Richard Moore

Date: Fri, 9 Jun 2006 05:02:25 -0400
From: Greg Palast <•••@••.•••>

by Greg Palast

They got him -- the big, bad, beheading berserker 
in Iraq.  But, something's gone unreported in all 
the glee over getting Zarqawi Š who invited him 
into Iraq in the first place?

If you prefer your fairy tales unsoiled by facts, 
read no further.  If you want the uncomfortable 
truth, begin with this:  A phone call to Baghdad 
to Saddam's Palace on the night of April 21, 
2003.  It was Secretary of Defense Donald 
Rumsfeld on a secure line from Washington to 
General Jay Garner.

The General had arrives in Baghdad just hours 
before to take charge of the newly occupied 
nation.  The message from Rumsfeld was not a 
heartwarming welcome.  Rummy told Garner, Don't 
unpack, Jack -- you're fired.

What had Garner done?  The many-starred general 
had been sent by the President himself to take 
charge of a deeply dangerous mission. Iraq was 
tense but relatively peaceful.  Garner's job was 
to keep the peace and bring democracy.

Unfortunately for the general, he took the 
President at his word.   But the general was 
wrong.  "Peace" and "Democracy" were the slogans.

"My preference," Garner told me in his 
understated manner, "was to put the Iraqis in 
charge as soon as we can and do it in some form 
of elections."

But elections were not in The Plan.

The Plan was a 101-page document to guide the 
long-term future of the land we'd just conquered. 
There was nothing in it about democracy or 
elections or safety.  There was, rather, a 
detailed schedule for selling off "all [Iraq's] 
state assets" -- and Iraq, that's just about 
everything -- "especially," said The Plan, "the 
oil and supporting industries."  Especially the 

There was more than oil to sell off.  The Plan 
included the sale of Iraq's banks, and weirdly, 
changing it's copyright laws and other odd items 
that made the plan look less like a program for 
Iraq to get on its feet than a program for 
corporate looting of the nation's assets.  (And 
indeed, we discovered at BBC, behind many of the 
odder elements -- copyright and tax code changes 
-- was the hand of lobbyist Jack Abramoff's 
associate Grover Norquist.)

But Garner didn't think much of The Plan, he told 
me when we met a year later in Washington.  He 
had other things on his mind.  "You prevent 
epidemics, you start the food distribution 
program to prevent famine."

Seizing title and ownership of Iraq's oil fields 
was not on Garner's must-do list.  He let that be 
known to Washington.  "I don't think [Iraqis] 
need to go by the U.S. plan, I think that what we 
need to do is set an Iraqi government that 
represents the freely elected will of the 
people."  He added, "It's their country Š their 

Apparently, the Secretary of Defense disagreed. 
So did lobbyist Norquist.  And Garner incurred 
their fury by getting carried away with the 
"democracy" idea:  he called for quick elections 
-- within 90 days of the taking of Baghdad.

But Garner's 90-days-to-elections commitment ran 
straight into the oil sell-off program.  Annex D 
of the plan indicated that would take at least 
270 days -- at least 9 months.

Worse, Garner was brokering a truce between 
Sunnis, Shias and Kurds.  They were about to 
begin what Garner called a "Big Tent" meeting to 
hammer out the details and set the election date. 
He figured he had 90 days to get it done before 
the factions started slitting each other's 

But a quick election would mean the end of the 
state-asset sell-off plan:  An Iraqi-controlled 
government would never go along with what would 
certainly amount to foreign corporations 
swallowing their entire economy.  Especially the 
oil.  Garner had spent years in Iraq, in charge 
of the Northern Kurdish zone and knew Iraqis 
well.  He was certain that an asset-and-oil grab, 
"privatizations," would cause a sensitive 
population to take up the gun.  "That's just one 
fight you don't want to take on right now."

But that's just the fight the neo-cons at Defense 
wanted.  And in Rumsfeld's replacement for 
Garner, they had a man itching for the fight. 
Paul Bremer III had no experience on the ground 
in Iraq, but he had one unbeatable credential 
that Garner lacked:  Bremer had served as 
Managing Director of Kissinger and Associates.

In April 2003, Bremer instituted democracy Bush 
style:  he canceled elections and appointed the 
entire government himself.  Two months later, 
Bremer ordered a halt to all municipal elections 
including the crucial vote to Shia seeking to 
select a mayor in the city of Najaf.  The 
front-runner, moderate Shia Asad Sultan Abu Gilal 
warned, "If they don't give us freedom, what will 
we do?  We have patience, but not for long." 
Local Shias formed the "Mahdi Army," and within a 
year, provoked by Bremer's shutting their paper, 
attacked and killed 21 U.S. soldiers.

The insurgency had begun.  But Bremer's job was 
hardly over.  There were Sunnis to go after.  He 
issued "Order Number One:  De-Ba'athification." 
In effect, this became "De-Sunni-fication."

Saddam's generals, mostly Sunnis, who had, we 
learned, secretly collaborated with the US 
invasion and now expected their reward found 
themselves hunted and arrested.  Falah Aljibury, 
an Iraqi-born US resident who helped with the 
pre-invasion brokering, told me, "U.S. forces 
imprisoned all those we named as political 
leaders," who stopped Iraq's army from firing on 
U.S. troops.

Aljibury's main concern was that busting Iraqi 
collaborators and Ba'athist big shots was a gift 
"to the Wahabis," by which he meant the foreign 
insurgents, who now gained experienced military 
commanders, Sunnis, who now had no choice but to 
fight the US-installed regime or face arrest, 
ruin or death.  They would soon link up with the 
Sunni-defending Wahabi, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who 
was committed to destroying "Shia snakes."

And the oil fields?  It was, Aljibury noted, when 
word got out about the plans to sell off the oil 
fields (thanks to loose lips of the US-appointed 
oil minister) that pipelines began to blow. 
Although he had been at the center of planning 
for invasion, Aljibury now saw the greed-crazed 
grab for the oil fields as the fuel for a civil 
war that would rip his country to pieces:

"Insurgents," he said, "and those who wanted to 
destabilize a new Iraq have used this as means of 
saying, 'Look, you're losing your country. You're 
losing your leadership. You're losing all of your 
resources to a bunch of wealthy people. A bunch 
of billionaires in the world want to take you 
over and make your life miserable.' And we saw an 
increase in the bombing of oil facilities, 
pipelines, of course, built on -- built on the 
premise that privatization [of oil] is coming."

General Garner, watching the insurgency unfold 
from the occupation authority's provocations, 
told me, in his understated manner, "I'm a 
believer that you don't want to end the day with 
more enemies than you started with."

But you can't have a war president without a war. 
And you can't have a war without enemies. "Bring 
'em on," our Commander-in-Chief said.  And 
Zarqawi answered the call.


Greg Palast is the author of Armed Madhouse  out 
this week from Penguin Dutton, from which this is 

Armed Madhouse:  Who's Afraid of Osama Wolf?, 
China Floats Bush Sinks, the Scheme to Steal '08, 
No Child's Behind Left and other Dispatches from 
the Front Lines of the Class War. 
it now.

Escaping the Matrix website
cyberjournal website  
subscribe cyberjournal list     mailto:•••@••.•••
Posting archives      
   cyberjournal forum 
   Achieving real democracy
   for readers of ETM 
   Community Empowerment
   Blogger made easy