January 25, 2009
Not a Successful Conversation

For high-level political gossip, don’t miss the oral history of Bush’s administration in the current Vanity Fair. More tomorrow, but here’s a first taste from Kenneth Adelman, describing how he came to be a former member of Donald Rumsfeld’s Defense Policy Board:

So he says, It might be best if you got off the Defense Policy Board. You’re very negative. I said, I am negative, Don. You’re absolutely right. I’m not negative about our friendship. But I think your decisions have been abysmal when it really counted.

Start out with, you know, when you stood up there and said things — “Stuff happens.” I said, That’s your entry in Bartlett’s. The only thing people will remember about you is “Stuff happens.” I mean, how could you say that? “This is what free people do.” This is not what free people do. This is what barbarians do. And I said, Do you realize what the looting did to us? It legitimized the idea that liberation comes with chaos rather than with freedom and a better life. And it demystified the potency of American forces. Plus, destroying, what, 30 percent of the infrastructure.

I said, You have 140,000 troops there, and they didn’t do jack shit. I said, There was no order to stop the looting. And he says, There was an order. I said, Well, did you give the order? He says, I didn’t give the order, but someone around here gave the order. I said, Who gave the order?

So he takes out his yellow pad of paper and he writes down — he says, I’m going to tell you. I’ll get back to you and tell you. And I said, I’d like to know who gave the order, and write down the second question on your yellow pad there. Tell me why 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq disobeyed the order. Write that down, too.

And so that was not a successful conversation.



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at January 25, 2009 06:01 PM
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One of my more vivid memories of the weeks following Bush's ordering of the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 was a paragraph I read in a news report that described U.S. soldiers guarding the Oil Ministry building in Baghdad and watching as Iraqis looted all the surrounding buildings, carrying whatever they could get their hands onto right by where the U.S. soldiers were standing, making certain that the Oil Ministry building was secured.

The U.S. soldiers had not been given any orders from Washington to stop the looting, but only to secure and guard the Oil Ministry building, one soldier said.

The entire Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld mis-adventure in Iraq has been a fiasco from start to finish, with the only clear winners being the Iranians and all the hard-core religious fundamentalist fanatics unleashed on Iraqi society by the removal and purging of Saddam Hussein and Baathist Party members.

Heckuva job, Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld. Heckuva job.

Posted by: The Oracle on January 27, 2009 2:47 AM
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