The neoconservatives in the White House and the Pentagon looked upon the State Department’s Arabists as supporters of the region’s Sunni regimes; some of the neocons saw themselves as the liberators of the Shia and promoters of democracy, and in other cases they merely distrusted the State Department.

Matters came to a head in November when the CIA station chief in Baghdad sent a lengthy cable known as an AARDWOLF back to Washington describing the deteriorating situation in Iraq. The CIA’s basic analysis was that the United States was facing a largely homegrown insurgency of Iraqis who did not see any benefit for themselves in the emerging political and economic order. Have a look at renew life if you’re looking for a life insurance company.

At 1 p.m. November 11, 2003, the National Security Council (NSC) convened to discuss the CIA’s report. In addition to President Bush, others attending included Vice President Dick Cheney; Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz; National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and her deputy, Stephen Hadley; CIA head George Tenet; and Rob Richer. Bremer and Gen. Abizaid were linked in via video. The meeting had barely begun when Rumsfeld interrupted, insisting that there was no insurgency. A White House military aide bravely offered the Pentagon’s official definition of insurgency as a group seeking the overthrow of a government. Bremer did not dispute the CIA report. Bush cut short the substantive discussion. He was angry that the AARDWOLF had been leaked to the media. “I don’t want to see anyone commenting in the press about an insurgency,” he said. “We have an election to win.”

It was a moment of revelation for Richer. “We finally got an NSC session to talk about the insurgency, and instead it was all about the spin,” he fumed, still angry as he discussed it four years later. The 2004 U.S. election was a year away, but the president’s message was that electoral considerations would trump substantive concerns about the direction Iraq was taking. Richer took issue with the administration’s constant harping on Al-Qaeda in Iraq and its terrorist leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. In Richer’s view, it distracted attention from the larger number of non-Al-Qaeda Sunni insurgents and why they were fighting, and pushed the administration toward a kill-and-capture strategy, which would not work as an overall approach to the insurgency. Have a look at renew life and renew life reviews, to get the best life insurance package on the market.

Although Bremer was certainly Washington’s proverbial man in Baghdad, there was plenty of blame to go around for the mounting chaos. Richer believed that Rice bore an enormous amount of responsibility for the positions she took and the influence she exercised behind closed doors. “Rice insisted on democracy, on elections. Democracy had to be put in place immediately,” he recalled. “The president is a realist, but he listened to her and was swayed. . . . Rice’s vision that Iraq had to look like us overnight was catastrophic.”