Sale on Negroponte Move

"Contrary to the bland stories in The New York Times and Washington Post of Friday, Negroponte did not go voluntarily to State from his job as director of intelligence. In fact, there was tremendous administration pressure to get him out of his current job. The chief cause of the quarrel involved Negroponte’s balking at at request from Vice President Cheney to increase domestic collection by the National Security Agency on U.S. citizens.

Negroponte flatly refused, Cheney bridled, and from then on the pressure built to get rid of him. (The White House did not return phone calls, but there is nothing new is that.)

The Bush people, chiefly Cheney and the president, were already annoyed by the fact that the Negroponte group has been busy producing drafts of reports that predict utter disaster in Iraq and which are utterly opposed to any increase of troops. Cheney and Bush both flared in wrath over this. Of course, intelligence is simply evaluated information. Its purpose is to help inform decisions by policymakers, as Pat as so often pointed out. But this this administration perceives objectivity as a inadequate commitment or as an absence of complete loyalty.

The new national director of intelligence Adm. "Mike" McMConnell, has my sources at NSA tearing their hair out. In the view of some very sharp analysts there he was "among the worst directors this agency ever had," in the words of one.

But the rift over increased domestic surveillance was the real reason Negroponte was forced out. I am frankly shocked by seasoned reporters at the NYT who would swallow statements such as Negroponte was never comfortable being a spy and therefore wanted to return to being a diplomat. That is like the Steeler’s coach saying he is resigning to spend more time with his family.

Rice, of course, has been looking for a deputy since last June when Zoellick resigned to go to Goldman Sachs. She first asked for Nick Burns, a very canny and experienced guy and that request was squashed by Cheney. Burns will resign, I’m told. She asked for Phil Zoellick who is her special advisor and that went nowhere. She finally negotiated with Bush first and then Cheney and got approval for Negroponte. She can use his expertise on the Middle East.

One further note.

Regarding Cheney’s recent trip to Saudi Arabia. Cheney went there to get the Wahabis to start ratcheting up actions against the Hizbullah in Lebanon and elsewhere in the region. Saudi relations with Syria have cooled dramatically since the Hariri murder. As senior CIA officials told me in 2001, Hariri was a Saudi agent for a long time. But one former CIA official told me that Saudi police the other day arrested a man because he put up Nasrallah’s picture up on his wall.  What CIA officials I talked to see is a major shift in the terrain — a growing region-wide alliance between the Sunnis  that will act as a counter to the growing power of the Shia thanks to the mindless U.S. backing of them Iraq.

My sources on this are excellent — 8.5s out of 10s.

Richard Sale"

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48 Responses to Sale on Negroponte Move

  1. semper fubar says:

    OK. Just let me know when these bastards go so far that we should impeach them, because I’m convinced that’s the only way we’re going to stop them. Too illegal for Negroponte? That’s a scary thought.

  2. Babak Makkinejad says:

    There was a region wide alliance against Iran and the Shia in 1980s. But the linchpin of that alliance is gone – Iraq.
    I cannot see how it could be successful. They no longer have Saddam Hussein to carry that load for them.
    I am not a specialist but I cannot see a credible Arab military component to this alliance – the Persian Gulf Arab states have no military that can be up to the task (if they had, there would always be a danger of a military coup) and Egypt is too far away.
    Here is my take on this: Arabs will fight Iran to the last American.

  3. zanzibar says:

    This is clearly getting way out of hand. Stepped up domestic surveillance?? Is the next step martial law, suspension of the constitution and arrest for dissent? It seems the Bandar-Israel-NeoCon nexus to thwart the Shia-Iran upswing that we created has some serious basis. The Decider blunders into making Iran & the Shia more powerful and then his “rasputin” is out getting those they screwed to up the ante into a major regional conflagration. These guys are nuts!!
    I really hope the American public will not allow such fascist ideas to become reality here at home. It seems that we need to place public pressure on Republican senators to support relieving the Decider and his “rasputin” of command. High time for a Gerald Ford moment.

  4. Stan henning says:

    I’m not sure these comments are completely relevant for this particular posting, but they sum up my views on this whole mess.
    Unfortunately, we acted too precipitately – disbanded the Iraqi military, encouraged “democracy” before the conditions were right, and may not now be able to repair the damage. Sending more troops to Iraq will not likely solve anything without a clear objective (and capability) that goes beyond providing a police force.
    As I noted earlier, the only way you can handle inter-tribal conflict is to declare martial law, disarm everyone, treat everyone equal and hope they will learn first to coexist, and ultimately to cooperate rather than kill each other. We have so far failed on every count. At this point, we essentially have a Sunni-heavy insurgency opposing a Shia-heavy government that cannot control a major, deadly, faction within its own ranks.
    For instance, what good are a few more American troops going to be if the al-Sadr faction is allowed to continue its depredations AND the government remains Shia-heavy?
    It looks like America is committing national suicide through slow self imposed strangulation, and draining its resources, both moral and material, on a bungled intervention that should never have been undertaken in the first place.
    I feel that the reason we have reached this state of affairs is none other than poor leadership, both civil (including Congress) and military, involving a combination of factors, including ignorance, dogmatism, and careerism, all of which also breed a host of harmful traits such as failure to question or speak up on issues; unwillingness/inability to listen to others, weigh the facts, and let the chips fall where they will rather than where someone wants them to; misplaced loyalties, and failure to adequately assess harmful interaction between senior staff and subordinates. All-in-all, I would say the U.S. civil-military establishment is highly qualified to be a collective poster child for Norman Dixon’s Psychology of Military Incompetence.

  5. Will says:

    John von Neumann,the brilliant physicist and mathematican, was the template for Dr. Strangelove.
    He was intimately involved with the industrial military complex. He preferred to hang out with admirals vs. genrals. He found they were more sociable and imbibed more.
    God Help Us.
    “Admiral” from the Arabic Emir ‘l mai via Spanish.

  6. lina says:

    The only part of Mr. Sale’s explanation that doesn’t quite compute for me is that Negroponte landed at another Bush administration post. If he had such a serious policy dispute with Cheney, wouldn’t he just leave the Bush cabal altogether? Was he promised one of those Medals of Freedom?

  7. arbogast says:

    Can Sale’s observations be more widely disseminated?
    Psychopaths like Bush and Cheney taunt society until they are punished. If Bush and Cheney are never punished, they will drag the country down to annihilation. Punishing them, however, will be extremely difficult, because they will be masters, and are masters, of dishonesty.
    Let me give you an example of annihilation. Apparently the centerpiece of the “surge” is deploying American troops throughout Baghdad. That is a recipe for having 20 or 30 troops killed in a single action…which of course will lead Bush and Cheney to shout that we must be loyal to our troops and send more.
    In other words, the surge and the tactics to go with it are designed with one purpose in mind: increase American casualities.
    2008 cannot come quickly enough. I would vote for any Democrat at this point.
    I thank all the other commenters and this excellent blog for truly superb commentary.

  8. robt willmann says:

    Well now, the claim that the request from Vice President Cheney to increase domestic collection by the National Security Agency on U.S. citizens made John Negroponte so queasy that he “refused” is a curious matter, indeed.
    Who was sitting behind Colin Powell when he gave his sad and disgraceful speech to the United Nations to push an aggressive war on Iraq? That picture is burned in our memories: CIA director George Tenet and U.N. Ambassador John Negroponte.
    Then Negroponte is made “ambassador” to Iraq. After which comes the appointment as the first Director of National Intelligence, under the law passed by Congress that weakens, rather than strengthens, the information gathering process and the security of it.
    And when Negroponte claimed a lack of knowledge of the torture, disappearances, and murders that occurred during his time in Latin America, I was reminded of what we say in Texas about the aftermath of a fight or shooting in a bar: everyone was in the bathroom when it happened and no one saw anything.
    Some unanswered questions arise from Mr. Sale’s post.
    1. The domestic intelligence collection by the NSA is to be increased from what type of surveillance of U.S. citizens to what new, wider scope?
    2. The “pressure built to get rid of” Negroponte from whom? Cheney only? He and his staff? Some foundation?
    3. If Negroponte “did not go voluntarily” to the State Department, and was “forced out” of his job as Nat’l. Intel Director, then why did he go to State? Why didn’t he resign on principle or make the White House fire him and then say he refuses to be involved in even more domestic spying on U.S. citizens in violation of the criminal provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the Constitution?
    4. Similarly, if Negroponte is so aghast at an increase in illegal domestic spying on U.S. citizens, why is he even agreeing to still be a part of the present Bush jr. administration? He doesn’t need the money from that government job.
    5. If Negroponte and the Nat’l. Intel office are producing drafts of reports describing the mess in Iraq and that an increase in troops will not help, what does Negroponte say about Iran and launching a military attack on it? Does Bush, Cheney, Rice, and others in and out of the government know whether Negroponte would “refuse” to be a part of a war with Iran?
    6. As Deputy Secretary of State, what role or responsibility will Negroponte have with the Iran Syria Policy and Operations Group (ISOG)? The Boston Globe has a story about that outfit, which obviously exists to gin up a war with Iran.
    ISOG was “modeled after the Iraq Policy and Operations Group, set up in 2004 to shepherd information and coordinate US action in Iraq”, the article says.
    No one who is not in lockstep with the gangster foreign policy of the present administration will have any job of even modest significance in the federal government. And certainly will not be appointed Deputy Secretary of State.
    The explanation that Negroponte’s “involuntary” move to be Deputy Secretary of State was based mainly on his refusal to go along with increased domestic spying does not make sense in light of his past behavior and the pattern and practice of the present administration.

  9. W. Patrick Lang says:

    You folks underestimate how difficult it is to get rid of a really senior person who does not wish to go.
    The risk is that he will go public, therefore, another job, medals, etc. pl

  10. Frank Durkee says:

    How does all of this relate to the report out of London reporting on purported Isreali preparation for an attack on Iranian facilities utilizing nuclear ‘bunker busters’. How do you all read the report and hwo does this all fit together?

  11. a517dogg says:

    robt willmann:
    The ISOG described in that article is nothing like the IPOG that I attended a few weeks ago. The IPOG is just a big meeting where lots of people get together and talk about what they and their agencies are doing, but where little is actually “coordinated.” IPOG is too big and has too many people to actually coordinate anything, its more just a way to keep people informed.
    If ISOG actually is based on IPOG then I would find it hard to believe that its actually ginning up a war, and is more likely just a PR campaign (which can be a prelude of course but won’t be successful due to the lack of trust in the administration) or a way of making sure that everybody in all the agencies is talking to each other.

  12. Chris Marlowe says:

    The failure of the Iraqi occupation can be traced directly to an order issued by Paul Bremer: the deBaathification order issued immediately after he was appointed to his position as the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in April 2003, after the abrupt dismissal of Jay Garner. Garner had proven effective in providing a safety zone for the Kurds in northern Iraq, but the feeling in Washington was that he was soft and had “gone native” since he had too much sympathy with the Iraqis.
    Bremer told Rumsfeld that the deBaathification order might have bad consequences since it would render unemployed virtually everyone in the Iraqi military. Rumsfeld indicated that he had no choice since the order came “right from the top”.
    I believe that the deBaathification order came directly from VP Cheney’s office, and was communicated verbally to Rumsfeld to pass onto Bremer. I cannot imagine President Bush paying attention to, or even understanding, the consequences of such an order.
    If the deBaathification order did indeed come from the VP’s office, then the American defeat in Iraq can be traced directly back to an order which came from Cheney’s office.
    This is an issue which deserves closer scrutiny.

  13. Greg says:

    Col. Lang,
    So I guess my question to you would be: is it that much easier to rid yourself of a troublesome military man like Gen. Shinseki than a senior diplomat like Negroponte? And if the answer is yes, then why?

  14. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Yes. Shinseki was institutional head of a profession that amounts to a vocation and his time had ended.
    Negroponte is a life-long public servant but thinks his time is not ended. pl

  15. W. Patrick Lang says:

    It is a major error to think that someone whose moral and ethical code is different from yours does not have real standards of behavior. pl

  16. zanzibar says:

    The writer at the Times (a Murdoch publication) has written about such an Israeli attack using bunker-busting tactical nukes many times before as Laura Rozen points out on her blog.

  17. Peter Principle says:

    “Of course, intelligence is simply evaluated information. Its purpose is to help inform decisions by policymakers, as Pat as so often pointed out. But this administration perceives objectivity as a inadequate commitment or as an absence of complete loyalty.”
    The bottom line is that this administration doesn’t BELIEVE in intelligence — as they demonstrate daily.
    Or, as the Falangists put it during the Spanish Civil War “Down with intelligence; long live death!”

  18. H.G. says:

    My thought was the same as Col. Lang’s: Bush/Cheney do not need Negroponte to go off the reservation right now, likewise Casey. Negroponte knows where the bodies are buried (literally?) and could make life very difficult if not handled carefully. They already have their hands full with ex-admins (Powell, Card, all those retired generals, etc.) who won’t keep their mouth shut and probably figure that except for true believers (and maybe not even then) they are better off not letting the rats leave this sinking ship.
    They successfully marginalized Powell in State, why would they not assume the same could be done with Negroponte? Heck, they may have even promised him Condi’s job.
    Speaking of – any bets on the Condi Rice deathwatch?

  19. The Oracle says:

    “…the Persian Gulf Arab states have no military that can be up to the task….” (Babak’s post).
    Well, actually they do have a military…the U.S. military.
    Over the past several years, Bush and Cheney have been quietly building up U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf Arab states. (This is similar to their shifting manpower and materials from Afghanistan to Kuwait in 2002 to prepare for their attack on Iraq).
    Bush and Cheney needed “staging areas” close to the Strait of Hormuz, in case hostilities broke out with Iran. But the Arab states involved wanted something in return for their cooperation…maybe in the form of an economic incentive package?
    Thus, a couple of years ago, the Bush administration (and the Republican Congress) quietly pushed for Free Trade Agreements with Dubai, Oman and other Arab states across the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz from Iran. (For example, remember the Dubai port deal?).
    In exchange, these Arab states agreed to an increased U.S. military presence on their soil…with much of this increased presence involving U.S. naval and air force personnel, along with the latest in U.S. military hardware. Stealth bombers in Oman (per one report last year), naval amphibious-hover landing craft in Dubai/UAE, naval mine-sweepers, etc etc..
    Now, we hear about another carrier group being deployed to the Persian Gulf.
    Democrats in Congress should demand an immediate accounting of where all our military personnel and equipment are in the Persian Gulf area. Plus, they should revisit these Free Trade Agreements to uncover what exactly the Bush administration promised to these Persian Gulf Arab states in exchange for their acting as “staging areas.”
    I believe the Democrats in Congress will really be surprised at all that Bush and Cheney have been secretly doing in preparation for a war with Iran…behind the back of Congress and the backs of U.S. citizens.
    Oh, and I find it interesting that two key positions in the Bush war administration, DNI and head of Centcom, are being filled by U.S. admirals. During my time in the military we had a term for suck-ups like these…brown nosers. Which, apparently, is all that Bush and Cheney are looking for in the way of appointees. People who will brown nose them, obey orders (no matter how illegal), drop nukes without question (CentCom) and expand illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens without a moment’s hesitation (DNI).
    Pray for the children of our great nation if this is allowed to continue.

  20. anna missed says:

    A most fascinating post and commentary. Not exactly the Negroponte the left has come to assume, but for sure, there is a never ending line of (lifer) military suiters willing to materalize a fantasy, and get paid for it, oddly enough, in the name of the republic.

  21. The Oracle says:

    Oh, BTW, and another synchronicity observation.
    The same week that BushCo announces Negroponte is being replaced by McConnell as director of national intelligence gave us Pat Robertson stating that God has revealed to him that there will be a deadly terrorist attack inside the United States later this year…several months before the 2008 campaign season kicks off.
    There’s, of course, probably no sinister connection between the two, unless Robertson received a White House memo (from God?) telling him to talk up an impending terrorist attack inside the U.S..
    Just sayin’.

  22. Gray says:

    “Negroponte flatly refused”
    This is noteworthy. John D. Negroponte, the right wing ‘man for all seasons’, a man who is not known to be crippled by any ethical scruples, refused to go further in turning the US into a police state. Well, in his carreer, he didn’t refuse to become involved in the secret funding of the Contras and in the coverup of the US support for death squads in Honduras.
    And pls note that Olli North publicly argued against the ‘surge’ on Fox news, too. If those men aren’t willing to support the course of the current administration anymore, this shows how extremist Bush and Cheney have become. They are to the right even of their most unscrupulous supporters.

  23. Gray says:

    Patrick, it is a major error, too, to think that someone has real standards of behavior when he never showed any moral and ethical code limiting him/her. Sociopaths aren’t a Hollywood invention, they are living among us.
    Negroponte showed that he still has some dignity left. Good for him. As for Bush and Cheney, we can’t be certain.

  24. stew says:

    An above comment favors disarming the people of Iraq. I disagree.
    I can make a very strong arguement for disarmanet. But not for the notion of stripping The People of their right to self defense. Especially in a place where such criminals roam heavily armed?
    With respect to the Negraponte shift? Something very dramatic surely must have occured behind closed doors? I mean really think about it, career guy who spent a life time in service, gets a call one day form the decider, and then replies yes, and a year down the road says , ya know? ya owe me deciderous one, hows about ya send me to the # 2 job over here cause hey, thats where Ive always wanted to be? Something doesnt fit? Unless of course the spy master seeks closer access under the cover of portfolio penetrating the UN? But these are the musings of a uninitiated unwashed observer, nothing more…course all this goes out the window if you are ready to accept the notion that somewhere in the byzantine make up of intel there is a veritable army of career intel officers who are highly disatisfied with the new order of US intel structure and arein revolt because of that reshuffle as some new guy was decided on over there strenuos objection (*Demi Moore-A Few Good Men)and the decider was strong armed into appointing a carrer spook?

  25. semper fubar says:

    My new theory, based on purely speculative dot-connecting:
    Negroponte moves over to State to take Condi’s job, who replaces the “ailing” Cheney. (h/t TPM)
    So, the question then remains, was Cheney pushed or did he jump? Consider the following news story today:
    “The US government has been involved in drawing up the law, a draft of which has been seen by The Independent on Sunday. It would give big oil companies such as BP, Shell and Exxon 30-year contracts to extract Iraqi crude and allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil interests in the country since the industry was nationalised in 1972.” (UK Independent)
    I predict a sudden improvement in Cheney’s health, followed by a nice fat executive job in the oil industry.
    Et voila! Cheney goes from Halliburton CEO to VPOTUS who engineers the private takeover of the Iraqi oil business, and back to oil industry CEO, all in 8 short years!
    No war for oil, my *ss.
    Meanwhile he dumps the huge political and military mess of his Iraqi Adventure into the oh-so-incapable hands of The Idiot Son and Condi.
    There must he a hanging offense in here somewhere.

  26. confusedponderer says:

    I doubt the decider allows himself to be strongarmed into anything. Rather, he feels too strongly about being the decider to allow that to happen. If the attempt is made, he’ll rather do the opposite, or anything else but giving in.

  27. ali says:

    “But one former CIA official told me that Saudi police the other day arrested a man because he put up Nasrallah’s picture up on his wall.”
    Now I’m sure you’ll find a large body of the Saudi religious right eager to lynch any “Rejectionist” within reach. More that a few have taken up the brave jihad in Iraq; slaughtering crowds of innocent Shi’a with truck bombs.
    In contrast last year we had Hezbollahs toe to toe scrap with the vaunted IDF. Here in response to their tinpot leaders criticism of Hezbollah the Sunni Arab Street rapidly demonstrated an alarming affection for their Shi’a cousins.
    The House Of Saud is a kleptocracy that depends entirely on austere Wahhabi clerics to maintain the legitimacy of its rule. We’ve just had them describing the Shi’a as “lower than Jews” as their masters cosy up to Tel Aviv in what is effectively an anti-Iranian alliance. Turning the Arab Street against their Shi’a cousins while supping with folk you’d previously branded a race enemy requires some agility.
    The Aardvark here:
    Looks at the significance of the execution of Saddam in this media battle. It is not inconceivable that the consequences of his badly filmed short drop may be compared to the tinder striking executions of John Brown and Padraig Pearse in future histories.

  28. Arun says:

    In today’s NYT, columnist Frank Rich says that Gen. Petraeus’s field manual on counterinsurgency endorses the formula of “20 counter insurgents per 1,000 residents”; and notes that by that measure, Baghdad alone would require more than 100,000 troops.
    Is this really the army formula, and if so, what is the purpose of sending 20K more troops to Baghdad? Most importantly, who is going to tell this to the President?

  29. Will says:

    anybody know any Italian?
    Negroponte= black bridge?
    I just feel silly mouthing a name that obviously has some pregnant meaning w/o knowing what it is. Kind of like that country Montenegro.

  30. Got A Watch says:

    It was all about the oil, it’s always about the oil:
    ” Blood and oil: How the West will profit from Iraq’s most precious commodity”
    This is lighting a big fire under a huge pile of dynamite in Iraq – wonder how the average Iraqi feels about their country being sold to Exxon/Chevron/Shell etc. without their knowledge or consent?
    “US General points the finger over ‘doomed’ troop policy in Iraq”
    Gen. Wesley Clark agrees with everyone here, too bad he’s retired.
    IMHO the USA is already well down the road towards a fascist-style police state, complete with detention camps, secret police etc. Recently Bush signed a Bill related to the Post Office, then announced he had taken it upon himself to authorise opening of American mail, in direct contradiction of the Bill he just signed. The Imperial Presidency in action again.
    The American college prof who says Bush is a worst-case “dry-drunk” is looking more credible by the day.”Katherine van Wormer, a professor of social work and addiction treatment
    at the University of Northern Iowa, has worked to make a case in several
    articles that President Bush is a “dry drunk” – an alcoholic who doesn’t
    drink but still exhibits the cognitive impairments associated with
    substance abuse. “Rigidity, poor impulse control, grandiosity, and
    all-or-nothing or black and white thinking are the classic
    characteristics,” she writes.”
    Sounds about right to me.
    How soon before other nations issue travel advisories not to visit third world police states like North Korea, Burma and America?

  31. stew says:

    I am still perplexed? This a.m. om the morning news magazines I see mr negraponte say “this is a job of a lifetime”. and Intel Czar was what? A historic reshuffle of the entire US intel community, sorry, something does not square here?

  32. John Howley says:

    Good point that others may have sincere, heartfelt standards even when those are different from one’s own. It is adolescent to assert that all who do not share my morals are therefore immoral.
    Note, for example, that a “double standard” is not the same as “no standard.” Every empire is based on the strict application of a double standard. Roman citizens have rights, others do not.
    The historical record suggests that the CIA has functioned on the premise that foreigners have no rights and may be killed and bribed as needed. The other side of this “double standard” is that American citizens actually have rights and must not be killed, bribed or spied on without due process of law.
    Perhaps this is Negroponte’s belief. It is entirely consistent with common definitions of patriotism.

  33. Got A Watch says:

    This analyst borrows your descriptive phrase, without acknowledgement, Col.!
    “Grand Strategy at Its Worst
    Stalingrad on the Tigris”
    Yet another article validating the positions taken here by most everyone. Either we are all on the right track, or we all are wrong and GWB/Cheney are correct and far smarter than we are. Place your bets now.
    Which brings me to another point: what does it say about a nation that allows itself to be led by the likes of Bush and Cheney? If the old saw “you get the government you deserve” is true, then America (and the world) are being punished for all past sins, all at once, during the Bush years.

  34. Maeme says:

    I am so terribly disappointed in the military leadership that is so caught up in their own well being and pensions that they forego the troops.
    What ever happened to character, honor and strength?
    Just watched Spider Marks now on CNN’s payroll repeating WH talking points.
    God, I have lost respect. And I am still wondering what happened to Batiste, who stepped down so that he could speak-out? Any insight?

  35. SusanUnPC says:

    “Over the past several years, Bush and Cheney have been quietly building up U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf Arab states. … Bush and Cheney needed ‘staging areas’ close to the Strait of Hormuz, in case hostilities broke out with Iran.”
    And the Horn of Africa? Is the chasing out of the extremist Jihadist fighters from Somalia also another preparatory move? (Let Kenya and the U.S. Navy capture and deal with them?)
    Also inject into the mix Bandar’s behind-the-scenes regular meetings with Cheney re Iran, etc., which were supposedly kept secret from then-ambassador Turki.

  36. Dick Durata says:

    I would think that additional domestic surveillance would be for blackmail and more extreme black ops.
    Cheney’s been twisting arms in Congress (plus the press and the federal bureaucracy) for the past six years and he needs some more juicy info to muscle up with. There’s a new crew in Congress now.
    Mr. Sale’s account lines up a lot more with what I’ve observed than any other narrative (including the Cheney in Arabia part). That it’s coming out now (if true) might mean that other people are getting really worried about Cheney’s next steps.

  37. taters says:

    Thank you Mr Sale, this is valuable information.
    Col. Lang,
    I certainly would have gone with the standard stories on this had you not provided it to us.

  38. John says:

    Stan — You really miss the reason of this war. The reason for this war is our fat *ss lazy citizens who are scared to death of their own shadow. They are afraid that a bunch of Arabs are going to fly over here on their magic carpets and take away the great things of American culture such as — Britney Spears, MacDonald hamburgers, college football and Nascar. Fear and being a bunch of cows is what caused this.
    It all makes me sick to my stomach to see what we have become.

  39. W. Patrick Lang says:

    If you are going to stay “on board,” then the emperor must be thanked for his gifts. pl

  40. Sgt.York says:

    For you Juan Cole fans… he seems to be enamored with Petrauus and impressed that Petreous authored THE manual on counterinsurgency which Juan apparently has not bother to read. If he had, he would have noted that Petreous espouses the clear-hold-build doctrine and cites Tal Afar as a shining example of a successful counterinsurgency strategy. By the way, it’s not a realistic strategy to surround Baghdad with an 8-foot earthen berm, flatten the city using artillery and air bombardment, and then ‘vet’ the refugees as they return to the rubble that was once a city.
    The Adults take Charge: The Reality Based Community Strikes Back in Iraq — The professionals take charge. Bush is bringing in Ryan Crocker, a distinguished career foreign service officer, as the new US ambassador to Iraq. And Gen. David Petraeus will replace Gen. Casey as top ground commander in Iraq…
    Petraeus is among the real experts on counter-insurgency, and did a fine job of making friends and mending fences when he was in charge of Mosul. Crocker has been ambassador to Kuwait, Syria, Lebanon and Pakistan, and knows the region intimately (as does Khalilzad).
    I wish these seasoned professionals well. They know what they are getting into, and it is an index of their courage and dedication that they are willing to risk their lives in an effort that the American public has largely written off as a costly failure. If the US in Iraq can possibly have a soft landing, these are the individuals who can pull it off.
    The NYT reports Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who teaches at West Point, as estimating that the US military should have a big presence in Iraq for 5 to 7 years, while partnering with and building up the Iraqi military… My problem with that is that they seem to think that the Tal Afar operation was a success, whereas it is a political disaster, and if they are planning another 5 to 7 years of that sort of thing, then we are doomed. At Tal Afar they used Kurdish and Shiite troops to assault Sunni Turkmen, emptied the city on the grounds that it was full of foreign fighters, killed people and made them refugees, and then only took 50 foreign fighters captive. The Sunni Turkmen, not to mention the Turks in Ankara, will never forgive us… But you can’t just empty out one Sunni city after another, bring in troops of other ethnicities to level neighborhoods, force people into tent cities in the desert or into relatives’ homes, and call that a counter-insurgency strategy.
    During the summer of 2005, the 3d Armored Calvary Regiment (3d ACR), assumed the lead for military efforts in and around Tal Afar. In the months that followed, the 3d ACR applied a clear-hold-build approach to reclaim Tal Afar from the insurgents… Iraqi security forces and U.S. Soldiers isolated the insurgents from external support by controlling nearby border areas and creating an eight-foot-high berm around the city. The berm’s purpose was to deny the enemy freedom of movement or safe haven in outlying communities. The berm prevented free movement of fighters and weapons and forced all traffic to go through security checkpoints that were manned by U.S. and Iraqi forces… The forces conducted house-to-house searches. When significant violent resistance led to battle, combat included the use of precision fires from artillery and aviation. Hundreds of insurgents were killed or captured during the encirclement and clearing of the city.
    In the wake of a savage US offensive on the city of Tal Afar, residents have begun returning home, only to find that their houses destroyed, no water available and that they must generate their own electricity if they want the luxury of power… returning residents have been shocked at the scale of destruction wreaked on the homes and shops in city by the US onslaught Most buildings in the city have been reduced to rubble… following the ferocious US bombing and shelling that lasted for days on end. Many families have been forced to live in tents pitched atop the mounds of rubble that once were their homes.
    Flocking back home after the end of the US-Iraqi onslaught, residents of the northern town of Tal Afar found their homes flattened to the ground and their hometown turned into a ghost city. US air strikes and bombardment have sent residents into panicky flight from the city, which is populated by a majority of Sunni Arabs and also Shiite Turkomans. Some left for the nearby city of Mosul or ended up in a refugee camp on the city’s peripheries where they face serious shortages of clean water, food and medicine.

  41. Will says:

    have solved the negroponte mystery. well not really, just his name part. from
    “A bridge was first constructed here in the twenty-first year of the Peloponnesian War (410 BC). The name Euripus was corrupted during the Middle Ages into Evripo and Egripo, and in this latter form transferred to the whole island. Later the Venetians, when they occupied the district, altered it to Negroponte, referring to the bridge which connected it with the mainland.
    Like most of the Greek islands, Euboea was originally known under other names, such as Macris and Doliche from its shape, and Ellopia and Abantis (Άβαντες) from the tribes inhabiting it. ”

  42. wisedup says:

    Is there no way of overturning a blanket presidential pardon? If there is no way then we have no republic.

  43. mike says:

    Colonel Lang:
    Any comments on this press release from Director Negroponte regarding intel reform under his watch??

  44. Will says:

    Sale is not just whistling Dixie. Original article is archived.
    “Negroponte Won’t Back Cheney on Torture
    Monday 07 November 2005
    Wasington – U.S. intelligence czar John Negroponte is declining to support Vice President Dick Cheney’s effort to exempt the CIA from law banning mistreatment of detainees.
    “It’s above my pay grade,” he told a secret briefing for Senators last month, Time Magazine reported Sunday, adding that Negroponte then “artfully dodged another question about whether the harsher interrogation tactics Cheney wants the agency to be free to use actually produce valuable intelligence.”
    Apparently the man was able to stand up to the King of Vice (Potus) a.k.a Pumphead

  45. John Shreffler says:

    Larisa Alexandrovna at Raw Story has a piece up which backs up Sale with the interesting notion that Negroponte was, beyond his unwillingness to expand warrantless domestic surveillance, equally fired because he wouldn’t give Cheney the NIE on Iran which would fit Cheney’s needs for a causus belli. Amazing. I had no idea Negroponte had it in him.

  46. Jane says:

    Rumor has it that there is some serious internal disorder happening over at the D.O.J. that could create major embarassment if exposed to the media.
    There’s alot more going on ‘behind closed doors’ than meets the ‘eye’. You might recall after Rumsfeld’s abrupt ‘resignation’ that Bush said he took a good ‘thumpin’.

  47. Bryan Hanna says:

    Are we, the people, so helpless? Stuck watching the calendar? (741 days left.)
    With Democratic oversight just beginning, Cheney wants to expand domestic surveillance as if no one would pay attention?
    Does he think he can rebuff Congress with a wave of his hand sneering “Executive Privilege” and get away with it?
    And the MSM is where?
    I guess I’ll keep watching Jon Stewart, at least I can laugh while I cry.
    I still believe my vote counts. Chin up and all that.

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