How Does Rumsfailed Keep His Job
I guess Worst President Ever needs a lightning rod that looks stupider than him. In any case, this news piece says that the Pentagon ignored the rise of the Shiite militias (now responsible for the plurarity of the civilian deaths in Iraq) in order to concentrate on the Sunni insurgency:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - U.S. officials were warned for more than two years that Shiite Muslim militias were infiltrating Iraq's security forces and taking control of neighborhoods, but they failed to take action to counteract it, Iraqi and American officials said.
Now American officials call the militias the primary security concern in Iraq, blaming them for more civilian deaths than the Sunni Muslim-based insurgency and demanding that the Iraqi government move quickly to stem their influence.
U.S. officials concede that they didn't act, in part because they were focused on fighting the Sunni-dominated insurgency and on recruiting and training Iraqi security forces.
"Last year, as we worked through the problem set, that (militias) wasn't a problem set we focused on," Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, the top American military spokesman, said at a recent news briefing.
U.S. inaction gave the militias, with support from Iran, time to become a major force inside and outside the Iraqi government, and American officials acknowledge that dislodging them now would be difficult.
That's a nice act of ass-covering. The Pentagon didn't ignore the Shiite militias, they MADE the Shiite militias:
'The Salvador Option’ The Pentagon may put Special-Forces-led assassination or kidnapping teams in Iraq
By Michael Hirsh and John Barry
Jan. 8 - What to do about the deepening quagmire of Iraq? The Pentagon’s latest approach is being called "the Salvador option"—and the fact that it is being discussed at all is a measure of just how worried Donald Rumsfeld really is. "What everyone agrees is that we can’t just go on as we are," one senior military officer told NEWSWEEK. "We have to find a way to take the offensive against the insurgents. Right now, we are playing defense. And we are losing." Last November’s operation in Fallujah, most analysts agree, succeeded less in breaking "the back" of the insurgency—as Marine Gen. John Sattler optimistically declared at the time—than in spreading it out.
Now, NEWSWEEK has learned, the Pentagon is intensively debating an option that dates back to a still-secret strategy in the Reagan administration’s battle against the leftist guerrilla insurgency in El Salvador in the early 1980s. Then, faced with a losing war against Salvadoran rebels, the U.S. government funded or supported "nationalist" forces that allegedly included so-called death squads directed to hunt down and kill rebel leaders and sympathizers. Eventually the insurgency was quelled, and many U.S. conservatives consider the policy to have been a success—despite the deaths of innocent civilians and the subsequent Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal. (Among the current administration officials who dealt with Central America back then is John Negroponte, who is today the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Under Reagan, he was ambassador to Honduras. There is no evidence, however, that Negroponte knew anything about the Salvadoran death squads or the Iran-Contra scandal at the time. The Iraq ambassador, in a phone call to NEWSWEEK on Jan. 10, said he was not involved in military strategy in Iraq. He called the insertion of his name into this report "utterly gratuitous.")
Following that model, one Pentagon proposal would send Special Forces teams to advise, support and possibly train Iraqi squads, most likely hand-picked Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shiite militiamen, to target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers, even across the border into Syria, according to military insiders familiar with the discussions. It remains unclear, however, whether this would be a policy of assassination or so-called "snatch" operations, in which the targets are sent to secret facilities for interrogation. The current thinking is that while U.S. Special Forces would lead operations in, say, Syria, activities inside Iraq itself would be carried out by Iraqi paramilitaries, officials tell NEWSWEEK.
Yeap, they hoped that this strategy will created a "controlled chaos" that plagued the Central American countries for years, but all they have now is chaos. Mission accomplished.