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CBS News has an interview on their website with Marine Corps Commandant General Mike Hagee, which it promotes with the headline, "Top Marine: No Plan For Post-Saddam Iraq". The article that fronts this interview makes the claim that Hagee admits that the Pentagon had no plan at all for security in the post-invasion period:
As Commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force during the lead-up to the war, Hagee was in charge of planning for the Marines' original push to Baghdad. So I asked him about one of the enduring mysteries of the invasion — why there was no real plan for running the country once Saddam Hussein fell from power.
Unfortunately, Hagee's comments only deepen the mystery. He says he was deeply concerned about who would take charge of major Iraqi cities, like Najaf, as the Marines pushed through them on their way to Baghdad.
Hagee says he asked his boss again and again who would take charge of those cities. He wanted to know what the plan was for Phase IV — military terminology for the phase that follows the end of major combat operations. Phase IV is, in other words, what comes after "mission accomplished." Hagee says that he sent his questions up the chain of command, as they say in the military — and never heard back.
Well, that sounds pretty damning -- but that's not what Hagee says in the portion of the interview that CBS has, a 7:27 segment in which Hagee explains what happened. The connection is poor and no transcript is provided by CBS (what a shock!), but be sure to watch the video for yourselves. CBS and David Martin misrepresent Hagee in this superficial web report.
Hagee commanded Marine forces that spearheaded the invasion thrusts all the way to Baghdad. Hagee tells Martin that the Phase IV plans were to have the Marines release the towns as they "uncovered" them, ie, freed them from Saddam's control, and that other security forces would replace them. During the preinvasion planning, Hagee asked the then-Commandant who exactly that would be, and he got no clear answer. At the time, no one was sure -- as Hagee points out during the interview -- whether the Iraqi Army would simply surrender and switch sides, or whether they would disappear.
In the event, however, Coalition forces came behind Hagee and secured the towns as they moved forward. Hagee makes this very clear in the actual interview. Hagee also says that other aspects of Phase IV planning were rather unclear, but that Paul Bremer took command of those issues when Coalition forces took over the towns.
Hagee also gives the time frame of his assessments; he talks about his forces being removed by July 2003. What Hagee discusses is the immediate aftermath of the collapse of Saddam's government, not the three years afterwards. CBS makes it sound like Hagee is talking about the entire post-invasion effort and sticks words in his mouth. In their blurb below Hagee's picture, they caption it with a "fast fact": Gen. Michael Hagee says he asked his boss again and again who would take charge of major Iraqi cities, such as Najaf.
In fact, Hagee never mentions Najaf during his interview. He mentions Fallujah, though, and points out that a year ago it took 3,000 Marines to secure the town. Now only 300 Marines are stationed there, because the Iraqi security forces have taken over most of their function. He tells Martin that he considers the transition to Iraqi forces a qualified success, although CBS doesn't bother to make any mention of it.
CBS wants to play fast and loose with their "fast facts". Readers should slow down and listen to Hagee rather than Martin's misleading characterization of the interview. (h/t: CQ reader PN)Sphere It View blog reactions
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Tracked on November 13, 2006 7:56 PM
» CBS Misleads Readers On Hagee Interview from Bill's Bites
CBS Misleads Readers On Hagee InterviewEd Morrissey CBS News has an interview on their website with Marine Corps Commandant General Mike Hagee, which it promotes with the headline, Top Marine: No Plan For Post-Saddam Iraq. The article that fronts this [Read More]
Tracked on November 13, 2006 8:31 PM
» Plan? What Plan? from Right-Thinking from the Left Coast
Oh Christ, there is nothing I love more than being right. As Commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force during the lead-up to the war, Hagee was in charge of planning for the Marines' original push to Baghdad. So I asked him about one ...[Read More]
Tracked on November 13, 2006 8:40 PM
Tracked on November 13, 2006 9:30 PM
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Tracked on November 14, 2006 5:30 AM
» CBS-BS Is Still At It from ThatGayConservativeII
I saw this story the other day on Drudge and skimmed over it. Now, it turns out, that CBS-BS's David Martin spins the comments of Marine Corps Commandant General Mike Hagee. Of course I'm not surprised. What does surprise me, however, is why in the h... [Read More]
Tracked on November 14, 2006 11:42 PM
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