Sunday, October 12, 2003
The Dogs of War
New World Attention Deficit Disorder
Justice for Just Us
Women who are discouraged at the ascension of Conan the Barbarian in Cal-ee-fornia can take heart. In this delicious gender-bender, Condoleezza Rice triumphs as the macho infighter, driving Rummy into a diva-like meltdown.
The trigger was Monday's coverage of the Iraq Stabilization Group (a.k.a. Fat Chance Group); the group is a desperate bid to get a grip on Baghdad before the campaign starts by transferring power for postwar Iraq from the Pentagon to the national security adviser's office inside the White House.
Condi used a trick she learned from Rummy: pre-emption. She outflanked the famous Washington infighter by talking about the new alignment to The New York Times before he had a chance to object.
It was the first time the chesty defense czar who had tried to freeze out the softies at State, which the Pentagon sneeringly refers to as "the Department of Nice" had been downgraded by the president and outmaneuvered by a colleague.
Mr. Rumsfeld's rebellion was touched off by David Sanger's report in The Times on Monday that the White House was reorganizing the control of postwar Iraq and Afghanistan under the wing of Ms. Rice. That did not sit well at the Pentagon. It saw the switch, correctly, as an attempt to suggest that the hawkish Mr. Rumsfeld was being edged aside in the face of criticism that Mr. Bush does not have an adequate plan for Iraq.
Pentagon officials say there is less here than meets the eye. But Mr. Rumsfeld took the trouble in an interview, with newspapers in Europe no less, to make his disdain for the White House power grab quite clear. Mr. Rumsfeld said he had known nothing of the reorganization until he read news accounts. He dismissed Ms. Rice's memo describing the move as a restatement of the obvious, which is that the National Security Council is supposed to "coordinate" (translation: not run) this sort of thing.
But White House officials say Mr. Rumsfeld did know about the change and bristled at his swipe at Ms. Rice. Well, Pentagon aides said in reply, Ms. Rice may have sent a memo. But she sends so many memos, how can a busy defense chief remember them all? Someone at the White House, they say, is lamely trying to mute criticism of postwar policy at Mr. Rumsfeld's expense. Secretary of State Colin Powell's team is delighted. While Mr. Rumsfeld has insisted on total control in Iraq, Mr. Powell's aides see the Rice memo as giving him more say.
On "Meet the Press" (Sunday, 28 September 2003), Condoleezza Rice again regurgitated the same old lie that Saddam Hussein had "connections" with Al Qaida, cynically used by the corrupt Bush Regime to frighten American people into mis-thinking that Iraq was somehow connected to 9/11: IT WASN'T! Condi Rice should go ... she is a liar.
Condi Rice described in July 2001, a weak, divided and militarily defenceless Iraq. "Saddam does not control the northern part of the country," she said. "We are able to keep his arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt." Shortly after the horrific attack on America on 9/11, Condi said that it was a "enormous opportunity" to invade Iraq and grab their oil. This insane, immoral and illegal adventure into Iraq was waged to enrich the Bushies' corporate cronies, that is resulting in the rape of the American taxpayer and Iraqi resources (oil).
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was asked recently to explain why he is taking such heat after enjoying "rock-star popularity" not too long ago among his admirers following U.S. military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Well, that's life, isn't it?" Rumsfeld told reporters.
"Life's a roller coaster."
In the roller coaster ride of Washington politics, Rumsfeld appears to be on a downward trajectory, according to U.S. officials and analysts.
They cite as evidence President Bush's formation of an interagency Iraq Stabilization Group headed by Condoleezza Rice, the White House national security adviser, to coordinate policy in Iraq, until now largely an in-house operation for Rumsfeld's Pentagon.
"You have to view this as just taking Rumsfeld down a notch," Brookings Institution defense analyst Michael O'Hanlon said. "It certainly reflects a little bit less confidence in Rumsfeld. I think it would be pretty hard to portray it any other way. ... Rumsfeld's star has dimmed just a little."
While many American newspapers have reported the opening of a bitter rift between Rice and Rumsfeld, Washington sources have suggested to the Sunday Herald that the rift is in fact between Rumsfeld and Bush, and that Condoleezza Rice has exploited it to her own advantage.
The President is of the view that the bickering between the Pentagon and [the Department of] State is a factor that needs to be addressed, one source said. By transferring power to Condy Rice via this Iraq Stabilisation Group he is de-fanging them both. She is the clear winner in all this.
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