Thursday, January 24, 2008

Perspective on Iraq

K. once mentioned how she felt sorry for Rumsfeld when he was ousted because it seemed like political fallout, unconnected to how well he had done the job. These two articles provide some perspective on Bush administration officials (Condoleeza Rice) and how they dealt with specific problems within their area of responsiblity. I'm sure there are two sides to every story, but it sure is interesting. Excerpt below.

[begin quote] By the end of 2005, Rice's opposition to any opening to the Sunni leadership in Iraq became almost obsessive, according to currently serving senior military officers. In one incident, now notorious in military circles, Rice "just went completely crazy" when she learned that a marine colonel had dispatched combat helicopters to help a "a Sunni sheikh" in Fallujah fight what the sheikh called an "imminent al-Qaeda threat".

As a senior Pentagon official now relates: "The Sunni leader literally picked up the telephone one day and called the ranking colonel at the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF)and pleaded with him, 'I need help and I need it now. Al-Qaeda is killing my tribe'." The marine colonel in question was John Coleman, the chief of staff to the same unit that had gone into Fallujah to fight the insurgency after the killing of four US security contractors in April of 2004.

"Rice was just enraged with Coleman and with the marines," a senior Pentagon officials say. "She said, 'you have to stop all of that right now and you can't do it unless you have State Department permission and the permission of the Iraqi government'. Well, the marines weren't about to do that. They were taking a lot of casualties and they were fed up. And they just concluded that it was their war and not hers," a senior Pentagon civilian recently noted. "So they just ignored her and went ahead anyway." [end quote]


P.S. Quote: In fact, the shift in strategy is more the result of necessity than choice - of decisions made by commanders on the ground who opposed the White House, National Security Council, CPA - and State Department view that all opposition to the Americans must be, ipso facto, evidence of terrorism. "We've not only started to define the real enemy," a senior military office says, "but we've stopped shooting people. We've figured out that protecting Iraq is Iraq's job, not ours."

"The presentation or 'gift' of the Holy Ghost simply confers upon a man the right to receive at any time, when he is worthy of it and desires it, the power and light of truth of the Holy Ghost, although he may often be left to his own spirit and judgment." --Joseph F. Smith (manual, p. 69)

Be pretty if you are,
Be witty if you can,
But be cheerful if it kills you.

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