Steve has been on a tear recently about the “deep state” in Pakistan. So when reading more of Chris Coyne’s “After War”, it occurred to me that bits of it illuminate who has influence within our own government.
“Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, as well as other key members of the Bush administration, initially favored the quick transfer of power to Iraqi exile Ahmed Chalabi. In contrast, the CIA voiced their support for Ayad Allawi, a Baath Party defector in the 1970s. Finally, some in the State Department favored Adnan Pachachi, another Iraqi exile, as the next leader of Iraq.”
So what happens when we roll the tape? Chalabi was interim oil minister for a couple of months and deputy prime minister for a year. Allawi was president of the governing council for a month, and for a year was the first prime minister of the new Iraqi government. I had never heard of Pachachi, he apparently refused the position of president when a U.N envoy nominated him and became the oldest man in the Iraqi parliament. So it looks like the CIA is the most powerful of these factions. It has also been said that CIA opposition was important in blunting the later push for war with Iran, but I don’t put as much weight on that for now. Greenwald headlined Petraeus’ move to CIA and Panetta’s move to DOD as “A more militarized CIA for a more militarized America“, but maybe it’s wrong to think of the CIA as helpless victim of DOD colonization (recall also that outgoing DOD secretary Robert Gates is ex-CIA). On a contrary note, Coyne quotes Robert Dreyfuss saying about the run-up to the Iraq war “The war over intelligence is a critical part of a broader offensive by … the Bush administration against virtually the entire expert Middle East establishment in the United States – including State Department, Pentagon and CIA area specialists and leading military officers.”

I was disappointed in the section on Halliburton. Coyne details that among major Iraq contractors, they received the most money (almost 11 million, with the runner-up getting a bit over 5) despite being middling in terms of campaign contributions (2.4 million over 12 years, while two others gave over 3 and two gave just over 1). He then notes that in the three election cycles prior to Cheney joining Halliburton in 1993, their total campaign contributions were 740K. In the next three they spent 1.6 million and received 2.3 billion in contracts. What’s the obvious piece of data that could have been presented but was left out? The contracts they received in the three prior election cycles under a different head.