Hersh: Bush picking sides in the Shiite-Shia civil war

Well, this is not good.

The short version is we want to ally with the Sunni half of the region, Saudi Arabia especially, including the people who support Al-Qaeda, and go after Shiites. All of this to contain Iran or something.

God fucking damn it. I’m so mad at the idiots running our foreign policy I don’t know what to say about it.

The Bush Administration has publicly pledged the Siniora government a billion dollars in aid since last summer. A donors’ conference in Paris, in January, which the U.S. helped organize, yielded pledges of almost eight billion more, including a promise of more than a billion from the Saudis. The American pledge includes more than two hundred million dollars in military aid, and forty million dollars for internal security.

The United States has also given clandestine support to the Siniora government, according to the former senior intelligence official and the U.S. government consultant. “We are in a program to enhance the Sunni capability to resist Shiite influence, and we’re spreading the money around as much as we can,” the former senior intelligence official said. The problem was that such money “always gets in more pockets than you think it will,” he said. “In this process, we’re financing a lot of bad guys with some serious potential unintended consequences. We don’t have the ability to determine and get pay vouchers signed by the people we like and avoid the people we don’t like. It’s a very high-risk venture.”

American, European, and Arab officials I spoke to told me that the Siniora government and its allies had allowed some aid to end up in the hands of emerging Sunni radical groups in northern Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley, and around Palestinian refugee camps in the south. These groups, though small, are seen as a buffer to Hezbollah; at the same time, their ideological ties are with Al Qaeda.


Every time something like this happens, I just hang my head and think “can’t this presidency be over already?”

Wow, that’s terrible site design. The New Yorker hates my scroll button.

No. Because impeachment would be “too much to put this country through.”

We are a tender nation.

Where’s a John Hinckley or a Lee Harvey Oswald when you need him?

This is good stuff. I stumbled onto the article via Froomkin’s column at The Post. I have a bit more respect for Negroponte now.

I was subsequently told by the two government consultants and the former senior intelligence official that the echoes of Iran-Contra were a factor in Negroponte’s decision to resign from the National Intelligence directorship and accept a sub-Cabinet position of Deputy Secretary of State. (Negroponte declined to comment.)

The former senior intelligence official also told me that Negroponte did not want a repeat of his experience in the Reagan Administration, when he served as Ambassador to Honduras. “Negroponte said, ‘No way. I’m not going down that road again, with the N.S.C. running operations off the books, with no finding.’ ” (In the case of covert C.I.A. operations, the President must issue a written finding and inform Congress.) Negroponte stayed on as Deputy Secretary of State, he added, because “he believes he can influence the government in a positive way.”

The government consultant said that Negroponte shared the White House’s policy goals but “wanted to do it by the book.” The Pentagon consultant also told me that “there was a sense at the senior-ranks level that he wasn’t fully on board with the more adventurous clandestine initiatives.” It was also true, he said, that Negroponte “had problems with this Rube Goldberg policy contraption for fixing the Middle East.”


This is no surprise. Saudi Arabia is our friend and Iran is our enemy.

Wow. The Shi’ites are starting on each other. That’s big news. And Bush is picking one Shi’ite over another!

The shi’ite has indeed hit the fan.

While Jason’s typo is amusing this story really does highlight the total cognitive dissonance behind Bush’s foreign policy. It also sort of highlights what a total mess the administration has made of things.

  1. We invaded Iraq ostensibly as part of the War on Terror (which is against Al Quaeda).
  2. The subsequent disaster strengthened Iran.
  3. This leads us to cozying up to our Sunni friends in the Gulf - the same friends who are sympathetic to if not outright supportive of Al Qaeda, the guys we were trying to get in the first place!

Maybe the neocons are trying to get out the Sunni vote?