PBS’ Frontline special “Bush’s War” is a profound, inside look into the Iraq War.
I highly recommend watching this program online. It dissects the run-up to the war and its execution with the political infighting and hierarchy in the Bush Administration that turned the situation into a quagmire.
Some of the more interesting points were:
1. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld first raised the idea of invading Iraq on the eve of 9/11. “Bush’s War” showed how Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney had President Bush’s ear, while Secretary of State Colin Powell or National Security Advisor Condeleezza Rice were left on the outside.
2. The rivalry between Rumsfeld and CIA director George Tenet led to an uncoordinated effort at the start of the Afghanistan offensive. Cheney traveled to CIA headquarters to oversee the intelligence gathering before Iraq War. Rumsfeld sets up his own intelligence group inside the Defense Department, therefore ignoring the National Intelligence Estimate members.
3. John Yoo, in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Council, grants Bush wide-ranging war powers, without the consent of Powell or Rice, among many others.
4. Ahmed Chalabi, the head of the Iraqi National Congress, first raised the link between Al Qaeda and Iraq and, as the alias of Curveball, provided “intelligence” of Sadaam Hussien having transportable biological weapons.
5. The renegade practices of the administration. Placing the intelligence around the policy, which is opposite of the right process. Before Bush’s speech to the U.N., hastily placing a line about seeking U.N. resolutions.
6. After winning in Baghdad, the U.S. didn’t establish order and looting broke out. Iraq reconstruction became the task of the Defense Department, not the State Department.
7. The lack of leadership. Chalabi failed as the hand-picked president. Jay Garner, who helped the Kurds after the Gulf War, had a brief run as a leader with a humanitarian focus. (Garner criticizes Chalabi for working with the Iranians and Chalabi criticizes Garner for wanting to employ the Bathists.) The neocon L. Paul Bremer comes in and wants to shoot the looters to send a message. He finds out he doesn’t have the authority. Meanwhile, 30 miles off the coast of California, Bush speaks under the “Mission Accomplished” banner.
There are many, many more nuggets of vital information in this documentary.
Check it out: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/bushswar/
The complete fumbling of the Iraq War had a parallel in today’s news from Pakistan, where Al Qaeda fighting continues in tribal areas.
“Senior officials at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, told government auditors that they had received no strategic guidance from Washington on designing, carrying out, financing and monitoring a coordinated American strategy,” a Government Accountability Office study said in the New York Times.
History repeats itself.