In ‘The New Yorker’ Seymour Hersh tells of the disagreements between the military and the Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. There is some of this in every war, and a lot of it is just each side protecting itself or as we put it in the vernacular, covering its ass. But it may be worse than usual this time. Or it may not.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment of last week was the failure of the Shiite factions in southern Iraq to support the American and British invasion. Various branches of the Al Dawa faction, which operate underground, have been carrying out acts of terrorism against the Iraqi regime since the nineteen-eighties. But Al Dawa has also been hostile to American interests. Some in American intelligence have implicated the group in the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, which cost the lives of two hundred and forty-one marines. Nevertheless, in the months before the war the Bush Administration courted Al Dawa by including it among the opposition groups that would control postwar Iraq.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend, the saying goes. At least, until a little more time passes and the enemy of my enemy becomes my worst enemy of all, as with those dear darling beloved pious freedom-loving god-fearing mujahaddin in Afghanistan a few years ago. ‘Courting’ Al Dawa sounds like a similar sort of arrangement. And it hasn’t worked after all. Maybe if the US had done a better job of hanging on to its friends it wouldn’t need to be ‘courting’ terrorist religious fanatics.
The Independent takes a look at Rumsfeld and the unfortunate arrogance of the US tone.
Mr Rumsfeld is not, therefore, the sole architect of America’s counter-productive posture of arrogance in this war. But his tenure at the Department of Defence does not help. He was openly contemptuous of the United Nations and has always asserted that the US can go it alone – without the British, at one recent stage.
Arrogance and contempt towards the UN, France, old Europe, and even the UK, and sucking up to terrorist groups. Possibly a somewhat flawed approach.