"He wants something now..."
By John Batchelor on November 22, 2008 12:31 AM | 2 Comments
Iraq, January 2005, George Bush Impatient.
Speaking Sunday 23 to State Department veteran Robert Earle, author, "Nights in the Pink Motel: An American Strategist's Pursuit of Peace in Iraq," re Mr. Earle's year in theater working directly for Ambassador John Negroponte. Mr. Earle came out of medical retirement to travel June '04 to the Green Zone (pictured here, which the author calls the "Pink Motel") and take up an office in Saddam Hussein's ex Palace and study the insurgency and the enemy. He writes extremely well, hypnotically, a gift of gab, Graham Greene and Rolling Stone together, and he has the wit to observe closely how human beings are both predictable and compelling. Baghdad in the summer of '04 was opera. In Mr. Earle's eyes, it resembles a 132 degree Saigon 1963 wedded to Berlin 1946. This is the moodiest book I have found on the tragedy of the Bush administration in Iraq. From the moment Mr. Earle climbs into the Rhino, the armored vehicle to make the six-mile run from the airport to the Green Zone, this story is excitement and doom. The Iraqis are mysterious, violently childish, frightened to madness, helpless, and just short of cannibalistic. The Americans are mostly in it for the money. A few of the Americans are charming lunatics who believe that there is principle involved -- democracy, law and order, peace, some sort of civilization to reestablish. Mr. Earle is one of these lunatics and he meets others whom he characterizes by their attitudes or obsessions. "True Hero" or "Baseball Cap." One female stands out, Kay at five feet with red hair, whom he meets enroute home for leave while she is mourning a friendship with a Navy Seal who has lost a hand. Kay has spent the previous three years seeking her own destruction in war zones. Kay's delusion in 2004 is that she will abet establishing the rule of law in Iraq. Mr. Earle's illusion is to write a George
Kennan "Long Telegram" length super memo that the president will read and therefore understand that victory in Iraq is impossible in less than decades and that the majority Shia will dominate any government no matter how it is organized. Mr. Earle writes this super memo, and his boss and comrade John Negroponte makes sure it is delivered to the President. Ambassador Negroponte reports to Mr. Earle, in January 2005, that the president has read the report and rejected it. Mr. Earle is discouraged, despairing. Mr. Negroponte's explanation, while they sit in Saddam Hussein's gargantuan architecture (right, the American Embassy in the Green Zone) , awaiting the results of the first post-Saddam Iraqi vote, is that President Bush is impatient: "He wants something now, not in five or ten years."
Causes Robert Earle Supports
World Wildlife Fund