A question of competence

By Geraldine Sealey
October 18, 2004 11:38PM (UTC)
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It would seem that even those who support the president's decision to invade Iraq would have to, at some point, really start questioning his competence in executing the war and planning for its aftermath. On the front page of the Washington Post today is a story about Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez complaining to the Pentagon last winter that supplies for troops in Iraq were so low, the situation "threatened their ability to fight." This comes a couple weeks after Paul Bremer said a lack of adequate troop levels early on put the success of the mission in jeopardy. And it comes a day after Knight-Ridder's report showing that the U.S. invaded Iraq with no plan for securing or rebuilding the country. Although senior Army officials told the Washington Post that the supply shortages Sanchez was so alarmed about have mostly been addressed, the lack of unarmored vehicles was what compelled that Army reserve supply unit to refuse an order to drive along a dangerous route north of Baghdad.

And doesn't it sound like a swell idea for a Muslim peacekeeping force to help the U.N. organize elections in Iraq? Well, Bush didn't think so. Kofi Annan reportedly liked the idea, but Bush rejected it because the troops from Muslim and Arab countries would only work under U.N. command not U.S. command. Now Kofi Annan won't establish a new U.N. headquarters in Baghdad unless someone comes up with another peacekeeping force.

Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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