Skip to comments.Top U.S. Officials in Iraq Being Replaced (Garner leaving, replaced by Bremer)
Posted on 05/11/2003 12:21:26 AM PDT by FairOpinion
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top American officials in charge of running post-war Iraq are being relieved of their jobs in what U.S. officials said was part of a broad shake-up of U.S. operations in Iraq, the Washington Post reported on Sunday.
Retired U.S. Gen. Jay Garner, who has overseen the rebuilding of Iraq for the Bush administration over the last three weeks, will be departing with some of his top aides, possibly within a week or two, the Post reported.
Barbara Bodine, the American coordinator for central Iraq and the effective post-war mayor of Baghdad, will leave for Washington on Sunday to take a senior post at the State Department, the newspaper reported from Baghdad.
The moves come just a few days after President Bush named former State Department counterterrorism chief L. Paul Bremer as the top civil administrator in Iraq.
Bodine had been in charge of restoring public services and laying the foundations for a democratic government in Iraq, tasks critics say Washington has failed to tackle effectively.
While the departure of Garner and Bodine come amid concerns that U.S. efforts to restore order to Baghdad following the war have fallen short, some U.S. officials involved in rebuilding Iraq are now concerned the change in personnel could further slow operations in Iraq, the Post reported.
Iraqis say Garner's team has failed to fulfill promises to hand out emergency payments, restore basic services, dismantle criminal networks and involve Iraqis in planning for a new local government, the Post report said.
The newspaper also reported that the American military unit directing the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is dismantling its operations and will likely leave Iraq in June.
The 75th Exploitation Task Force has so far failed to find any of the suspected biological and chemical weapons that Bush used as a pretext to launch the war against Iraq.
The Post cited Army officials as saying many suspected weapons sites were looted and burned before U.S. troops could reach them.
I read earlier that there was a tug of war between Rumsfeld and Powell: Rumsfeld wanted Garner, and Powell backed Bremer. Could it be that Powell "won" and that's why they are changing an already implemented decision of having Garner in charge?
There is something behind the scenes that is going on here, which has nothing to do with how much they accomplished in 2 weeks. You don't fire someone that quickly.
I wonder what IS going on.
I also think it doesn't look good, when you recall the leaders you sent after a couple of weeks.
I just said:
"I read earlier that there was a tug of war between Rumsfeld and Powell: Rumsfeld wanted Garner, and Powell backed Bremer. Could it be that Powell "won" and that's why they are changing an already implemented decision of having Garner in charge?"
And afterwards I read the WP article, which has more detail than the Reuters article I posted. This is what the WP article says about this:
"The shortage of visible progress appears to have sparked consternation at the State Department, where officials argued that a civilian with diplomatic skills and foreign policy experience should coordinate reconstruction activities. The Defense Department chafed at that idea and insisted the program remain under military control. Ultimately, the State Department view won out at the White House on the grounds that having a civilian at the helm would inspire other nations to support the costly and complicated chore of transforming Iraq into a stable, democratic nation.
U.S. officials interviewed today said the U.S. presence in Iraq would likely become more assertive in coming weeks. The absence of strong leadership -- Iraqi or American -- is a subject of intense complaint among ordinary Iraqis, who are struggling with a lack of civil order after 35 years of authoritarian rule.
One senior American official in Baghdad said the U.S. team had been so concerned about being seen as an occupying power that officials were overly reluctant to exert their full authority."
I suggest reading the WP post article. Has much more detail.
One good thing about this, at least Barbara Bodine is being sent back as well.
Incompetent people get kicked upstairs:
The man who knew. Last night Frontline broadcast a 90-minute documentary about John O'Neill, the FBI counterterrorism expert who had already connected most of the dots leading to the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks last year. For six years he obsessed about bin Laden's network, tracing the line that led from the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, through the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, through the plans to stage a terrorist millenium explosion at LAX on the eve of 2000, through the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000, to the summer of 2001 when the intelligence world again became aware that something big and awful was in the works.
But the US government would not let O'Neill do his job. O'Neill was known throughout the FBI as the go-to guy on bin Laden, but he was not made aware of the Arizona flight school FBI memos or the custody of the alleged "20th hijacker" Zacharias Moussaoui. Barbara K. Bodine, US ambassador to Yemen, denied his visa to return to investigate the Cole bombing. Tom Pickard, at one point interim director for the FBI, did everything in his power to silence and frustrate O'Neill. The compartmentalized bureaucrats simply could not tolerate a maverick investigator whose only motivation was protecting the country from terrorism. He was forced out of the FBI in the late summer of 2001.
In the ultimate tragic irony, O'Neill was killed in the World Trade Center a week after taking a new job as head of security -- of the World Trade Center.
Frontline does a good job of covering all the angles, including such details as the relevance of two of the hijackers who flew into the Pentagon on Flight 77. Their names were on O'Neill's short list of potential threats.
From the article:
"One senior American official in Baghdad said the U.S. team had been so concerned about being seen as an occupying power that officials were overly reluctant to exert their full authority.
"We came in here hands-off," the official said. "There was a bit of ambivalence between being an authority and being authoritarian. We were so concerned about being authoritarian that we didn't exercise authority."
Also, I think Garner may have been of victim of Bondine's incompetence, who was foisted upon him. "She had been in charge of restoring vital public services and forming a democratic local government for the capital's 5 million residents -- a job that is incomplete." Most complaints were regarding this area.
Good ole Reuters never lets you down.
WP and Reuters? And Freepers buy it without checking a reliable source first? Dang.
It is time to
shoot expose the scheming messengers - first. When they point at someone, shine the light first at them. Baghdad Bob had nothing on the international mainstream newsmedia.
The Real Scandal of Iraqi Relief, so-called 'humanitarian' NGOs. Still no "thank you, USA!" from this bunch of left-wing Saddam-UN apologists.
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