Similarly there has been a lot of baying for the blood of Don Rumsfeld in the military press this morning. They are coming to the realization that he is “not the best Secretary of Defence there has ever been”.
But is this really what should be happening?
There was a quiet, somewhat brief, mention in the local news that the National Security Archive had released a paper on “war games” involving an invasion of Iraq. As in “declassified”?
Well, Alice would have loved this one as “curiouser and curiouser” it truly is.
The first reference took me to GWU’s National Security archive. Well, I guess that has some logic to it. The link at the end of their release however was a “404”. Hmm, curious?
Google again… this time for National Security Archive.
Ah Ha!! And there is a piccyture of the said report!! A line banged through the middle of the word "Secret" yet!!
Yep, sho’nuf, there it is again, right there!! Along with these two darling little quotes…
"There was consensus that the United States would not intervene without coalition support except under the most dire circumstances such as WMD use or catastrophic humanitarian disaster."
- Desert Crossing After Action Report, 1999.
"When it looked like we were going in, I called back down to CENTCOM and said, 'You need to dust off Desert Crossing.' They said, 'What's that? Never heard of it.'"
- General Anthony Zinni (ret.), 2004.
That also contained the main substance of the news report that I had heard. But I don’t think that we are quite there yet. One more link and BINGO!!
The Executive Summary on its own makes for interesting reading.
So, why is this “curious”?
Well for a starter, the report date – 1999 – and the declassification date – 2004.
The report dates from Clinton’s Presidency. I suspect that it should have been the foundation stone for any reticence that there may have been at that time for solving the Iraq question by invasion.
That of itself adds a “curiouser yet” when we recall the blame and imprecations heaped upon Clinton for not having taken action. Here is a very primary defence – the National Security Agency were recommending against invasion without some very careful and thorough appraisals of the risks involved. But, never once has it been mentioned... until now.
The second is that the report – see my little quote above – was so “secret” that even CENTCOM knew nothing of it in 2003. Curiouser yet is the fact that only some 12 months later it was declassified. How important and secret is that? So curiouser yet – the highest levels of the US Army knew nothing of it? Even after General Zinni’s phone call to his mates in CENTCOM, it seems that there was very little done with the report prior to the invasion. After all virtually every recommendation in that report was ignored.
Despite all that, the US blogiverse seems happy with the Perle (sorry) that has been cast before them. They are happy to bay at the smiling Rumsfeld or, like the Queen of Hearts, shout "Off with 'is head!!" at every turn.
Sadly, it seems there may be many more heads to fall.
Curiouser and curiouser… not least of which is "Is it a fake?"