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Iraq war: a baffling defense of Bush policy from a former Pentagon insider

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The catalog of what has gone wrong during the US occupation is thicker than the Manhattan phone book.

Despite some encouraging signs, such as parliamentary political jockeying as Baghdad lurches toward civilian government, Mr. Feith was only modestly hopeful about Iraq’s progress.

“All the things which have been gigantic problems in recent years remain,” he said. “The fact that the political system is evolving is good and hopeful. But it’s not inevitable. You can still have a breakdown and a lot of violence.” A friend with the US Agency for International Development privately told me that when the Americans leave Iraq there will be an “enormous score-settling between majority Shiites and minority Sunnis.”

Opponents of the war have vilified Feith, although he sees himself as “a man more sinned against than sinning.” His book “War and Decision” seems the definitive Bush administration defense of the war to date.

In our interview, Feith portrayed a Bush administration at war with itself, with Secretary of State Colin Powell and the Central Intelligence Agency undercutting the Pentagon’s civilian leadership and President Bush’s policy. Unanswered is why Bush tolerated this.

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