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Oh, Condi…


A bit more on the Rohde and Sanger; this struck me as emblematic of Condi’s tenure as National Security Advisor:

In a February 2002 meeting in the White House Situation Room, Mr. Powell proposed that American troops join the small international peacekeeping force patrolling Kabul and help Mr. Karzai extend his influence beyond the capital.


Richard N. Haass, the former director of policy planning at the State Department, said informal conversations with European officials had led him to believe that the United States could recruit a force of 20,000 to 40,000 peacekeepers, half from Europe, half from the United States.

But Mr. Rumsfeld contended that European countries were unwilling to contribute additional troops, according to Douglas J. Feith, then the Pentagon’s under secretary for policy. He said Mr. Rumsfeld felt that sending American troops would reduce pressure on Europeans to contribute, and could provoke Afghans’ historic resistance to invaders and divert American forces from hunting terrorists. Mr. Rumsfeld declined to comment.

Some officials said they feared confusion if European forces viewed the task as peacekeeping while the American military saw their job as fighting terrorists. Ms. Rice, despite having argued for fully backing the new Karzai government, took a middle position, leaving the issue unresolved. “I felt that we needed more forces, but there was a real problem, which you continue to see to this day, with the dual role,” she said.

Ultimately, Mr. Powell’s proposal died. “The president, the vice president, the secretary of defense, the national security staff, all of them were skeptical of an ambitious project in Afghanistan,” Mr. Haass said. “I didn’t see support.”

There are a couple of points of interest here; Rummy’s skepticism of the allies helped to sink the entire project, but his objection that more troops could provoke Afghan resistance is not, on its face, absurd. As it turns out he seems to have been wrong, as the lack of troops meant that the Taliban had time and space to reconstitute itself and threaten Afghan security.

More to the point, though, is Condi’s reluctance to DO HER GODDAMNED JOB, a position that left Rumsfeld in control of key aspects of the situation, left Washington policy in a muddle, and left Afghanistan to rot. The NSA is supposed to coordinate disagreement and manage conflict within the President’s circle of foreign policy advisors, but Condi again and again refused to play that role, leaving Powell and anyone else with a lick of sense at the mercy of Rumsfeld and Cheney. For this, she gets promoted to Secretary of State…

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