Friday, May 02, 2008

Douglas Feith's War and Decision: Life in a Neocon's Parallel Universe
by Michael Scheuer

Douglas J. Feith's new book War and Decision. Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terrorism is an old-fashioned morality tale written by a man with little discernible moral sense or any real concern for the truth. In a nutshell, Feith's story resembles a 1930s cowboy movie. In the white hats are Feith, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and such of their retainers as Zalmay Khalilzad, John Bolton, Victor Davis Hanson, and R. James Woolsey. Here, according to Feith, is a team that exists only to support the president by considering all issues from every angle and which refuses to gain political advantage by leaking to the media. In the black hats are all those who are blind to the pure motives and sage brilliance of what Feith calls "Rumsfeld's team." The hats of the State Department and the CIA in this movie are particularly black because officials from both undermined the president and betrayed their country by disagreeing with Rumsfeld's team.

Feith's horse-opera-like script will be familiar to all who read this book, and it should have had a happy ending except for the fact that Feith, like all neoconservatives, lives in a parallel universe where he defines reality and only his ideas are valid, pure, and good for America. As a result, and despite 528 pages of text, Feith unwittingly explains how he and Rumsfeld's team brought America unmitigated disasters in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also shows how delusional the Bush administration is in its day-to-day modus operandi; to paraphrase a Celtic warrior's words about the Romans, the Bush administration creates catastrophes for America and calls them successes.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in Feith's Hitlerian big lie about the total success the Bush administration achieved by putting Hamid Karzai in power in Afghanistan . It is obvious to all with an eye to see that Rumsfeld, Feith, Wolfowitz, George Tenet, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice knew nothing about Afghan history or its ethnic and tribal structure; ignored the lessons of the harrowing military disasters experienced in Afghanistan by Alexander, the British, and the Soviets; picked Karzai as leader, a man who represented no one but himself; sent an amateurishly small military force to fight al-Qaeda and the Taliban; and naively believed that winning the battle of the Afghan cities equaled winning the Afghan war. The current situation in Afghanistan makes it clear that a few more of what Feith described as total successes will defeat the United States.

Feith is quick to explain that the invasion of Iraq really had nothing to do with any of the issues the Bush administration hawked as the basis for war. Saddam's supposed WMD arsenal was not the cause and it was given too much weight by Secretary of State Powell . Also not reasons for war were Saddam's breaking of UN sanctions or the Bush administration's goal of creating a secular democracy in Iraq and spreading it across the Arab world. (NB: Feith takes President Bush to task for talking too much about democracy building. ) And, Feith reports, Saddam's purported connections with al-Qaeda were never highlighted in the administration's discussions and were a minor concern.

No, Feith says, the central reason America invaded Iraq was because of the "legitimate" fear that somehow, someday, sometime Saddam Hussein just might give a WMD to an unidentified terrorist group that might use it inside the United States...[Open in new window]


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