Newt Gingrich on the

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Newt Gingrich, on the rebuilding of Iraq:

We need to fundamentally reorganize our nonmilitary bureaucracies to be effective. I mean, part of the reason you don’t have an effective Iraqi bureaucracy is the American inability at the State Department, the Agency for International Development, the Treasury Department, the Justice Department to provide any level of systematic competence is, is almost zero.

Did he leave anyone out? Hmmm, let’s see . . . oh, yeah. The Pentagon!

It was the Pentagon that elbowed State aside and assumed full responsibility for post-invasion Iraq, despite having failed to undertake the sort of pre-invasion planning necessary to confront the enormous task.

It was the Pentagon that made no plans to rebuild the Iraqi bureaucracy because Rumsfeld thought if you lopped off the head of the regime and replaced it with a pro-Western government, the Iraqi bureacracy would just keep on keeping on.

It was the Pentagon that disbanded the Iraqi Army, one of Iraq’s stronger bureaucratic structures, despite the warnings from U.S. commanders on the ground.

And let’s not forget that Gingrich was on Rumsfeld’s Defense Policy Board during the period in question and was one of the leading proponents of the Pentagon’s approach.

Going around behind Gingrich to set the record straight could be a full-time job, but this particular blame-shifting canard needs to be confronted and knocked down hard.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.
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