2008 March 09 Sunday
Douglas Feith Blames Others For Iraq War Failures

Will Paul Wolfowitz also write a book blaming others for debacle of the Iraq war he did so much to promote?

Douglas J. Feith, in a massive score-settling work, portrays an intelligence community and a State Department that repeatedly undermined plans he developed as undersecretary of defense for policy and conspired to undercut President Bush's policies.

So it wasn't Feith's fault and if only more had shared his faith in the rightness of his vision then the Iraq invasion have turned out well. Does he really believe this?

Bush didn't care about weapons inspection results. He had already made up his mind about the invasion December 2002 (and probably much sooner than that).

Among the disclosures made by Feith in "War and Decision," scheduled for release next month by HarperCollins, is Bush's declaration, at a Dec. 18, 2002, National Security Council meeting, that "war is inevitable." The statement came weeks before U.N. weapons inspectors reported their initial findings on Iraq and months before Bush delivered an ultimatum to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Feith, who says he took notes at the meeting, registered it as a "momentous comment."

Look at it this way: We can't expect a high level of competence in government. Intelligence agencies will miss evidence that goes against what their masters want to hear. War planners do not know how to rule over foreign hostile cultures and religions. The lesson from Iraq is a traditional conservative lesson on the limits to the wise use of power.

Given that the Pentagon had the bulk of the assets going into Iraq and given that the military is responsible for battlefield intelligence Feith's attempts to shift the blame elsewhere are not credible.

Although he acknowledges "serious errors" in intelligence, policy and operational plans surrounding the invasion, Feith blames them on others outside the Pentagon and notes that "even the best planning" cannot avoid all problems in wartime. While he says the decision to invade was correct, he judges that the task of creating a viable and stable Iraqi government was poorly executed and remains "grimly incomplete."

Way back in 1996 Jewish neoconservatives with US citizenship intent on protecting Israel wrote a document for Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu calling for Israel to overthrow Saddam Hussein's regime. Among the signers of that document, A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, was Douglas Feith along with other future Bush Administration members Richard Perle, David Wurmser (who holds dual US and Swiss citizenship and advised Dick Cheney), and others. These guys have been promoting bad ideas for a long time.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 March 09 07:26 PM  Mideast Iraq Blame Game

daveg said at March 10, 2008 12:15 AM:

Neocons like Feith have killed the Republican Party. The Republican's just lost ex-speaker Denny Hastert's seat in a special election. This is a safe Republican seat. The Republicanss are going to be masacared this November.

These guys don't care. They are just going to walk away from the scene of the crime and try to glom on to some other candidate.

Feith's father was a founder of Betar, which morphed into the Likud party. He was not the right person to be in charge of intelligence gathering at the pentagon and the results speak for themselves.

[Or maybe he was just the right person, depending on your goal.]

He is a traitor. That is the bottom line.

black sea said at March 10, 2008 5:17 AM:

From Counterpunch:

"At the time, March of 1972, Feith was a Middle East analyst in the Near East and South Asian Affairs section of the National Security Council. . . . A total of nine NSC staff members were fired, including Feith, who'd only been with the NSC for a year. But Feith was fired because he'd been the object of an inquiry into whether he'd provided classified material to an official of the Israeli Embassy in Washington. The FBI had opened the inquiry."

From two articles in the NY Times, in 2004:

"The F.B.I. is investigating a Pentagon official on suspicion of passing secrets to Israel, government officials said Friday.

The espionage investigation has focused on an official who works in the office of Douglas Feith, the under secretary of defense for policy, officials who have been briefed about the investigation said. The F.B.I. has gathered evidence that the official passed classified policy documents to officials at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a major pro-Israeli lobbying group, which in turn provided the information to Israeli intelligence, the officials said."

"As recently as January 2004, a top Defense Department official misrepresented to Congress the view of American intelligence agencies about the relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda, according to a new report by a Senate Democrat.

The report said a classified document prepared by Douglas J. Feith, the under secretary of defense for policy, not only asserted that there were ties between the Baghdad government and the terrorist network, but also did not reflect accurately the intelligence agencies' assessment -- even while claiming that it did."

Twice investigated for involvement in the passing of classified intelligence to Israel. Found to have falsified and misrepresented intelligence findings in order to justify an invasion of Iraq.

With people like Feith - and Rumsfeld - running the show at DoD, it's no surprise that Iraq hasn't worked out quite as promised.

Wolf-Dog said at March 10, 2008 6:01 AM:

According to this article, the military spending (most of which will go to the industrial complex) will be between $1.7 to $2.7 trillion for the next 10 years:
Clearly, the lengthening of the war is in the interest of the military industrial complex, and the last time I checked, there were almost no Jews in the defense companies. Both the oil companies and the military industrial complex were the beneficiaries of this war, but if the West loses this war, then Israel can certainly be very useful as the scape-goat.

black sea said at March 10, 2008 6:44 AM:

Wolf Dog,

Feith lost his security clearance after being fired in 1972. He should never have been allowed to work with classified intelligence in the aftermath of that incident.

And for the record:

"Feith left Defense in mid-1986 to found the Feith & Zell law firm, based initially in Israel, whose clients included major military contractor Northrup Grumman."

The issue isn't whether or not Israel is, or should be, a scape-goat for this war. The invasion of Iraq was intiated by the US government, and that's where the responsibility lies. However, anybody who's been fired as a result of strong suspicions that he passed classifed information to a foreign government, or anybody else, for that matter, should be barred from any future work involving classifed information. It just that simple. There isn't anything like the same burden of proof as in a criminal case.

Don't try to turn this into an issue of anti-Semitism. I've spent considerable time and energy on other sites arguing against some of these "global-Jewish-conspiracy" types who float around in the blogosphere.

I'll close with the rather obvious observation that neither Bush, nor Cheny, nor Rumsfeld, nor Rice are Jews. That doesn't justify what they did, anymore than it justifies what Feith and Wolfowitz did.

Ned said at March 10, 2008 7:15 AM:

Modern American politics has come to resemble a game of giveaway checkers, in which each side attempts to lose men as quickly as possible. By rights, the Democrats ought to own the 2008 election - the country is going into a recession, the Iraq war is very unpopular, Bush is an idiot. Yet the best the Democrats can do is an unpopular ex-First Lady with a trainload of baggage and a lightweight Senator with a background in the racial preference industry. And then, of course, the Republicans pick McCain. Many of the Republican politicos I know think Hillary will go down in flames if she wins the nomination, and some even talk about retaking the House for the GOP, because the current Democratic Congress is even more unpopular than Bush, if that's even possible. Sheeesh! Can't these people get their acts together? Are we governed by idiots?

black sea said at March 10, 2008 7:20 AM:

"Can't these people get their acts together? Are we governed by idiots?"

No . . . . yes.

Wolf-Dog said at March 10, 2008 8:51 AM:

In any case, to change the subject from whose fault it is, to what can be done, let's recall that the mentioned article says that the Iraq war will cost $12 billion per month ad infinitum. Thus with this money we could have constructed 5 nuclear reactors per month, meaning that within one year we could have constructed 60 reactors. It is worth noting that while the US has approximately 120 operational reactors, it would take no more than 100 additonal reactors to charge 300 million pure electric cars every day. Even if only coal fired plants were built in the future to charge these electric cars, the pollution from coal to charge electric cars would be less than 4 times the pollution from burning gasoline in cars.

Wolf-Dog said at March 10, 2008 1:08 PM:

My apologies: I made a typographical error when I wrote that if we charge electric cars with coal fired power plants would be less than the pollution from burning gasoline in cars. What I should have said was that the pollution from coal fired power plants to charge electric cars would be 1/4 the pollution from burning gasoline in cars.

Anon said at March 10, 2008 8:18 PM:


Electric cars are simply too dangerous to our "scare" water supplies. I'm not mocking you Wolf-Dog, I happen to agree that we should move to electrics and nuke power. But the above link will show you what you are up against. The environmental movement(commie, leftist anti-western assholes) doesn't want any progress of any kind.

Wolf-Dog said at March 11, 2008 12:09 AM:

The old nuclear plants need water to cool their systems, but the newer systems do not. Molten salt reactors, gas cooled reactors do not need it. Only pressurized water reactors need it, and the need for water can easily be alleviated by better designs. For the East Coast and California, more reactors can be built near the sea to use sea water to cool these.

Biomass can also be burned directly in power plants instead of coal. Some types of hybrid poplar trees grow an astounding 8 feet per year. Some genetically modified types of switchgrass would grow in deserts, and these can be burned in power plants to charge electric cars.

In any case, if you burn one gallon of gasoline in a power plant to generate electricity and then to use this electricity to charge an electric car battery, then you need only 1/4 of the gasoline,b because the internal combustion engines are very inefficient. The latter observation itself is enough to switch to pure electric cars, and this would reduce the annual trade deficit by $300 billion (the petroleum imports cost at least $400 billion per year.) The annual trade deficit is at least $700 billion.

Moreover, although Silicon Valley companies have less cash than oil companies, if the Silicon Valley companies and Wall Street gang up together, they might become powerful enough to sustain new trend towards electric cars.

daveg said at March 11, 2008 12:30 AM:

Don't try to turn this into an issue of anti-Semitism. I've spent considerable time and energy on other sites arguing against some of these "global-Jewish-conspiracy" types who float around in the blogosphere.

It is not a global Jewish Conspiracy. But, it very well could be called a US zionist likud conspiracy. That is, not all Jews are zionists, but those particular Jews were and used their position of power to manipulate US policy.

You are the one who was generalizing, not any of the other posts.

And as noted above, these particular jews had a track record of abuse, and should have been disqualified based on that alone.

black sea said at March 11, 2008 5:07 AM:

"You are the one who was generalizing, not any of the other posts."

It's not entirely clear, but I am guessing that this comment is directed at me.

"And as noted above, these particular jews had a track record of abuse, and should have been disqualified based on that alone."

Yeah . . . I'm the one that noted it.

A large part of the problem with the anti-Semitism response to criticism of Israel is that Israel is a nation. Like any other nation it puts its interests, or what it perceives to be its interests, first. Like any other nation, its actions should be subject to scrutiny and critique.

George Bush was raised an Episcopalian, and so was I. That doesn't inspire in me any impulse to defend the man's administrative actions. Similarly, the actions of the Israeli government officials are routinely criticized by various elements within the Israeli population, who are presumably not doing so out of anti-Semitic motives.

My point was that ANYONE with a security clearance believed to have passed on classified information to ANYONE not authorized to receive such information should NEVER work with classified information again. There is a significant amount of evidence that Douglas Feith saw his role in government to be at least in part advancing the interests of Israel. He may have believed that these interests were identical with those of the US; that I don't know. But in matters such as this, there isn't much need to speculate as to motives when the guy's track record (having been previously fired after an inquiry into whether he passed on classified information) is enough in itself to bar him from future employment in any area that involves classified information.

green mamba said at March 11, 2008 10:12 AM:

I don't see why the idea that the Iraq War was poorly planned is so preposterous. Maybe there was a way to depose Saddam, establish order and get out of there with a minimum of bloodshed and we just didn't do it. Certainly many Iraqis were optimistic after Saddam's fall and feel we have let them down since then, although I think most of the problems came from within their own society.

daveg said at March 11, 2008 1:22 PM:

But in matters such as this, there isn't much need to speculate as to motives when the guy's track record (having been previously fired after an inquiry into whether he passed on classified information) is enough in itself to bar him from future employment in any area that involves classified information.

No, this goes too far. Motivation matters. Try to solve a crime without taking motivation into account. It becomes an order of magnitude more difficult.

What you can't say is that "Jews are more likely to be traitors to Israel". That is too general, clearly.

But someone who is Jewish with active and historical ties to the far right in Israel is not just your run of the mill Jewish person from Brooklyn. You should be able to take into account someones nationality and current and past activities along when assigning to high level intelligence positions.

I would do the same for a Chinese national with faily ties to the communist party to become head of intelligence gathering for Tiawan, for example.

You can't just put you blinders on with regard to these matters, but you must also no prejudge solely on religion or nationality, obviously.

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