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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

David Frum makes a thing or two clear.

In a review of Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq, by New York Times correspondent Michael Gordon and retired Marine Corps Lieutenant General Bernard Trainor he writes

"Their story bears hard on Rumsfeld. But it daringly points a finger at a normally blame-proof figure: the general who actually planned and led the Iraq campaign: General Tommy Franks, head of U.S. Central Command during both the Afghan and Iraq wars."

What did Franks do wrong according to Frum. Frum notes he didn't plan an occupation, however Frum also makes it clear why he didn't -- the plan was to hand the keys over to Chalabi

"Rumsfeld's civilian deputies, Paul Wolfowitz and Doug Feith, welcomed this responsibility as an opportunity to put Iraqis in charge of their country's reconstruction. But there was only one organized group of Iraqis able to serve as a transitional, provisional government: Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress (INC)."

That's pretty clear.

Even more amazing than his (partial) defence of Rumsfeld is Frum's defence of Chalabi. He concedes that it was not Franks' idea to rely on Chalabi. He blames Franks because he "fully shared the fierce, almost unreasoning, hatred for the INC that pervaded the State Department and CIA" and, therefore, although, "Franks intended to hand over responsibility to a new Iraqi government ...,he himself had guaranteed that no such government was waiting to go."

Now I don't think that the duration of the planned occupation was Franks' call, that would be a bit hard to reconcile with civilian control of the military. Thus Frum's claim basically is that it all went wrong, because Franks did not give Chalabi the support he needed to make it work out fine. I see no other possible reading of his article.

Now Chalabi is even less popular in Iraq than Bush is in the USA. His party recently won 1 % of the vote and 0 seats in parliament. The idea that he could have saved a democratic crusade in a country that hates him is absurd. Given Chalabi's crimes, his lies, his corruption, his counterfeiting and his ties to Ira, the fact that Frum considers insufficient faith in Chalabi to have been the key flaw in Bush administration Iraq policy, makes it clear that Frum is insane.

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