Bush's Pet Historian
Via Eric Alterman, the HNN staff out of the George Mason's University have looked into the historians that Bush used in setting up his war. Evidently, even though Condi Rice has a PhD in
History Political Science, she has some striking blinders in understanding the lessons of history and some truly astonishingly blind faith in her leader. [Ed: oops, but still her political science background should have taught her to think!]
Signs of Chaos
Garner, stationed during the war in Kuwait, wanted to get to Baghdad as soon as American troops subdued the city. But Rumsfeld repeatedly delayed his departure. This struck National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice as wrong-headed.
RICE THOUGHT GARNER was sitting in Kuwait too long. All the important things--running the government, getting the ministries up and running in Iraq--were not getting done. She understood that Iraq had a pretty good civil service, and she assumed it would still be there. But several days into the war, she received reports that the government workers, including oil workers, could not be found. "What do you mean you can't find the oil workers?" she asked.
There was a brittleness in the country, she concluded. As a Soviet expert she had studied what happens to totalitarian systems when they collapse. She recalled reading about the 1953 death of Joseph Stalin. For five weeks the Soviet Union ceased to function. Nobody could do anything because everybody counted on direction from the very top. Iraq seemed to have cratered in the same way or worse. But history predicted it would be temporary. In the end, she was confident, order would reassert itself, as had happened in the old USSR.
As the signs of chaos increased in 2003 and 2004 Rice grew concerned, but never lost faith:
IN THE RARE MOMENTS Rice had time to read, she read about the Founding Fathers to remind herself that the United States of America should never have come into being. In particular, she was affected by David McCullough's 1776, about the darkest times of the American Revolution. General George Washington wrote a private letter to his brother in which he reflected on the contrast between his public demeanor and knowledge of the dire circumstances. "Many of my difficulties and distresses were of so peculiar a cast that in order to conceal them from the enemy, I was obliged to conceal them from my friends, indeed from my own army," Washington wrote, "thereby subjecting my conduct to interpretations unfavorable to my character."
Rice maintained to colleagues that neither she nor the president felt any equivalent distress. "Tough sledding," she said, but Bush had told her, "I see the path on Iraq."
Ah, yes. Bush sees the path and so Condi has faith that her leader will guide the way. Yet another reason things are so screwed up in Iraq.