Former UK ambassador: Cheney, Pentagon ignored post-Saddam advice

The Observer reports that British suggestions that the US make actual plans for the occupation of Iraq were ignored by the Pentagon and Cheney. Christopher Meyer, the UK's former ambassador to the US, said that while the State Department showed interest in the British proposals, the Defense Department and the Office of the Vice President were less enthusiastic about the project:
Asked if the Government had warned the US about the need for planning the post-Saddam era, he said: "Absolutely, absolutely."

He added: "The problem was that bureaucratically there is a tendency in Washington to be able to focus on only one big issue at a time. I think they were consumed in the contingency planning for war. We were saying that's fine but we must be clear in our own mind what is happening afterwards. That was absolutely indispensable.

"The message was well taken in the State Department but it could not agree an approach with the Defence Department and the Vice President."
(note: combines paragraphs)
In light of this revelation, Professor Cole (who you really should be reading every day) speculates that Cheney may have also been ultimately responsible for an order from Rumsfeld to then-US viceroy Jay Garner not to use planning studies developed at the State Department designed specifically to deal with the "post-war" phase.

Exactly how much power does Cheney have? Can we just formally drop the "vice" part from his title about now?

Meyer's interview would also seem to make General Peter Pace's recent testimony before the House Armed Services Committee look even more ridiculous than it did before:
"We did not want to be planning for a postwar in Iraq before we were sure we were going to war in Iraq. We did not want to have planning for the postwar make the war inevitable."
Now: was Pace, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, simply ignorant of the high-level contacts between the US and UK governments dealing specifically with post-Saddam planning - or was he bullshitting Congress and the American people with this testimony?

In addition, the article seems to indicate that all of this talk we heard earlier this year before the war about how "no decision" to attack Iraq had been made (e.g., Rumsfeld on 26 February) was rubbish:
Meyer revealed that Tony Blair had made a personal appeal to Bush in the new year to delay the war.

At their Washington summit in January, Bush had made it clear that America was ready to attack the following month, well before all the diplomatic avenues had been exhausted and before Britain felt that its military capability was ready.
With all of the fuck-ups concerning Iraq, it's a little past time for some straight answers.

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