Military intelligence strikes again!

The term military intelligence has long been considered an oxymoron (by everyone, excepting perhaps Tom Clancy and Dan Brown). Today’s press report from Guantanamo Bay proves this (I know, another Guantanamo story, but bear with me…). The problem is the rot goes all the way to the top. It isn’t rogue press officers or a “couple of bad apples” as a couple of idiots in the cabinet have said, it goes all the way up.
Three prisoners committed suicide by hanging themselves. The Base commander Navy Rear Admiral Harry Harris said: “They hung themselves with fabricated nooses made out of clothes and bed sheets. “I believe this was not an act of desperation but an act of asymmetric warfare against us”:http://www.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30000-13527917,00.html.
The USA, land of the free, home of the brave, beacon of liberty and human rights is already vilified on an ongoing basis throughout the rest of the world for opening and maintaining a camp that imprisons people without fair due process, without a any rights and without hope of ever leaving. Hmmm, really very American-values, isn’t it. But then when, in the midst of this, three of the inmates kill themselves, for whatever reason, a brain dead twit comes up with the brilliant stroke of genius of characterizing it as an “act of war”; let’s just say it’s going to take a couple of generations hard work to re-convince the world that we really believe in the American values we like to talk about so much. But it seems Harry Harris believes they’re only enemy combatants (allegedly— see next article!) , and after all, we’ve pissed off the whole world anyway, so let’s just have a bit of fun and rub salt into the wounds. Interestingly I had hoped to quote Admiral Harry, above, from Foxnews.com but his quote seemed a bit too embarrassingly indefensible even for them (Sky’s owned by Murdoch too so feel free to click. It won’t turn you into a raving liberal if you do).
The thing about this isn’t the quote itself but what it says about the chain of command and the culture of hegemonic unaccountability they’ve created. This statement would never have been released without clearance from DOD. This means Rumsfeld approved it, or, at best, was informed and didn’t choose to intervene in the announcement. This is the latest in a very thick volume of gaffes by the Defense Secretary and is really the last straw as, after the litany of incompetence demonstrated to date, it can’t be represented any other way than how DOD operates and thinks. Therefore Rumsfeld needs to be fired and needs to be fired now!
Don’t believe me? Let’s look at the ledger. In the plus column we have the taking of Baghdad by 21,000 troops. Impressive deployment of high-tech Army force projection run on information rather than brawn. Very nicely done. And, well, that’s it.
In the minus column we have no plan for after the fall of Saddam, no plan for how to secure the country’s assets, armaments and money and rebuild the country, no plan for dealing with the foreigners that came into the country itching for a fight, no plan for how to rotate troops quickly enough to avoid the combat stress that led directly to Abu Ghraib and Haditha; in short, Rumsfeld’s plan ran out after Baghdad fell and there’s been no plan since. As he quite rudely and ruthlessly elbowed the State Dep’t out of the way of being involved in the aftermath (after having made a fool of Colin Powell with the bullshit that passed, somehow, for “intelligence” on WMDs) he has to claim responsibility for the state of present day Iraq. He demanded the gig and was given it. Now it’s time to admit failure, take the blame and resign. Or, if he hasn’t the integrity to do so, to be fired.
For someone who believes in intelligent projection of force, the after-action policy and planning has been being done on the hoof, and this by a former Fortune 500 CEO! Astounding, but maybe sheds some needed light on the inner workings of the Bush Administration (particularly the military) and that oddly American version of the executive aristocracy (But that’s another issue. Sort of).
The other interesting question is: “Why hasn’t he been sacked already?” George W Bush got rid of Colin Powell, Paul O’Neill and Jon Snow with dispatch when they became tiresome or were perceived to have been incompetent. So why is Rumsfeld still there? One thread of analysis is that Dubya is feathering his bed for after he’s out o f the White House. Rumsfeld comes from a similar industrial background as W and his daddy thus loyalty given now may be paid back in spades with cushy directorships, IPO subscriptions, etc. To continue employing someone so blatantly bad at what he does, and is such poor value for (the eye-wateringly enormous sums of money!) what he’s cost it’s difficult to think of a more plausible reason. W your legacy is on the line and Rumsfeld is ruining it. Do the right thing and quickly. Today’s news only proves how bad the rot at DOD has become!