Donald Rumsfeld, Responsible for Yet Another Blunder
Sometimes I can't believe Donald Rumsfeld (a very committed liar, by the way) was ever in a position of power. At almost every opportunity, he showed himself to be petty, incompetent, and completely lacking in perspective. He showed those qualities most blatantly when dealing with the State Department, an entity the folks at Defense saw as an enemy.
Instead of using State's planning for post-war Iraq, the DOD ignored it. Instead of using State's long-time Middle East experts, the DOD shunned them. And we now know that instead of protecting State's diplomats that were trying to put Iraq back together, the DOD hung them out to dry, and in so doing, gave rise to Blackwater. From the Post:
The next year, as the United States prepared to return sovereignty to the Iraqis and the State Department began planning an embassy in Baghdad, Rumsfeld lost a bid to retain control over the full U.S. effort, including billions of dollars in reconstruction funds. A new executive order, signed in January 2004, gave State authority over all but military operations. Rumsfeld's revenge, at least in the view of many State officials, was to withdraw all but minimal assistance for diplomatic security.
"It was the view of Donald Rumsfeld and [then-Deputy Defense Secretary] Paul Wolfowitz that this wasn't their problem," said a former senior State Department official. Meetings to negotiate an official memorandum of understanding between State and Defense during the spring of 2004 broke up in shouting matches over issues such as their respective levels of patriotism and whether the military would provide mortuary services for slain diplomats. [ ]
State chose the most expedient solution: Take over the Pentagon's personal security contract with Blackwater and extend it for a year.
(H/T Think Progress)