The War – Chapter 2 Ends, On to Syria (Gulp!)

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End of ‘Major’ Combat, Fall of Tikrit, Anxiety Over Syria. Wow, what a difference a week makes. We went on vacation to Hawaii and it looked like a long hard conflict and we’re back this week and it is all over. Gives someone much to think about. I still think that we did this and were very lucky. I’m still a believer personally in the Powell doctrine of massive force with lots of multilateral backing. Obviously, that view is in its twilight in the current administration.
“Iraq Chaos No Surprise, but Too Few Troops to Quell It”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A19587-2003Apr13.html. This shows some reasons why.
“Confused Start, Decisive End”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A14839-2003Apr12.html. Great insiders view. Some excerpts: The most important meeting of the war may have been the one held on the morning of Saturday, March 29, on a wooded ridge in the Maryland countryside, at the Camp David presidential retreat. Some retired generals were arguing that U.S. forces in Iraq should wait for reinforcement from the 4th Infantry Division, and some Army officers on active duty privately agreed with that view. Several people close to Bush said the calculated risk of plunging ahead was driven partly by the realization that it was important for Rumsfeld’s ambition of transforming the military into a lighter, more agile force. Slowing down on the battlefield threatened to suggest a reversal of the administration’s key defense policy. So there you have it.
“How 3 Weeks of War in Iraq Looked From the Oval Office”: Another insiders view. But quickly, a new argument took its place. It was about postwar Iraq ? who should run it, who should determine which Iraqi leaders should emerge from the seed-corn democracy the United States intended to sow. “Same players, same departments, just a different version of the same fight,” one senior White House official said. But in the first week of April Mr. Rumsfeld reopened the issue, writing a letter to Mr. Bush saying that he wanted to fly the exiles into the country and give them control of the south. That would give Pentagon favorites, including Ahmad Chalabi, the head of the Iraqi National Congress, a huge advantage in the eventual leadership of the country. Ms. Rice to come into the White House press room on April 4 to describe what the new government would look like. “She had to set down the law for a lot of these guys,” one senior official said. No sooner had she done so, though, than Mr. Chalabi was flown to southern Iraq with a group of lightly armed supporters, to the surprise of American diplomats.
“Bush vetoes Syria war plan”:http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,937105,00.html. Let’s just hope that folks are listening. It’s pretty clear that there are those who want to go right at it. Amazing. In the past few weeks, the US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, ordered contingency plans for a war on Syria to be reviewed following the fall of Baghdad. Meanwhile, his undersecretary for policy, Doug Feith, and William Luti, the head of the Pentagon’s office of special plans, were asked to put together a briefing paper on the case for war against Syria, outlining its role in supplying weapons to Saddam Hussein, its links with Middle East terrorist groups and its allegedly advanced chemical weapons programme. Mr Feith and Mr Luti were both instrumental in persuading the White House to go to war in Iraq.

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