The case for civilian control over the military and the need for reform in the intelligence community.

View this article at The Weekly Standard

THE FOLLOWING are selected quotations (approximately two-thirds of the total) included by Seymour M. Hersh in his New Yorker article Offense and Defense (cover date April 7, 2003, posted on the New Yorker website March 31, 2003, ten days before the fall of Baghdad):

Rumsfeld’s Personal War:

“He [Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld] thought he knew better [than the senior Pentagon war planners on the Joint Staff.] He was the decision-maker at every turn.”
–“one senior planner”

“They’ve [military commanders in the theater have] got no resources. He [Rumsfeld] was so focussed on proving his point–that the Iraqis were going to fall apart.”
–“a former high-level intelligence official”

“Those guys are driving around in tanks that were pre-positioned. Their tanks are sitting in Fort Stewart. To get more forces there we have to float them. We can’t fly our forces in, because there’s nothing for them to drive. Over the past six months, you could have floated everything in ninety days–enough for four or more divisions. The is the mess Rumsfeld put himself in, because he didn’t want a heavy footprint on the ground.”
–“[t]he planner”

“‘You’ve got too much ground force–go back and do it again.'”
–“the planner,” quoting Rumsfeld

“[One of Rumsfeld’s two goals was] do the war on the cheap.”
–“the planner”

Rumsfeld, senior officials Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith “were so enamored of ‘shock and awe’ that victory seemed assured. They believed that the weather would always be clear, that the enemy would expose itself, and so precision bombings would always work.”
–“the planner”

The Senior Uniformed Leadership Today:

“In those conditions [created by Rumsfeld’s contempt for many flag officers]–an atmosphere of derision and challenge–the senior officers do not offer their best advice”
–“a high-ranking general who served for more than a year under Rumsfeld”

“He [Rumsfeld] was looking at the [Army] Chief [Gen. Eric Shinseki] and waving his hand, saying, ‘Are you getting this yet? Are you getting this yet?'”
–“a witness to a meeting”

“All the Joint Staff people now are hand-picked, and churn out products to make the Secretary of Defense happy. They don’t make military judgments–they just respond to his snowflakes [Pentagon nickname for memoranda from Rumsfeld]”
–“the planner”

“Rummy overruled him [Gen. Tommy Franks, on his argument to delay war until the 4th Division could deploy via a non-Turkish route].”
–“a former intelligence official”

Franks “will do what he’s asked.”
–“a former senator”

“Why didn’t he [Franks] go to the president [to object to Rumsfeld’s interventions]?”
–“a former intelligence official”

“When you go in to talk to him, you’ve got to be prepared to lay your stars on the table and walk out. Otherwise, he’ll walk over you.”
–“[a] Pentagon official [recalling the advice of] one senior general”

“And for him to blame it on the Joint Staff–It’s all about Rummy and the truth.”
–“a senior Pentagon official”

The Progress of the War and Its Future Course:

“It’s [the war is] a stalemate now. It’s going to remain one only if we can maintain our supply lines. The carriers are going to run out of JDAMS.”
–“the former intelligence official”

“The Marines are worried as hell. They’re all committed, with no reserves, and they’ve never run the LAVs [light armored vehicles] as long and as hard [as in Iraq]. . . . The only hope is to hold out until reinforcements come.”
–“the former intelligence official”

“All we have now is front-line positions. Everything else is missing.”
–“the former intelligence official”

“The only way out now is back, and to hope for some kind of a miracle–that the Republican Guards commit themselves.”
–“[t]he planner”

“Hope is not a course of action.”
–“a retired four-star general”

“The enemy we’re fighting is different from the one we war-gamed against”
–“the Army’s senior ground commander, Lieutenant General William S. Wallace,” who according to published corrections had in fact said, “The enemy we’re fighting is a bit different from the one we war-gamed against.”

“They’re [the Iraqis are] not scared. Ain’t it something? They’re not scared.”
–“[o]ne senior Administration official”

“Every one of their [Saddam’s special guards’] homes–and they are scattered throughout Baghdad–is stacked with ammunitions and supplies.”
–“Scott Ritter, the former Marine and United Nations weapons inspector, who has warned for months that the American ‘shock and awe’ strategy would not work.”

“This is tragic. American lives are being lost.”
–“one senior planner”

“They all said, ‘We can do it with airpower.’ They believed their own propaganda.”
–“[t]he former intelligence official”

“McNamara-like intimidation by intervention of a small cell”
–“[t]he high-ranking former general” on Rumsfeld’s interventions in Joint Chiefs war-planning

“They’ve [the Joint Chiefs have] abrogated their responsibility.”
–“[t]he former high-ranking general”

“Everybody wants to fight. The whole nation of Iraq is fighting to defend Iraq. Not Saddam. They’ve been given the high sign, and we are courting disaster. If we take fifty or sixty casualties a day and they die by the thousands, they’re still winning. It’s a jihad, and it’s a good thing to die. This is no longer a secular war.”
–“Robert Baer, a former C.I.A. Middle East operative”

“The Syrians are coordinating with the Turks to screw us in the north–to cause us problems. Syria and the Iranians agreed that they could not let an American occupation of Iraq stand.”
–“[a] former U.S. intelligence officer”