Friday, July 05, 2002
The Source

From the New York Times story blowing chances that one particular plan for action in Iraq will be used. The story is here.

The source familiar with the document described its contents to The New York Times on the condition of anonymity, expressing frustration that the planning reflected at least in this set of briefing slides was insufficiently creative, and failed to incorporate fully the advances in tactics and technology that the military has made since the Persian Gulf war in 1991.


The Central Command document, as described by the source familiar with it, is significant not just for what it contains, but also for what it leaves out.

The document describes in precise detail specific Iraqi bases, surface-to-air missile sites, air defense networks and fiber-optics communications to be attacked. "The target list is so huge it's almost egregious," the source said. "It's obvious that we've been watching these guys for an awfully long time."


By emphasizing a large American force, the document seems to reflect a view that a successful campaign would require sizable conventional forces staging from Kuwait, or at least held in reserve there.

An alternative plan, championed by retired Gen. Wayne A. Downing of the Army, calls for conquering Iraq with a combination of airstrikes and special operations attacks in coordination with indigenous fighters, similar to the campaign in Afghanistan. Relying solely on that approach appears to have been ruled out.

General Downing resigned last week as Mr. Bush's chief adviser on counterterrorism, reportedly frustrated by the administration's tough talk against Iraq but lack of action.

So who's the anonymous source for this story? My guess would be General Downing, but that's just a guess. Regardless of the identity, since when does one individual outside some specified chain of command get to decide that a particular policy is right or not.

This doesn't come across as whistleblowing. I can only hope this is part of some legitimate disinformation campaign. Otherwise, both the source and the Times need to do some serious rethinking of what they say and when they say it.