
DONALD RUMSFELD: WASHINGTON'S WARLORD LEADER / BUSH APPOINTEE IS A
RUTHLESS, VICIOUS, MERCILESS, COLD-BLOODED KILLER, BUT THIS 'RISING
STAR'S' STAR MAY BE WANING - Wednesday October 8, 2003, The Guardian
Signs abound that Donald Rumsfeld's star is waning.
One year ago, the abrasive U.S. defence secretary was a formidable
political force. Buoyed by the overthrow of the Taliban, masterminding
the military build-up against Iraq and regularly outflanking the state
department's Colin Powell in Washington power games, the Pentagon chief
dominated policy-making to a remarkable degree. His brusque manner and
sharp suits made him a media celebrity and an unlikely pin-up. Mr
Rumsfeld had become the UNCHALLENGED WARLORD of George Bush's "war on
What a difference a year makes, as Geoff Hoon might say. Mr Bush's
decision, announced this week, to take overall executive control of
political, counter-terrorism and reconstruction policy in Iraq and
Afghanistan OUT OF the Pentagon's hands amounts to a vote of NO
CONFIDENCE in Mr Rumsfeld. Officials insist that is not the case.
But that is how it will certainly be seen as power shifts to a newly
expanded national security council led by Mr Bush's close confidant,
Condoleezza Rice. This is damage control at it most dramatic, for never
before has the NSC been afforded an overt operational role.
And yet the reasons for it are plain enough. U.S. soldiers are dying;
the financial cost grows RUINOUS, even for America's deep pockets.
Other countries are still mostly refusing to help out; there is
diplomatic stalemate at the UN.
Afghanistan may be turning sour, too. And all this amid an alarming
deterioration in overall Middle East security. With the war now WIDELY
DISCREDITED, Iraq is fast becoming a millstone around Mr Bush's neck.
All the polls show it. The White House FEARS IT. For much of this, Mr
Rumsfeld bears frontline responsibility. When once he took the credit,
now he increasingly takes the blame.
This is only fair. Mr Rumsfeld's Iraq campaign plan was FATALLY FLAWED
from the start. He UNDERestimated the number of troops required and was
unable to halt Iraq's descent into post-Saddam, post-sanctions chaos.
His appointment of Jay Garner as Iraq's overseer was a DISASTER,
symptomatic of a deeper, astonishing FAILURE to grasp the sheer scale of
the reconstruction challenge.
In a way, Mr Rumsfeld misled himself. His shadowy Office of Special
Plans bypassed the CIA and the Pentagon's own Defence Intelligence
Agency in peddling sexed-up or plain inaccurate WMD "intelligence" that
BOOSTED THE NEO-CON CAUSE. He and deputies Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas
Feith, ignoring wiser heads, gave far too much credence to the claims of
self-interested Iraqi exiles, some of whom it has since installed in
power. Allegations of crony capitalism continue to swirl around the
awarding of postwar contracts.
Meanwhile, ordinary Iraqis (and America's poor bloody infantry) are
struggling to overcome a series of blunders by Gen Garner's successor,
Paul Bremer, another Rumsfeld appointee. These range from the
disbanding of Iraq's army to reluctance to countenance a swift return to
self-governance. Mr Rumsfeld blames diehard Ba'athists, al-Qaida
terrorists, Syria, Iran, the French, the UN, anybody, for Iraq's current
woes. But if he wants to nail one of the main culprits, he need only
LOOK IN THE MIRROR.
The Pentagon has long been a notoriously badly run agency. It cannot
even lock people up in Guantanamo Bay without making a mess of it. It
WASTES taxpayers' dollars on an EPIC SCALE. It buys pork-barrel weapons
systems nobody needs; it often simply cannot account for its spending;
it hands out jobs-for-the-boys to people like Iran-Contra's John
Poindexter. Now it emerges that it has been blithely SELLING SURPLUS
BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS equipment on the internet.
Why anybody ever imagined that the Pentagon, of all organisations, was
competent to manage Iraq is a great mystery of our time. Why Mr Rumsfeld
is still U.S. defence secretary is an even bigger one.
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003
X-URL-Title: Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Washington's warlord
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