Disaster planning just isn't in the GOP playbook:
Some Republican strategists are increasingly upset with what they consider the overconfidence of President Bush and his senior advisers about the midterm elections November 7-a concern aggravated by the president's news conference this week.
"They aren't even planning for if they lose," says a GOP insider who informally counsels the West Wing. If Democrats win control of the House, as many analysts expect, Republicans predict that Bush's final two years in office will be marked by multiple congressional investigations and gridlock.
Hmmm. Sounds familiar. I've been reading Imperial Life in the Emerald City, a fascinating book when it doesn't make you want to put your head through a wall:
President George W. Bush gave the order to begin planning for the invasion of Iraq just a few months after the September 11, 2001 attacks. But the Pentagon's planning for what to do after the war did not commence until the following fall. It was a task delegated to Douglas J. Feith, the undersecretary of defense for policy, who headed a secretive cell called the Office of Special Plans, which mined intelligence reports for data to make the case that Sadaam possessed weapons of mass destruction and was in cahoots with al-Quaeda.
Tommy Franks' reference to Feith as "the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth" was not without merit:
Feith's office conducted its postwar planning with utmost secrecy. There was little coordination with the State Department or the CIA, or even with post-conflict reconstruction experts within the Pentagon, and there was an aversion to dwelling on worst-case scenarios that might diminish support for the invasion. Feith's team viewed the mission as a war of liberation that would require only modest postwar assistance. They assumed the Iraquis would quickly undertake responsibility for running their country and rebuilding their infrastructure.
On January 17, 2003, two months before the war began, Feith called Jay Garner, a retired lieutenant general, and asked him to take charge of postwar Iraq. It wouldn't be for long, Feith said, perhaps for just ninety days after the war. By then, Feith predicted, an Iraqi government would be formed and an American ambassador would be dispatched to Baghdad.
It's like watching a train wreck. It's awful but you just can't turn your head. This is my favorite part, the purest example of Bushian logic and management strategy I've ever come across, whereby Feith never allows Garner to see any of the plans he produced. Garner only discovered them by accident after he arrived in Baghdad, when one of his deputies — Ronald Adams — returned to Washington because of a lung infection:
An incredulous Adams called Garner and said "Hey, you know there's a whole damn planning section on postwar Iraq here?"
"No way," Garner replied. "Did they just put it together?"
"I think it's been here for a long time," Adams said.
"What are they doing?"
"I have no idea. They won't let me see the stuff."
What Garner also did not see, but which would have been far more useful, was any of the reams of postwar plans and memoranda produced by the State Department, or any of the analyses generated by the CIA, or even the unclassified report written by the military's own National Defense University based on a two-day workshop involving more than seventy scholars and experts. Garner asked Feith for copies of planning documents that had been drawn up in the Pentagon and elsewhere in the U.S. government. Garner said Feith told him that nothing useful existed and that he should develop his own plans. Feith's hope, as articulated to others in the Pentagon, was that without a clear blueprint for political transition, Garner would turn to Chalabi and his band of exiles. Feith would get the outcome he wanted without provoking a fight ahead of time with State and the CIA, both of which regarded Chalabi as a fraud.
What we dirty hippies who stood in blanket opposition to the war understood, which John Dickerson and the "we were right to be wrong about Iraq" crowd did not, was that this band of inveterate fuck-ups would botch absolutely anything they undertook. They did.
I'm still waiting for those who have proven, time and again, that they are too stupid to take the pulse of the obvious to be swept off the national stage. Unfortunately for both us and 655,000 Iraqis, it hasn't happened yet.