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The Bush/Cheney Holocaust in Iraq, Part Two: Incompetence

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(Note: Part One of "The Bush/Cheney Holocaust in Iraq: Criminality, Immorality, Incompetence and Desperation" examined the criminality and immorality underlying the Bush/Cheney regime's invasion of Iraq (see http://www.walter-c-uhler.com/Reviews/criminal.html ). Part Two, below, examines the disasters that could have been avoided, except for the gross incompetence with which the invasion was conducted. Part Three, next week, will examine the desperation, which now compels various political actors to contemplate drastic action before the Bush/Cheney regime leaves office.)

Part Two: Incompetence

Last month -- more than four years after the Bush/Cheney regime's criminal and immoral invasion -- oil rich Iraq was able to produce only 2 million barrels of oil per day, some 500,000 barrels per day less than it produced on the eve of the U.S. invasion. It also produced but an average of 3,700 megawatts of electricity, or some 300 megawatts less than it produced on the eve of the U.S. invasion. [Jason Campbell, Michael O'Hanlon and Amy Unikewicz, "The State of Iraq: An Update," New York Times, June 10, 2007]

Such sobering facts highlight the incompetence of the ideologue who most fervently argued in favor of undertaking the regime's criminal invasion, Paul Wolfowitz. Speaking to Congress about Iraq's oil just one week after the invasion began, Wolfowitz asserted: "We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon."

In fact, as the General Accountability Office (GAO) reported just last month, "From fiscal years 2003 through 2006, the United States spent about $5.1 billion to rebuild the oil and electricity sectors. The United States also spent an additional $3.8 billion in Iraqi funds on these sectors. However, Iraq will need billions of additional dollars to rebuild these sectors." [GAO Report No. 07-677, "Rebuilding Iraq: Integrated Strategic Plan Needed to Help Restore Iraq's Oil and Electricity Sectors," May 2007]

Moreover, as the Chicago Tribune reported four days ago, "Across the country, most provinces get electricity 10 to 12 hours a day. Baghdad usually had been getting about two hours, and when sabotage attacks destroyed all but one transmission line to the city in late May, many city residents got just one hour." [James Janega, "After 4 Years, Electricity Still Luxury," Chicago Tribune, June 25, 2007]

The GAO report blamed "poor security conditions" for slowing reconstruction and rising costs. By "poor security conditions," the report means looting, sabotage, insurgency and civil war. Yet, all these ills are direct and predictable consequences of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's failure to dispatch a military force to Iraq that was large enough to secure the peace.

Notably, it was Rumsfeld's deputy, Wolfowitz, who ridiculed General Shinseki's (strikingly prescient) prewar estimate that peacekeeping in Iraq would require "something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers." Calling it, "widely off the mark," Wolfowitz added: "It's hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq than it would take to conduct the war itself and to secure the surrender of Saddam's security forces and his army. Hard to imagine." [George Packer, The Assassins' Gate, pp. 114-15]

Lacking such imagination, the ideologues running the Pentagon failed to plan for an insurgency. But, worse, they adamantly refused to do any planning at all for post-invasion Iraq, lest they be required to inform Congress about the potential problems that might arise. As one Defense official told George Packer, "The senior leadership in the Pentagon was very worried about the realities of the postconflict phase being known, because if you are [Douglas] Feith or if you are Wolfowitz, your primary concern is to achieve the war." [Ibid, p. 114]

Two erroneous assumptions permitted Rumsfeld and the neoconservatives in the Pentagon to justify their politically inspired negligence: (1) the war would be a "cakewalk," because Iraqis would greet American troops as liberators and (2) the technological superiority of America's forces, thanks to the "revolution in military affairs," was a force multiplier that rendered a huge invading force and post-invasion plans unnecessary.

Eager for war, the Bush/Cheney regime spent much of 2002 planning for the invasion - Phase I (the buildup of troops), Phase II (covert operations) and Phase III (air and ground assaults). In fact, by early 2002 military resources had been diverted from Afghanistan to support the invasion of Iraq. On February 19, 2002 General Tommy Franks admitted as much when he confidentially told Florida's Senator, Bob Graham: "Senator, we are not engaged in a war in Afghanistan" because "military and intelligence personnel are being redeployed to prepare for an action in Iraq." [Graham, Intelligence Matters p. 125]

(According to Graham, "[O]nce America turned to Iraq, al Qaeda was able to regroup, refocus, and begin carrying out attacks again. From September 2002 until the train bombings in Spain in 2004, al Qaeda carried out twelve attacks that took, in all, more than 600 lives." [Graham, p. 218])

Eager for war, the Bush/Cheney regime also ignored two Intelligence Community Assessments issued in January 2003 that warned about the numerous potential problems that might result from an invasion of Iraq. These reports warned about the difficulty of establishing democracy in Iraq, about the opportunities that the invasion would provide for al Qaeda, about the possibility of unleashing violent conflict in a divided society (e.g., civil war), about fueling a heightened terrorist threat, a surge in political Islam and increased funding of terrorist groups, and about how Iran might profit from the whole ordeal. ["Report on Prewar Intelligence Assessments About Postwar Iraq," Select Committee on Intelligence, United States Senate, May 25, 2007, pp. 6-12]

(Note the total abuse of intelligence: First, the Bush/Cheney regime pressured the intelligence community (IC) to produce conclusions that supported its own preconceptions about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and ties to al Qaeda. Then, it embellished or lied about the IC's WMD intelligence while fabricating damning intelligence about Saddam's ties to al Qaeda, when the IC found none. Finally, it ignored the IC's quite accurate assessments about potential problems resulting from an invasion.)

Consequently, "by March 2003, the planning for Phase IV [postwar operations] was barely under way." [Packer, p. 119] Moreover, when General Franks -- the man responsible for Phases 1 through 3 - was asked about Phase IV, he replied: "Mr. Wolfowitz is taking care of that." [Packer, p. 120]

Wolfowitz assigned responsibility for postwar planning to his subordinate, Douglas Feith. In mid-January 2003, Feith asked retired lieutenant general Jay Garner to take the job. Garner eventually accepted and commenced work. But when he asked Feith for copies of planning documents, "Feith told him nothing useful existed." [Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Imperial Life in the Emerald City, p. 31]

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Walter C. Uhler is an independent scholar and freelance writer whose work has been published in numerous publications, including The Nation, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Journal of Military History, the Moscow Times and the San (more...)
 
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I want to see it stop too.I want more.I am SICK of... by goldenequity on Friday, Jun 29, 2007 at 10:39:45 AM
Cheney & Co. are not incompetent.  U... by John on Friday, Jun 29, 2007 at 12:17:45 PM
The neocon Straussian model stresses creation of c... by richard on Friday, Jun 29, 2007 at 6:28:04 PM