FUBAR in Iraq

FUBAR IN IRAQ….Today’s New York Times story about the Bush administration’s Keystone Kops approach to training police in Iraq might as well be an encyclopedia entry for “FUBAR.” Three different groups wrote plans that nobody on the ground ever heard of; the number of trainers was laughably minuscule to start with and got even more laughable over time; and nobody really seemed to care much because they didn’t figure we’d be staying around for long anyway. It’s the usual story with this gang.

You have to read the whole thing to really get a sense of what was going on, but in the meantime here’s a small aside. According to Jay Garner, a plan to dispatch 6,000 police officers to Iraq was opposed by Frank Miller, a former NSC official who coordinated the American effort to govern Iraq. Is that true?

Mr. Miller, who left the government last year, confirmed his opposition. He said the assessment by the C.I.A. led administration officials to believe that Iraq’s police were capable of maintaining order. Douglas J. Feith, then the Defense Department’s under secretary for policy, said in an interview that the C.I.A.’s prewar assessment deemed Iraq’s police professional, an appraisal that events proved “fundamentally wrong.”

But Paul Gimigliano, a spokesman for the C.I.A., said the agency’s assessment warned otherwise. “We had no reliable information on individual officers or police units,” he said. The “C.I.A.’s written assessment did not judge that the Iraqi police could keep order after the war. In fact, the assessment talked in terms of creating a new force.”

A copy of the document, which is classified, could not be obtained.

If Doug Feith says it, it’s a pretty good bet that exactly the opposite is the case. Still, why is this report classified? Surely this would be one of those cases that Scott McClellan told us about in which declassification would be in the public interest? Right?