Saturday, September 09, 2006

Rumsfeld: "We won't stay."

"Today, via Orin Kerr, comes a remarkable interview with Brigadier General Mark Scheid, chief of the Logistics War Plans Division after 9/11, and one of the people with primary responsibility for war planning. Shortly after the invasion of Afghanistan, he says, Donald Rumsfeld told his team to start planning for war in Iraq, but not to bother planning for a long stay:
"The secretary of defense continued to push on us ... that everything we write in our plan has to be the idea that we are going to go in, we're going to take out the regime, and then we're going to leave," Scheid said. "We won't stay."

Scheid said the planners continued to try "to write what was called Phase 4," or the piece of the plan that included post-invasion operations like occupation.

Even if the troops didn't stay, "at least we have to plan for it," Scheid said.

"I remember the secretary of defense saying that he would fire the next person that said that," Scheid said. "We would not do planning for Phase 4 operations, which would require all those additional troops that people talk about today.

"He said we will not do that because the American public will not back us if they think we are going over there for a long war."

...."In his own mind he thought we could go in and fight and take out the regime and come out. But a lot of us planners were having a real hard time with it because we were also thinking we can't do this. Once you tear up a country you have to stay and rebuild it. It was very challenging."
In a way, this is old news. As much as it beggars the imagination, there's been plenty of evidence all along that Bush never took the idea of rebuilding Iraq seriously. The plan was to remove Saddam from power, claim victory, and get out.

However, this is the clearest evidence I've seen yet. The guy who was actually in charge of logistics has now directly confirmed that Rumsfeld not only didn't intend to rebuild Iraq in any serious way, but threatened to fire anyone who wasted time on the idea. Needless to say, he wouldn't have done this unless it reflected the wishes of the president.

And this also means that all of Bush's talk about democracy was nothing but hot air. If you're serious about planting democracy after a war, you don't plan to simply topple a government and then leave.

So: the lack of postwar planning wasn't merely the result of incompetence. It was deliberate policy. There was never any intention of rebuilding Iraq and there was never any intention of wasting time on democracy promotion. That was merely a post hoc explanation after we failed to find the promised WMD. Either that or BG Scheid is lying.

This is an astounding interview, all the more so for the apparently resigned tone that Scheid brings to it. It belongs on the front page of the New York Times, not the Hampton Roads Daily Press."

Read the whole interview.

The interesting thing is that, per Larisa and Bamford and others, the expected the iraqi regime to fall quickly and then move immediately onto Iran. I'm not sure what 'immediately' means - but I think Bamford speaks of them moving onto Iran that same Summer. Perhaps that's why they didn't need any plans to stay. Although if that was the case, then presumably they'd need a logistics plan for Iran. I wonder if that was ever produced. Scheid's comments appear to indicate otherwise.


noise said...

Here is Antonia Juhasz's take on the occupation plan. Much better for Bush Co. to take the rap for incompetence than be held accountable for a sinister occupation plan that fed the insurgency at the expense of Iraqi citizens and US soldiers...for the benefit of corporate profiteers.

I emphasize that it's an absolute fallacy that there was no post-war plan. The plan was written two months before the invasion of Iraq by a company, Bearing Point Inc., which is based in Virginia -- it was KPMG Consulting until it changed its name in the wake of the Arthur Anderson-Enron corruption scandals. The company is not well-known. It works behind the scenes for every branch of government, and it provides all kinds of consulting services.

Bearing point received a $250 million contract from USAID to write a remodeled structure for the Iraqi economy. It was to transition Iraq from a state-controlled economy to a market economy, but I argue that the new model was more a state-controlled economy that is controlled on behalf of multinational corporations, and heavily regulated in fact on behalf of multinational corporations. It just no longer serves the public interest.

Bearing point's plan was implemented to a T by L. Paul Bremer, the administrator of Iraq's coalition government. The U.N.'s special envoy to Iraq, Lakhdar Brahimi, called him the "Dictator of Iraq," and he was. He ruled Iraq for 14 months, and he implemented Bearing Point's plan; he rewrote Iraq's entire economic and political structure by implementing his 100 orders. The orders had the force of law, and any Iraqi laws that contradicted the orders were overridden.

Uranus said...

Noise nailed it. Although I've read a huge volume on the subject, I've saved no links. Suffice it to say the Bush administration wants the world to think it's incompetent, in order to hide its more sinister plans. The list of reasons we're there is as long as your arm. If I had to choose one to fit Bush's philosophy, military strategy--and everything that's taken place--it would be to establish a convenient military operations center...and all other considerations be damned.

Early in the year as Negroponte's squads were killing Iraqi men of draft age en masse and blowing up temples I was making this declaration on some big blogs, and only the big readers noticed it. Like justice, the truth grinds slowly yet surely. I'm happy to see this subject now, for the sake of all the innocent people who've been killed and deserve to be remembered, and avenged.

lukery said...

Noise - thanks for that - the 100-poit plan was just outrageuos.

Uranus - re 'a convenient military operations center' you might be interested in my interview with larisa

Uranus said...

That's very interesting. You're a good interviewer, and she has plenty to say. I keep asking myself why are we fucking with these poor people? What more does it accomplish than making the world economy gasp for breath? If the PNAC-Bush-Cheney The Cowboy administration were really serious about spreading democracy, it would be faster and cheaper to be a strong democracy at home and a good neighbor abroad. But I guess that doesn't make money for KBR and Carlyle, nor does it fill graves. You can't forget all those pretty graves they like. Jesus, why not just build a nice, big-ass military base in downtown Tehran and quit fiddling around? It's because these bullies are cowards, like I said before. You'd have to kill plenty of people to do that! And hey, North Korea, you're next.

lukery said...

thnx again for your kind words - i'm not sure that i'm a good interviewer, i certainly havent had much practice - but i have 3 big ones coming up - so the vote of confidence is appreciated :-)

larisa certainly does have lots to say!

jeebus - i hope that you dont believe that this crew really are interested in 'spreading democracy'

starroute said...

Well, they are interested in "spreading democracy" if you define the term narrowly enough. There's an article which I recommend highly, 'Democracy Promotion' and Neo-Liberalism in the Middle East, which starts off by stating:

Much has been written about US democracy promotion and its role in bringing to power pro-American individuals to reinforce imperial strategic interests in various parts of the world. In particular, William Robinson’s 1996 book, Promoting Polyarchy: Globalization, US Intervention, and Hegemony, provides a prescient analysis of the evolution and strategy behind US democracy promotion from the 1980s onwards.

Robinson argues that democracy promotion is aimed at strengthening polyarchy – the rule of a small minority in which mass participation consists of periodic choices in formally free elections managed by competing sections of the elite. Robinson argues that polyarchy’s fixation with the formal act of voting serves to justify the influence and power that comes with possession of material wealth. Democracy promotion thus plays an ideological role in legitimating the division between politics and economics predicated in liberal theory. By concentrating on the form of elections, it serves to justify prodigious concentrations of wealth both within and between nations.

Robinson documents how US foreign policy took a conscious shift in the late 1970s-early 1980s towards a strategy based upon democracy promotion. Rather than solely providing military, economic and political support to unpopular military dictatorships, the US government moved towards attempting to influence and control social and political mobilization ‘from below’. US government functionaries and political elites began to work at diffusing social tensions through a strategy of co-option and managed dissent.

Robinson and others have documented the mechanics of this strategy through US government institutions, semi-private and private organizations. Key to this strategy is the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), established in 1983 and funded by the US State Department through organizations such as USAID. NED, in turn, supports other ‘democracy promotion’ organizations such as the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) – linked to Democratic and Republican Parties respectively – and bodies such as the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), and the Solidarity Center (affiliated to the AFL/CIO). A host of other private corporations and NGOs are also involved.

Uranus said...

No, I don't believe there is any more actual interest in spreading democracy than there is in spreading celibacy. These are all just bullshit excuses for getting up in other countries' business and establishing a military presence. I still insist the military adventurism of the United States in the past few years isn't about oil or balance of power, or even empire, but is about a few rich people owning the whole world, and some of the corporations who figured to be beneficiaries of the neocon agenda are in for a big surprise.

rimone said...

lukery: The plan was to remove Saddam from power, claim victory, and get out

you forgot the part about the oil.

and this also means that all of Bush's talk about democracy was nothing but hot air.

no shit. (not angry at you)

i'm not sure that i'm a good interviewer

oooh, i totally love modest dudes (i do). anyway, if you sucked, people like Larisa and Sibel have sure 'wasted' a lotta time w/you. :-)

uranus: to establish a convenient military operations center...and all other considerations be damned.

can't find it now but there's a map showing the 14 (16?) US bases under construction and/or finished now in Iraq. and they all have A/C and electricity...amazing.

fucking liars, just cause /they can/.

lukery said...

thnx for that starroute.

uranus - i agree with you - my 'guiding principle' is that we need to look at all of these events as inviduals trying to do whats best for themselves.

rimone: "lukery: The plan was to remove Saddam from power, claim victory, and get out"
actually, that wasn't me, that was drum.

rimone: "oooh, i totally love modest dudes (i do). anyway, if you sucked, people like Larisa and Sibel have sure 'wasted' a lotta time w/you. :-)"
lol - i didnt say that i wasnt devilishly clever and insightful - just that i'm not a good interviewer!

Don said...

i didnt say that i wasnt devilishly clever and insightful - just that i'm not a good interviewer!

Let's see: you establish a strong working relationship with the interviewee; understand the subject matter thoroughly; ask probing questions to draw out new information, clarifying where necessary; the people with a real story to tell keep coming back to you; and you're not a self-important blowhard letting your own agrandisement and/or agenda and/or views get in the way of telling the subject's story.

I'd suggest doing it professionally, except that last point would hobble you in the rather toxic modern media world: the subject gets to tell their story, no spin.

Well, that and actually being able to do the job right.

If the mic fits... ;)

lukery said...

don - thnx for the vote of confidence :-)

the interviwe later today will be with people who i don't know - hopefully they'll be able to understand my accent! (and me, theirs)

at least i know the subject matter well :-)