Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Iraq VI: The Facts Finally Catch Up to the Story

One of the more arcane aspects of the war in Iraq has been the gap between something that is known to be true and the information proving that so.
A prime example is the selective use of intelligence to fit the Bush administration's rationale for invading Iraq. It took months before the first articles appeared providing the factual underpinnings for that reality.
Now comes "Imperial Life in the Emerald City," a new book by Washington Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran confirming that Republican Party ties were more important than know-how when a team was put together to rebuild Iraq in the early days of the occupation.

An excerpt:
"To pass muster with [James] O'Beirne, a political appointee who screens prospective political appointees for Defense Department posts, applicants didn't need to be experts in the Middle East or in post-conflict reconstruction. What seemed most important was loyalty to the Bush administration.

"O'Beirne's staff posed blunt questions to some candidates about domestic politics: Did you vote for George W. Bush in 2000? Do you support the way the president is fighting the war on terror? Two people who sought jobs with the U.S. occupation authority said they were even asked their views on Roe v. Wade.

" . . .Many of the basic tasks Americans struggle to accomplish today in Iraq — training the army, vetting the police, increasing electricity generation — could have been performed far more effectively in 2003 by the CPA.

"But many CPA staff members were more interested in other things: in instituting a flat tax, in selling off government assets, in ending food rations and otherwise fashioning a new nation that looked a lot like the United States. Many of them spent their days cloistered in the Green Zone, a walled-off enclave in central Baghdad with towering palms, posh villas, well-stocked bars and resort-size swimming pools."
More here.

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