Sunday, March 09, 2008

Ex-Defense Official Assails Colleagues Over Run-Up to War

By Thomas E. Ricks and Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, March 9, 2008; A01

In the first insider account of Pentagon decision-making on Iraq, one of the key architects of the war blasts former secretary of state Colin Powell, the CIA, retired Gen. Tommy R. Franks and former Iraq occupation chief L. Paul Bremer for mishandling the run-up to the invasion and the subsequent occupation of the country.

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.

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."...

Despite its bulk, the book does not address some of the basic facts of the war, such as the widespread skepticism inside the top of the U.S. military about invading Iraq, with some generals arguing that doing so would distract attention from the war against global terrorists. Nor does Feith touch on the assertion of his fellow war architect, then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz, that Iraq would be able to pay for its reconstruction with oil revenue....[Open in new window]


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