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US: The Pentagon and the State Department

This is taken from an article "War, Lies and WMDs" by Richard Cummings: "Donald Rumsfeld, the SECDEF, as he is known in the corridors of power, sees himself more as the Secretary of War (as that cabinet position was once known) than as the Secretary of Defense. He is not into defending. He is into attacking. He sees his task as defining who the enemy is and then obliterating him. It is inconceivable to him that he must wait for the intelligence gathered by his own military intelligence agencies to flow through George Tenet, who then interprets it to the President, before he can act on it. It quickly became obvious to him that he needed to bypass this bureaucratic hierarchy. To this end, he allowed Paul Wolfowitz, his Deputy Secretary, to create the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans, the "Cabal," as Seymour Hersh, writing in The New Yorker, has said they call themselves. Its director is Abram Shulsky, a disciple of Leo Strauss (who said lying by the leader was OK)".

RH: Planning has thus been taken over by the Pentagon. However, it is supposed to be the domain of the policy planning department of the State Department. Its director, Richard N. Haass, has resigned, clearly frustrated by the demotion of his department to a secondary rank. There is a difference in approach. The State Department thinks in terms of diplomacy and peace. The Defense Department thinks in military terms, beginning with coercive diplomacy and then proceeding to pre-emptive war. The State Department thinks in terms of conferences, th Pentagon in terms of the latest military equipment and strategy. Churchill, the great parliamentarian, said that "jow, jaw is better than war, war". He faced the same dilemma and he fought. The US now faces that dilemma. Who will win, the State Department and its ideas or the Pentagon and its action?

Ronald Hilton - 6/7/03