Democrats Target Pentagon Planning; Critics Who Decry the Lack of Planning for Postwar Reconstruction Allege That a Pentagon Planning Unit Is Some Kind of Rogue Intelligence Operation
Timmerman, Kenneth R., Insight on the News
Byline: Kenneth R. Timmerman, INSIGHT
The sordid tale now making the rounds in the "mainstream" press of a rogue Pentagon intelligence operation has all the elements of an urban legend: heavy breathing, a secret basement office "down by the ramp" and government officials who form a hidden alliance based on long-ago ties to an obscure but influential university guru. Only the work of a few good men with the courage to face up to this "cabal" and a few crusader-journalists to help them can make the demons scatter and scare the dark ones into the light. Or so the story goes on those increasingly febrile Democratic Party Websites.
All this silliness could become deadly serious if Senate Democrats get their way, led by Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, the vice chairman of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee (SSIC). For now, the controversy revolves around a suite of crammed cubicles on the fourth floor of the Pentagon that in September 2002 was renamed the Office of Special Plans (OSP). At that time the office consisted of only four persons. But it soon became apparent that the Pentagon needed to begin serious planning for the postwar reconstruction of Iraq in the event the president made the decision to go to war.
On orders from Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz the office was expanded to 16 persons, including two detailee Army judge-advocate-general officers lawyers whose job was to explore the legal framework for conducting potential war-crimes investigations of members of Saddam's regime.
"In hindsight, that may have been an unfortunate choice of name," an administration official tells Insight during an extensive interview on the operations of the OSP. "But we didn't want to have a 16-man Iraqi planning group set up at a time when the president was conducting negotiations at the U.N. because it would have undercut his diplomatic approach."
The OSP grew out of the Office of Northern Gulf Affairs, one of many regional bureaus that reports through the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs to the head of the Pentagon's policy shop, Undersecretary Doug Feith. "As we were gearing up for the Iraq campaign in September 2002, the deputy decided that we needed to expand the Northern Gulf directorate because of the tremendous workload. …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Democrats Target Pentagon Planning; Critics Who Decry the Lack of Planning for Postwar Reconstruction Allege That a Pentagon Planning Unit Is Some Kind of Rogue Intelligence Operation. Contributors: Timmerman, Kenneth R. - Author. Magazine title: Insight on the News. Publication date: December 8, 2003. Page number: 22. © 1999 News World Communications, Inc. COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.