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August 26, 2007

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“Powell and Condi were incredulous. Powell called me and asked: ‘What happened?’ And I said, ‘You’re secretary of state and you’re asking me what happened!’ ”

How could Powell not resign over this?

And to think I once wondered if I might vote for him for President if he ran against a Democrat I didn't like.

Unity of command. In Iraq. Under an American.

Why on earth would they have thought that was a good thing????

Actually, let me speculate that the decision was not in fact made over lunch. That misperception comes from thinking Bush ran the administration instead of Cheney. I would guess that Powell/Rice/Khalilzad thought they were preparing to close on a sensible policy while all the while Cheney was implementing an authoritarian one.

What, and you would make a decision of that magnitude on an empty stomach?! /snark

But what was obviously, unequivocally, plainly a mistake was to make a decision of that magnitude over lunch, without any serious discussion. That's just insane.

I agree with Rilkefan: I doubt it happened that way. The plan to sell off all Iraqi industries except for oil appears to have been in hand well before invasion. The interim Iraqi government, on the other hand, appeared to have been set up when (and only when) it became clear that no major foreign companies would bid for Iraqi industries being sold off by the US occupation, since such sales would be very obviously illegal and the industries could (and likely would) be reclaimed without compensation by a licit Iraqi government. (The appointment of an interim Iraqi government didn't work because an appointed government, supported by a foreign occupation, wouldn't have had the right to sell off Iraqi industries, either.)

Certainly, though, the swift election of an independent Iraqi government was never something that the Cheney administration was going to support.

How many martinis did Bush have at that lunch?

Alluding to former Secretary of State Colin Powell and his successor, Condoleezza Rice, who was then national security adviser, Khalilzad continued: “Powell and Condi were incredulous. Powell called me and asked: ‘What happened?’ And I said, ‘You’re secretary of state and you’re asking me what happened!’"

Next time you hear "Oh, President Bush isn't a racist, look at Colin Powell & Condie Rice," remember how marginalized they've both been by the neo-con element of the administration, & ask yourself how much easier it might have been for all the good ol' boys to marginalize people w/ darker skin tones than their owm.

having Iraqis in charge would have made a huge difference.

Well, let's not go overboard. Khalilzad, Powell, etc. weren't talking about having Iraqis in charge. They were talking about creating an Iraqi facade, with the US still firmly in control behind the scenes. Iraqis have seen this before, and would likely have figured it out before too long.

OT, but it seems that Gen. Gonz will be http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/27/washington/27cnd-gonzales.html?hp>spending more time with his family.

OT, but it seems that Gen. Gonz will be spending more time with his family.

Now, if he could only spend some time in prison...

Chertoff to the rescue delaying action?

Here's a http://www.thenation.com/doc/20050214/lindorff>reminder.

I saw via my journal that Gonzales had resigned, or would be resigning.

Wow.

Here's a reminder.

Yep, don't recall if this came up at his DHS confirmation hearing (I think it did, briefly). He was definitely at the meetings when they discussed with CIA and others what techniques could be used.

Yglesias has his prediction in -- well, not a specific replacement, but the general storyline.

"Next time you hear "Oh, President Bush isn't a racist, look at Colin Powell & Condie Rice," remember how marginalized they've both been by the neo-con element of the administration"

Here's a perfect example of how much the word "neo-con" has been thrown around as an epithet in the last 5 years, voiding it of all meaning. The neocons, for the most part, were the ones who agreed with Khalilzad that there should be an immediate transition of power to an Iraqi government. First, Khalilzad is much closer to the neoconservatives than Bremer. But beyond that, despite your hatred for Rumsfeld and Cheney - and your opinion that "neo-con" works great as a derisive insult, neither of those men were, are or will be neoconservatives - unless you define neoconservatives as simply "anyone who supports a war."

The neocons for years have been pushing for increased manpower in the military after the cuts of the Clinton years, and an end to the silly idea that some great technology was going to be able to do what boots on the ground could do. That is the exact opposite of what Rumsfeld was trying to implement at the Pentagon. That is why people like John McCain and Bill Kristol were criticizing Rumsfeld early and often. Simply signing a PNAC letter does not a neocon make.

Cheney, likewise, is not a neoconservative, no matter how much you'd like to write him off as one. He is much more of a "national power" conservative. I have a feeling he's much less interested in the democracy project than the neoconservatives.

Finally, it was the neocons who were arguing against Bremer. But the interesting thing was that Powell really had no place to complain - fully half of the CPA senior staff - if not more - was current or former State Department. Seeing how effectively they've undermined administration policy throughout the Bush years, they should have certainly had no problem running Iraq how they saw fit - including implementing the much-vaunted Future of Iraq Project.

Michael Rubin - a paid in full neocon who worked on under Bremer at the CPA - had this to say:

"While first the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance and then its successor Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), reported to the Defense Department, the State Department retained effective control over the political operation. Of the first 18 senior advisers deployed to Baghdad, none were from the Defense Department; perhaps half were State Department bureau of Near Eastern affairs ambassadors or policy-planning staff members. It is true that the State Department did not initially deploy Warrick (although he has now been in Baghdad for a couple months). This had less to do with policy, and was rather due to a series of interactions with Iraqis which superiors deemed unprofessional. Regardless, the Future of Iraq program was larger than one person. There was no impediment to implementation of the State Department plan had the State Department chosen to do so. Policy is personnel."

http://www.nationalreview.com/rubin/rubin200405030836.asp

So congratulations M. Bouffant - you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.

Gonzo gone. Great!

Of course, fafblog has the definitive post on AG AG:

Alberto Gonzales versus a Baked Potato

I'll go with Rilkefan's version of events with one addition: after Cheney makes his decisions, he inserts them into Bush's mouth so that the President can swallow them for transport to his gut for processing in the tenderizing juices of piety, prep-school jocularity, and Texas swagger. After emerging from Bush's business end (you can tell when this is happening from the mysterious irritable smirk on the infant's face, plus the announcement of said movement with the words "I go with my gut, and if I'm not mistaken, Mommy, my gut is done deciding."

The product is then wrapped in a ribbon and and a fancy bow by the ring-wing noise machine and presented to the adoring 28% via FOX and the Wall Street Journal editorial page where it is enshrined like a reliquary from the baby Jesus.

John, I don't know how we survived without you.

The "ring-wing noise machine"? I knew we were right about the Eye of Cheney!

Well, let's try again.


I'll go with Rilkefan's version of blah, blah, blah ...... ......................
............ is done deciding"), the fragrant product is wrapped in a ribbon and a fancy bow by the right-wing noise machine and presented to and properly cooed over by the adoring 28% via FOX and the Wall Street Journal editorial page where it is enshrined like a reliquary from the baby Jesus.

Like Bush, I went with the discomfort in my colon instead of previewing first.

David Rivkin's on the Diane Rehm Show explaining how Gonzales's resignation shows that if you're a determined enough partisan you can get rid of anyone, even a "decent and honorable man". Fortunately Bruce Fein is on also, but I may need my Rivkin barf bag.

Hmm, maybe Rivkin is angling for the AG position himself. He does seem to enjoy blatant lying.

Does Gonzales recall resigning?

Who's Gonzales?

Hmm, David Rivkin seems to have morphed into Lee Casey now, and the text on the WAMU website has changed. Maybe Rivkin was scheduled but couldn't make it at the last moment and I was hallucinating Rivkin all along. I didn't realize Rivkin had such a competitor in hackishness.

They're buddies. Wherever there's an abuse of executive power, there's a Rivkin & Casey op-ed defending it.

I agree with Rilkefan as well. If you've seen the Frontline episodes "The Lost Year" and "The Dark Side," or read The Assassin's Gate, the choice of Bremer really came from Cheney and his crew. That said, I don't doubt that Bush made the actual decision in a typical snap judgment after Cheney whispered in his ear.

I have to disagree with much of Dan's assesment above. The same three pieces I mentioned explore how de-baathification was heavily pushed by Feith and Wolfowitz, some other neocons and Cheney. The neocons wanted to make Chalibi president, but Bush nixed that. It's fair to say that not every aspect of the invasion and occupation went exactly as the neocons wanted, but they and the larger Cheney "cabal" drove almost every bad decision made and had they had their way, many outcomes would have been even worse. The neocons attacked comprehensive post-war planning and the state department just as Rumsfeld and Cheney did - hell, Feith and Wolfowitz had a major hand in the poor post-war planning. Packer details how Rumsfeld rejected state's plans and Cheney blocked many of their appointments! Blaming the mess on state is obscene and revisionist. Hair-splitting can be useful, but the entire "cabal" is culpable, whether they think of themselves as neocons or not.

Powell advised Obama - wonder what they talked about. Apparently there are (seemingly random) rumors of an endorsement.

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