Compare and contrast the following two memos.
The questions I posed to combatant commanders this week were: Are we winning or losing the Global War on Terror? Is DoD changing fast enough to deal with the new 21st century security environment? Can a big institution change fast enough? Is the USG changing fast enough?
DoD has been organized, trained and equipped to fight big armies, navies and air forces. It is not possible to change DoD fast enough to successfully fight the global war on terror; an alternative might be to try to fashion a new institution, either within DoD or elsewhere — one that seamlessly focuses the capabilities of several departments and agencies on this key problem.
With respect to global terrorism, the record since Septermber 11th seems to be:
We are having mixed results with Al Qaida, although we have put considerable pressure on them — nonetheless, a great many remain at large.
USG has made reasonable progress in capturing or killing the top 55 Iraqis.
USG has made somewhat slower progress tracking down the Taliban — Omar, Hekmatyar, etc.
With respect to the Ansar Al-Islam, we are just getting started.
Have we fashioned the right mix of rewards, amnesty, protection and confidence in the US?
Does DoD need to think through new ways to organize, train, equip and focus to deal with the global war on terror?
Are the changes we have and are making too modest and incremental? My impression is that we have not yet made truly bold moves, although we have have made many sensible, logical moves in the right direction, but are they enough?
Today, we lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror. Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?
Does the US need to fashion a broad, integrated plan to stop the next generation of terrorists? The US is putting relatively little effort into a long-range plan, but we are putting a great deal of effort into trying to stop terrorists. The cost-benefit ratio is against us! Our cost is billions against the terrorists' costs of millions.
Do we need a new organization?
How do we stop those who are financing the radical madrassa schools?
Is our current situation such that "the harder we work, the behinder we get"?
It is pretty clear that the coalition can win in Afghanistan and Iraq in one way or another, but it will be a long, hard slog.
Does CIA need a new finding?
Should we create a private foundation to entice radical madradssas to a more moderate course?
What else should we be considering?
Please be prepared to discuss this at our meeting on Saturday or Monday.
We have carefully reviewed our options under the rules and believe we have identified the best approach. Our plan is as follows:
1) Pull the majority along as far as we can on issues that may lead to major new disclosures regarding improper or questionable conduct by Administration officials. We are having some success in that regard. For example, in addition to the President's State of the Union speech, the Chairman has agreed to look at the activities of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (e.g. Rumsfeld, Feith and Wolfowitz) as well as Secretary Bolton's office at the State Department. The fact that the Chairman supports our investigations into these offices, and cosigns our requests for information, is helpful and potentially crucial. We don't know what we will find, but our prospects for getting the access we seek is far greater when we have the backing of the Majority. (Note: We can verbally mention some of the intriguing leads we are pursuing).
2) Assiduously prepare Democratic "additional views" to attach to any interim of final reports the committee may release. Committee rules provide this opportunity and we intend to take full advantage of it. In that regard, we have already compiled all the public statements on Iraq made by senior Administration officials. We will identify the most exaggerated claims and contrast them with the intelligence estimates that have since been declassified. Our additional views will also, among other things, castigate the majority for seeking to limit the scope of the inquiry. The Democrats will then be in a strong position to reopen the question of establishing an independent commission (i.e. the Corzine amendment).
3) Prepare to launch an Independent investigation when it becomes clear we have exhausted the opportunity to usefully collaborate with the Majority. We can pull the trigger on an independent investigation of the Administration's use of intelligence at any time -- but we can only do so once. The best time to do so will probably be next year either:
A) After we have already released our additional views on an interim report -- thereby providing as many as three opportunities to make our case to the public: (1) additional view on the interim report; (2) announcement of our independent investigation; and (3) additional views on the final investigation; or
B) Once we identify solid leads the Majority does not want to pursue. We would attract more coverage and have greater credibility in that context that on e in which we simply launch an independent investigation based on principled but vague notions regarding the "use" of intelligence.
In the meantime, even without a specifically authorized independent investigation, we continue to act independently when we encounter foot-dragging on the part of the Majority. For example, the FBI Niger investigation was done solely at the request of the Vice Chairman; we have independently submitted written questions to DoD; and we are preparing further independent requests for information.
Intelligence issues are clearly secondary to the public's concern regarding the insurgency in Iraq. Yet, we have an important role to play in revealing the misleading -- if not flagrantly dishonest methods and motives - of the senior Administration officials who made the case for a unilateral, preemptive war. The approach outline above seems to offer the best prospect for exposing the Administration's dubious motives and motives.
The first is Rumfeld's memo that leaked a few weeks ago concerning the current reconstruction in Iraq and the War on Terror, the second is the very recently leaked memo from a Democrat staffer on how to keep the pressure on Bush and the current administration. Now, which one is interested in partisan politics and self interests and which one is interested in doing the hard work that is needed right now? I think it's fairly clear. That is all.