Farewell, Doug Feith

By Geraldine Sealey

Published January 27, 2005 2:49PM (EST)

Donald Rumsfeld may be staying put for now at the Pentagon, but another architect of the Iraq war has announced he's leaving. Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith told his boss Rumsfeld he wanted to return to the private sector and spend more time with his family. Rumsfeld's reaction: "Doug Feith has contributed to the security of the country. He is creative, well organized, and energetic, and he has earned the respect of civilian and military leaders across the government. Regrettably, he has decided to depart, and he will be missed."

The DoD Web site lists the following Feith accomplishments: defense policy advice in the global war on terror; development of a new U.S. global defense posture; global peace operations; policy guidance to the 21st century defense strategy; Defense Department aspects of the Moscow Treaty on strategic offensive nuclear weapons and the 2002 Nuclear Posture Review; and Defense Department work on the enlargement and reform of NATO.

We remember other things about Feith's tenure at the Pentagon. A few Feith flashbacks:

  • From Carl Levin's report on Feith's faulty intelligence assessments: "This report (.pdf file) shows that in the case of Iraq's relationship with al Qaeda, intelligence was exaggerated to support Administration policy aims primarily by the Feith policy office, which was determined to find a strong connection between Iraq and al Qaeda, rather than by the [intelligence community], which was consistently dubious of such a connection. In order to present a public case that heightened the sense of threat from Iraq, Administration officials reflected more closely the analysis of Under Secretary Feith's policy office rather than the more cautious analysis of the [intelligence community]."

  • Not one, not two, but three government investigations into the goings on at Feith's office. Borrowing from a Progress Report summary: The FBI probe involves charges that a Pentagon Iran analyst, Larry Franklin, passed secret government documents concerning the administration's Iran policy to an Israeli lobbying group, AIPAC. The Senate Select Intelligence Committee is looking into "back channel" meetings between officials from Feith's office and the former Iran contra arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar and other Iranian exiles, dissidents and government officials. And the House Judiciary committee probe also focuses on the Ghorbanifar/Iran back channel meetings, with the key players attempting to destabilize the government of Syria.

  • Remember the propaganda office? (Sorry, the "Office of Strategic Influence.") That was Feith's baby, and he was forced to shut it down.

  • And who can forget Tommy Franks' observation of Mr. Feith? According to Bob Woodward, Franks called Feith "the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth." Rummy would disagree.

  • Geraldine Sealey

    Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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