Sunday :: Oct 17, 2004

Two Stories More Important In This Election Than The Mary Cheney NonStory

by Steve

Here are two stories which are more important than the Mary Cheney diversion that the GOP and the Mighty Wurlitzer have cooked up. First, late this afternoon Tom Ricks of the Washington Post broke the story that runs contrary to the spin and lies from Bush and Cheney about their long-standing support to give the military whatever it needed in Iraq. It turns out that despite what Bush said at the time when Paul Bremer admitted that he asked for more troops but was denied, we find out from a leaked memo that Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez himself complained last December that his operational readiness was jeopardized by poor equipment, poor support, and too many bureaucratic delays. It is important to know this, and the fact that Bush/Cheney lie about their support for the commanders in the field, since if elected next month our soldiers and their families are likely to find themselves reliving this incompetence in Iran, Syria, and wherever else Ariel Sharon tells Bush to go.

Second, in a story that flew under the radar screen this weekend while the media focused on the Mary Cheney nonstory, Knight-Ridder beat their competitors to the punch again with a story that documents the failings of the White House to plan for the occupation, and how current officials believe (once again) that it may be too late in Iraq to turn it around.

"We didn't go in with a plan. We went in with a theory," said a veteran State Department officer who was directly involved in Iraq policy.

"We've finally got our act together, but we're all afraid it may be too late," said one senior official who's engaged daily in Iraq policy.

The Bush administration's failure to plan to win the peace in Iraq was the product of many of the same problems that plagued the administration's case for war, including wishful thinking, bad information from Iraqi exiles who said Iraqis would welcome American troops as liberators and contempt for dissenting opinions.

However, the administration's planning for postwar Iraq differed in one crucial respect from its erroneous pre-war claims about Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and links to al Qaida.

The U.S. intelligence community had been divided about the state of Saddam's weapons programs, but there was little disagreement among experts throughout the government that winning the peace in Iraq could be much harder than winning a war.

"The possibility of the United States winning the war and losing the peace in Iraq is real and serious," warned an Army War College report that was completed in February 2003, a month before the invasion. Without an "overwhelming" effort to prepare for the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the report warned: "The United States may find itself in a radically different world over the next few years, a world in which the threat of Saddam Hussein seems like a pale shadow of new problems of America's own making."

A half-dozen intelligence reports also warned that American troops could face significant postwar resistance. This foot-high stack of material was distributed at White House meetings of Bush's top foreign policy advisers, but there's no evidence that anyone ever acted on it.

"It was disseminated. And ignored," said a former senior intelligence official.

But letís keep talking about Mary Cheney OK? Iím sure that is more important to the future of this country than what world we will face in the next four years should Bush/Cheney steal another election.

Steve :: 6:20 PM :: Comments (3) :: Digg It!