Tommy Franks won the chutzpah award today when he showed up on television to criticize the six Generals who have called for Don Rumsfeld’s resignation. If you watched the spectacle on Hardball you were certain to see, strategically placed in the background over each shoulder, a prominent copy of Tommy Franks’ five million dollar memoir. Hell, the only thing missing was his medal of freedom.
Apart from taking credit now for the debacle that Iraq has become, Franks has created controversy over his claim (which was recorded by Bob Woodward in Plan of Attack) that Douglas Feith, the former Under Secretary for Policy at the Department of Defense was “the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth.” Not so fast there Tommy boy.
Today Franks appeared to change his tune about Feith. On Hardball Franks said:
FRANKS: I would put the dipstick at oh — with a reasonable degree of understanding, I would put Doug Feith in a category as a brilliant man with some military understanding, but both of these gentlemen were apt to think out of the box. And candidly, Chris, for all I know, maybe that`s what Don Rumsfeld wanted them to do. Of course, as a military guy…
Franks proceeded to raise further doubts about Dougie Feith’s status as the stupidest guy when he spilled the beans that planning for going to war in Iraq actually started in December 2001. According to Franks:
And I think one thing that`s missing in a lot of the reporting is that a great many generals, in fact, did that with Don Rumsfeld. I mean, ask him about our dialogue. Ask him as we spent 14 months planning this thing, Chris, the number of times that I`d look at him or he`d look at me and say absolutely not.
Fourteen months prior to March 2003 falls roughly in December 2001. Gee, what else was happening then? If you have read Gary Berntsen’s book, Jawbreaker, that date coincides with Osama Bin Laden’s escape from Tora Bora and Tommy Franks refusal to deploy U.S. Army Rangers to Afghanistan to help the CIA corral Bin Laden. Franks could not see the urgency of finishing off Bin Laden because he was too fixiated on servicing the derrier of Don Rumsfeld and George Bush. It would be one thing if Tommy Franks’ magnificent plan provided for enough troops to secure the victory and restore order. But it did not and the terrible results are on daily display in Iraq.
Given these recent events Bob Woodward may owe Douglas Feith an apology for accepting Tommy Franks’ opinion about who was the stupidest guy on the face of the earth. I think we have a new candidate.
Larry C. Johnson is CEO and co-founder
of BERG Associates, LLC, an international business-consulting firm
that helps corporations and governments manage threats posed by
terrorism and money laundering. Mr. Johnson, who worked previously
with the Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. State Department’s
Office of Counter Terrorism (as a Deputy Director), is a recognized
expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, crisis and risk
management. Mr. Johnson has analyzed terrorist incidents for a variety
of media including the Jim Lehrer News Hour, National Public Radio,
ABC’s Nightline, NBC’s Today Show, the New York Times, CNN, Fox News,
and the BBC. Mr. Johnson has authored several articles for
publications, including Security Management Magazine, the New York
Times, and The Los Angeles Times. He has lectured on terrorism and
aviation security around the world. Further bio