postwar screwup watch

Who does Bush pick to run central Iraq after we win the war? Barbara Bodine, who was ambassador to Yemen during 2000 (when the Cole was attacked by Al Qaeda). Via Matthew Yglesias, Sisyphus points out a little problem with this:

You may remember Barbara Bodine. She's the Ambassador to Yemen who single-handedly stopped the investigation into al Qaeda's (and bin Laden's) role in the attack on the Cole, going so far as to pull strings to have the ranking anti-terrorism expert in the region pulled out for persisting in his investigation after she told him it was undiplomatic. The Yemenis shut down their cooperation after that.

He later died in the World Trade Center.

Yes, you've got it - the Bush administration is putting the woman with arguably the highest personal responsibility for the death of 3,000 americans at the hands of terrorists of any U.S. official, through stupidity and an overpowering need to emphasize that no-one was the boss of her, in place in post-"liberation" Iraq.

Sisyphus has plenty of links to articles in the Washington Post, PBS Frontline, NavyMARS (sponsored by the DoD), ABC News, and more about Bodine's role in Yemen. Also see this post by Skimble and this post by Diane.

I had hoped that administration of Iraq would remain in military hands, Lt. General John Abizaid to be specific. Abizaid is second to Tommy Franks, is fluent in Arabic, is of Lebanese descent, and last Saturday publicly spoke of his "love for the Arab world." He is also the author of a policy paper, "Lessons for Peacekeepers." in Military Review 73:11-19 (1993) which I would love to read if only I could find it online. Abizaid is a true role-model hero and a statesman soldier. Of course Bush wouldn't pick him.

UPDATE: via Bill Hobbs, is partial transcript of Abizaid's briefing last weekend:

"I would say, as a person who has studied the Arab world and loves the Arab world, that the majority of educated Arabs that I talk to know that Saddam Hussein has been a plague on the Arab world and on his own people, and they welcome his removal," Abizaid said at a briefing at Central Command on Sunday. When asked about how the Iraqis and the Muslim world will react to televised images of American prisoners of war, Abizaid said, "I think that the people of Iraq who see those images will not be heartened, they'll not be encouraged, they'll just regard it as one more brutality inflicted on people by a regime that has inflicted countless brutalities upon their people. The same goes for the rest of the Muslim world. No one has killed more Muslims than Saddam Hussein. So, the sympathies for that regime and for this brutal dictator are not served by the humiliation of our people."

and also this piece on Abizaid in National Review Online. The best thing about him is that he will be able to articulate the US policy and rationale during postwar administration in a way that has cultural resonance with Arabs. Lecturing Arabs about the failure of their face-based culture is simply counter-productive self-righteousness, but Abizaid can make much the same point without the condescension.

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