Sunday, May 07, 2006

[political-researchp] Bloglines - The Question Rumsfeld Can't Answer


The Question Rumsfeld Can't Answer

May 06, 2006
By Jay Elias

With all due respect to Ray McGovern, there is a question for Sec. Rumsfeld that has not yet been asked, which to my thinking is far more damning than the question of why Sec. Rumsfeld lied to the press and the public about his knowledge of the location of Saddam Hussein's supposed Weapons of Mass Destruction. To pose this question properly, we must look closely at the events leading up to the American invasion of Iraq.

In September 2002, CENTCOM commander Gen. Tommy Franks replaced Lt. Gen. Paul Mikolashek, Commander Third Army, with Lt. Gen. David McKiernan. Franks distrusted Mikolashek, and blamed him for the failures of Operation Anaconda, the largest battle in the war in Afghanistan. Franks respected McKiernan, and had sent McKiernan to Germany to meet with V Corps commander Scott Wallace, who had worked on the earliest versions of the Iraq invasion plan. Gen. McKiernan would be the field commander for all ground forces in the invasion of Iraq. At this point, planning for the invasion of Iraq had been going on at CENTCOM for ten months.

For his staff, McKiernan brought on Major Gen. James "Spider" Marks on as his Chief Intelligence Officer. Gen. Marks, in going over the intelligence on Iraq, was able to identify 946 sites for the WMSL, the Weapons of Mass Destruction Master Site List. It was clear to Marks that there was no way for the invasion force to seize control of all 946 sites, particularly in the early period of the attack.

Gen. Marks communicated this problem to Gen. McKiernan in November 2002. McKiernan and Marks requested guidance from CENTCOM, the DIA, and the Defense Department. They never received a clear response.

Gen. Marks: "It just seemed like this was something that should have been granularly ripped apart long before we rolled in. That's what was most amazing to me. The nation had been looking at and studying the WMD issue. It was the raison d'etre for war and nobody pored or labored over the details of the list where this stuff was supposed to be stored or developed. My routine question was who cares about this but us? Without prioritization from our many bosses, we just did it ourselves and never received any help doing it nor did we receive scrutiny or challenge with the priority we set." ~ Cobra II, Michael Gordon & Bernard Trainor, p. 81

In the end, Gen. Marks worked with his own analysts and created a list of 130 high priority sites, still more than the Army could secure in the early stages of the war. They set the priorities according to proximity; the first sites to be visited would be those along the invasion route to Baghdad.

How did Sec. Rumsfeld, the civilian authority in charge of military planning, allow this situation? There are only two possible answers: either Sec. Rumsfeld knew there were no WMD in Iraq (an unlikely possibility, due to the revelations of the classifed study Iraqi Perspectives, but still one to be considered), in which case Sec. Rumsfeld did not merely lie to the American people but lied to Congress, which is a Federal crime. The other possibility is that Sec. Rumsfeld, in a situation where the fear of WMD falling into the hands of a third party was leading the United States to war, knowingly encouraged and advocated an operation plan where there was no possibility of the US military to secure those weapons, and when asked, offered no guidance to the military of how they could mitigate that problem.

My fellow Americans, members of the House and Senate Armed Services committees, this question has no good answer. But it demands one.

Jay Elias,


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