Can’t anybody stay on messsage these days?
The notoriously tight ship known as the USS Bushco is starting to take on water and the rats are getting pruney feet:
The former U.S. official who governed Iraq after the invasion said yesterday that the United States made two major mistakes: not deploying enough troops in Iraq and then not containing the violence and looting immediately after the ouster of Saddam Hussein.
Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, administrator for the U.S.-led occupation government until the handover of political power on June 28, said he still supports the decision to intervene in Iraq but said a lack of adequate forces hampered the occupation and efforts to end the looting early on.
“We paid a big price for not stopping it because it established an atmosphere of lawlessness,” he said yesterday in a speech at an insurance conference in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. “We never had enough troops on the ground.”
Bremer’s comments were striking because they echoed contentions of many administration critics, including Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry, who argue that the U.S. government failed to plan adequately to maintain security in Iraq after the invasion. Bremer has generally defended the U.S. approach in Iraq but in recent weeks has begun to criticize the administration for tactical and policy shortfalls.
In a Sept. 17 speech at DePauw University, Bremer said he had frequently raised the problem within the administration and “should have been even more insistent” when his advice was spurned because the situation in Iraq might be different today. “The single most important change â€” the one thing that would have improved the situation â€” would have been having more troops in Iraq at the beginning and throughout” the occupation, Bremer said, according to the Banner-Graphic in Greencastle, Ind. A Bremer aide said that his speeches were intended for private audiences and were supposed to have been off the record. Yesterday, however, excerpts of his remarks â€” given at the Greenbrier resort at an annual meeting sponsored by the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers â€” were distributed in a news release by the conference organizers.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Monday that he knew of no â€œstrong, hard evidenceâ€ linking Saddam Husseinâ€™s Iraq and al-Qaida, despite describing extensive contacts between the two before the invasion of Iraq.
During a question-and-answer session before the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Rumsfeld was asked to explain the connection between Saddam and Osama bin Ladenâ€™s al-Qaida network, which is blamed for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.
â€œI have seen the answer to that question migrate in the intelligence community over a period of a year in the most amazing way. Second, there are differences in the intelligence community as to what the relationship was,â€ Rumsfeld said. â€œTo my knowledge, I have not seen any strong, hard evidence that links the two.
â€œI just read an intelligence report recently about one person whoâ€™s connected to al-Qaida who was in and out of Iraq. And it is the most tortured description of why he might have had a relationship and why he might not have had a relationship. It may have been something that was not representative of a hard linkage.â€
Combine this with Condoleeza’s comments from the day before and I think we have the makings of a group ass-covering.
Looks like some people care what historians will have to say…