Rumsfeld's scoring higher ratings than Dubya?! Hey, someone remind Stormin' Norman about Maj. General Smedley Butler, would you? Surely someone in the States can recall clue 1 about democracy.
Pentagon's favorites get a foot in the door [Asia Times] - " ... the US State Department, or even the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or the British government, which have all argued for months that any postwar Iraq leadership should emerge only as a result of consultation, optimally under United Nations auspices, among mainly internal forces, as well as exile groups.
The Pentagon, on the other hand, has long favored the installation as soon as possible of an Interim Iraqi Authority (IIA) led by the exiled Iraqi National Congress (INC) of Ahmed Chalabi, to give an Iraqi face to the occupation authorities.
... President George W Bush's National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice appeared to side with the State Department, declaring that both internal figures and exile parties should play a role in any IIA.
So it came as some surprise when, as Rice was speaking, the Pentagon flew some 500 INC activists - plus Chalabi himself - from the northern Iraqi safe haven where they had been cooling their heels into the southern US-occupied city of Nasiriyah ....
That this took place on the eve of Bush's Belfast meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair was regarded as particularly significant, since Blair had lined up solidly behind the State Department. "Bush agreed that we would not dream of parachuting people from outside Iraq to run Iraq," a senior Blair aide had told Newsweek two days before.
While senior Pentagon officials insisted that the move was not intended to give a leg up to Chalabi in the competition to succeed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, General Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described the contingent as "basically the core of the new Iraqi army once Iraq is free".
Their arrival, however, marked the successful culmination of a two-week-old campaign by neo-conservatives in and outside the administration to get the INC and Chalabi into Iraq before any other group, presumably to preempt any moves by the State Department or other opposition groups to claim the media spotlight.
It also marked the fact that, with 250,000 men on the ground, the Pentagon will be calling the shots in Iraq, even in defiance of other bureaucracies that, in contrast to the Defense Department, have real experts on Iraqi politics, history and culture who could prove helpful in carrying out an occupation.
"You can call this another aspect of [Deputy Defense Secretary Paul] Wolfowitz's preemption strategy," said one administration official. "You can call this a coup d'etat."