This, from Powell’s former chief-of-staff, is worth reading. I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot more score-settling speeches like this as message discipline among former administration types breaks down irrevocably. Scroll down – the venomous stuff is mostly towards the bottom.
But the case that I saw for 4 plus years was a case that I have never seen in my studies of aberration, bastardizations, [UI], changes to the national security [UI] process. What I saw was a cabal between the Vice President of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the Secretary of Defense and [UI] on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made.
Read George Packer’s book The Assassin’s [Gate] if you haven’t already. George Packer, a New Yorker, reporter for The New Yorker, has got it right. I just finished it and I usually put marginalia in a book but, let me tell you, I had to get extra pages to write on. And I wish, I wish I had been able to help George Packer write that book. In some places I could have given him a hell of a lot more specifics than he’s got. But if you want to read how the Cheney Rumsfeld cabal flummoxed the process, read that book. And, of course, there are other names in there, Under Secretary of Defense Douglas [Feith], whom most of you probably know Tommy Frank said was stupidest blankety blank man in the world. He was. Let me testify to that. He was. Seldom in my life have I met a dumber man.
And yet, and yet, after the Secretary of State agrees to a $400 billion department, rather than a $30 billion department, having control, at least in the immediate post-war period in Iraq, this man is put in charge. Not only is he put in charge, he is given carte blanche to tell the State Department to go screw themselves in a closet somewhere. That’s not making excuses for the State Department. …
[UI] tell you how many contractors who did billion dollars or so business with the Defense Department that we have in 1988 and how many do we have now. And they’re always working together. If one of them is the lead on the satellite program, I hope there’s some Lockheed and Grumman and others here today [UI] if one of them’s a lead on satellites, the others are subs. And they’ve learned their lesson there in every state.
They’ve got every Congressman, every Senator, they got it covered. Now, it’s not to say that they aren’t smart businessmen. They are, and women. They are. But it’s something we should be looking at, something we should be looking at. So you’ve got this collegiality there between the Secretary of Defense and the Vice President. And then you’ve got a President who is not versed in international relations. And not too much interested in them either.