Diplomat: 'U.S. Had No Post-Conflict Plan'
Latest appraisal of Iraq debacle comes from an unlikely source: the magazine for mercenaries.
The latest piece of evidence that the Bush regime bungled post-invasion Iraq — and one of the first bits we've read from a high official that it likewise bungled Afghanistan's "reconstruction" — comes from the unlikeliest source: the trade journal for mercenaries like Blackwater.
Career diplomat Robert Pearson, the U.S. ambassador to Turkey during the Iraq invasion, treats the re-destruction of Iraq as a given — merely background for his article about how the mercenary industry can pitch in to help around the world.
Quite unintentionally, what Pearson says dovetails neatly with Charles Ferguson's response to preposterous pasha Jerry Bremer's op-ed about who didn't do what in the early stages of the Iraq disaster. (All you need see is Ferguson's journalistically groundbreaking video letter to the editor, "The Debacle of Disbanding the Iraqi Army - 9/14/07." )
If Bremer and the White House hadn't disbanded the Iraq Army, there wouldn't have been as much chaos, and "private security contractors" from companies like Blackwater wouldn't have invaded Iraq in such numbers. There are an estimated 129,000 private contractors of all types in Iraq, almost as many as the number of U.S. soldiers before the "surge" began last January.
Pearson matter-of-factly writes, on page 11 of the September/October issue of the super-jingoistic and wonderfully named Journal of International Peace Operations:
What a mess! In this magazine that features a full-page ad for Blackwater — the main U.S. mercenary company and the one now being driven out of Iraq — Pearson, an ally of Colin Powell's, notes that serious planning for post-invasion Iraq began in the fall of 2003.
Yes, that's six months after the U.S. invaded.
Even then, the White House refused to go along. Oh, at first, SecDef Don Rumsfeld did. But the regime refused to fund State's Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS, as it was known):
Wait. It gets worse. At least we had this S/CRS in place. But while Iraq and Afghanistan veered quickly into chaos, S/CRS had to fight to find some fighting elsewhere to fight. Pearson writes:
This episode also illustrates the struggle between Powell and Rumsfeld over the Bush-Cheney regime's "war on terror." It was a battle that Powell continually lost.
By the way, if you're interested in becoming a mercenary, especially now that Blackwater has been kicked out of Iraq and there's nobody left to guard Ambassador Ryan Crocker and U.S. officials have been forbidden to leave Baghdad's Green Zone, be sure to attend the "annual summit" of the International Peace Operations Association on October 28-30 in D.C.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.