March 31, 2003

"As the ground campaign against Saddam Hussein faltered last week, with attenuated supply lines and a lack of immediate reinforcements, there was anger in the Pentagon. Several senior war planners complained to me in interviews that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his inner circle of civilian advisers, who had been chiefly responsible for persuading President Bush to lead the country into war, had insisted on micromanaging the war’s operational details. Rumsfeld’s team took over crucial aspects of the day-to-day logistical planning—traditionally, an area in which the uniformed military excels—and Rumsfeld repeatedly overruled the senior Pentagon planners on the Joint Staff, the operating arm of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “He thought he knew better,” one senior planner said. “He was the decision-maker at every turn.”
............

"Scott Ritter, the former marine and United Nations weapons inspector, who has warned for months that the American “shock and awe” strategy would not work, noted that much of the bombing has had little effect or has been counterproductive. For example, the bombing of Saddam’s palaces has freed up a brigade of special guards who had been assigned to protect them, and who have now been sent home to await further deployment. “Every one of their homes—and they are scattered throughout Baghdad—is stacked with ammunition and supplies,” Ritter told me.

“This is tragic,” one senior planner said bitterly. “American lives are being lost.” The former intelligence official told me, “They all said, ‘We can do it with air power.’ They believed their own propaganda.” The high-ranking former general described Rumsfeld’s approach to the Joint Staff war planning as “McNamara-like intimidation by intervention of a small cell”—a reference to Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara and his aides, who were known for their challenges to the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Vietnam War. The former high-ranking general compared the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Stepford wives. “They’ve abrogated their responsibility.”

-- from seymour hersh's piece in the April 7,2003 issue of the New Yorker titled "Offense and Defense: The Battle Between Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon."

Kudos for Hersh for continuing to provide details and insight on the expanding gulf between the administrations propaganda and real facts, and to editor David Remnick for not killing the stories, and not firing journalists for speaking their minds.

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