Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Which Blair Project

TRD101:The Which Blair Project

by Michael Maynard

April 13, 2006

There are a lot of mysteries concerning the information gathering and decision making processes involving the run up to the invasion of Iraq. The US media and a significant portion of the US populace wants to believe there was and find out what the single reason the Bush Administration decided to invade Iraq. We do know, from former Treasury Secretary’s Paul O’Neill’s book, that this decision was made just as or before (as I believe) they took office. I don’t believe there was one single reason or motivation amongst the various Bush Leaguers:

President George W. Bush wanted revenge for Saddam’s attempt to kill his father. It has been reported many times, the latest in the Scooter Libby-Joe Wilson-Valerie Plame imbroglio, that FUBAR is a small minded, mean, vindictive man.

Vice President Dick Cheney wanted greater US control over the oil supplies of the Middle East, so that his corporate friends, such as Halliburton, would benefit. It has been reported many times, including Cheney’s still benefitting from his tenure as CEO at Halliburton, that Cheney is a venal, corrupt man.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld wanted to prove his ideas about transforming the military into a modern lean, high-tech, not manpower, dependent group would work. It has been reported many times, and we all see the results daily, of Rummy’s being an egotistical, vainglorious, reality denying man.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowicz, IMNSHO, is the tragic figure in this fiasco. I believe he had noble reasons behind his beliefs about what would occur after Iraq was successfully invaded and conquered. He believed that the political landscape of the Middle East would gradually be transformed from the brutal, dictatorial regimes in place, to modern Western style democracies. As a results, the security of Israel would be increased and the United States’ ability to solve the Israel-Palestine situation/problem would be greatly enhanced. Wolife, and the others, forgot a key point, it takes a long time and a lot of manpower to provide security and money to build infrastructure to establish democracies in countries that have not had democratic institutions previously.

Secretary of State Colin Powell was the lone rational figure in this whole process. He tried to stop the invasion or at worst, slow down the process so the planning about what would happen and what to do after the invasion would be sound. The State Departments “Future of Iraq” projet reports correctly predicted everything that was going to happen once the invasion started. Colin Powell got steam rolled in the process.

It’s a mystery to me is what Colin Powell did after the decision was made to invade Iraq and it makes me question his character. His oath is to serve the country, and not the President. As he stated recently, if he knew the intelligence was false and he had concerns about how the invasion was going to be conducted, then he should have either spoken up to the press and/or resigned. His silence and capitulation in making the presentation to the UN makes his later statements seem self-serving and pussilanimous.

Assistant Secretary of Defense, Donald Feith, and National Security Advisor, Condoleeza Rice, were looking for holes in the wall to use as comparisons.

The biggest mystery to me is what The U.K Prime Minister, Tony Blair, was thinking when he signed on to back the Iraq invasion. He wasn’t new to his office, like the Bush Leaguers. He was a FOB (Friend of Bubba - Bill Clinton) and considered to be an international statesman, in his own right. His actions and leadership this year on how to help Africa develop show his international presence and knowledge. So what was he doing backing the Iraqi war?

The leaked Downing Street Memos ( show that his Foreign Ministrer, Jack Straw, and various others of his cabinet members were greatly opposed to the invasion. He should have known the information he had from his intelligence services on Iraq was “dodgy”. The intelligence included a term paper from a college student. He should have known that the US intelligence, because of lack of direct evidence from Iraq and reliance on
expatriates like Ahmed Chalabi for information, was equally dodgy. He particularly should have known after meeting with Bush on his ranch, that Blair was not dealing with an equal in terms of knowledge and experience in foreign affairs and policy.

And he particularly should have known the dangers of pulling resources out of Afghanistan when Al Qaeda and the Taliban were still viable entities. He should have known that good man, Hamid Karzai, needed the long-term military and rebuilding support from the allied forces in order to help establish a viable democratic country. Pulling the military forces too early allowed the regional warlords to regain control of their areas. Pulling the military and rebuilding support forces too early would lead to the redevelopment of the opium farmers and dealers. Great Britain now faces a major crisis as cheap heroin is flooding the country. Blair should have known this would happen, his advisors told him what would happen. So there will be countless lives wasted because Tony Blair’s actions and lack thereof.

So which Tony Blair he projects should we believe: the FOB international statesman, or the poodle willingly sitting on the lap of the Bush Administration? The hundred of thousands of lives taken in Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts or destroyed through drug abuse is most telling about which Blair projects.

TRD101 knows this: There’s no such thing as magic in the universe. When your senior experts present accurate and detailed scenarios about the damage will happen on taking certain actions, then you need to believe them. You don’t change the information to fit your preconceived ideas. That never works.

And that is The Real Deal 101 for today, like it or not.

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© Copyright Michael Maynard, TRD101, March 2006.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Abused

TRD101:The Abused

by Michael Maynard

April 6, 2006

Finally, some good news from Iraq: Jill Carroll was released from captivity. The full story of her ordeal will come out over the weeks, months and years to come as she heals emotionally and psychologically so that she will be able to recall and recount what happened to her. I was particularly saddened and sickened by the immediate response of her release by the right wingnuts who called her a traitor and other vile terms because of what she said in the last two video tapes of her released by her captors. That it has sunk that low to attack the integrity of a 28 year old female freelance journalist who was just held hostage by Iraqi insurgents for 82 days under extreme duress and other possible horrors is symptomatic of the scum involved in today’s partisan politics. To attack the integrity of a young woman who saw her translator killed immediately after her abduction is pathetic.

I greatly appreciated Senator John McCain coming to Ms. Carroll’s defense. There are those who still question McCain’s “loyalty” and courage even after hearing the accounts of the torture and treatment the Senator received in Vietnam. I can understand those who were detained with McCain having some resentment. However, I suggest that even they should know that, even with the best capture and torture training, everyone has their own unique breaking point, and they should be sympathetic knowing that McCain has to live with what he did after reaching his breaking point for the rest of his life.

Jill Carroll was not trained nor as prepared for being captured. We don’t know what was done to her at this time, but living in fear of being killed, raped and/or tortured for 82 days is horrific. Like McCain, she is going to have to live with the anguish about the videos she made for the rest of her life. Even if she wasn’t harmed physically and no form of psychological torture was used on her, she was still emotionally harmed. She was abused, a pawn of the Great Game of the politics of the Middle East.

She was abused and the memories of what happened to her in captivity will be with her for the rest of her life. In other forums, I have discussed my own dealing with abuse, and while it doesn’t compare with what Ms. Carroll went through, I still have to deal with effects of it every day. Unless you’ve been abused, in whatever form, you have no idea of its effects. We all have our own unique breaking points.

As someone who once considered (albeit very briefly) becoming a priest and previously being a devout Catholic, I have been particularly nauseated at the way the “one holy and apostolic church” has dealt with this abuse scandal. From my years of experience as a management consultant, I know that what you’re able to discover when you find illegal or fraudulent activities going on in any organization, let alone one the global size of the Catholic Church, never is able to go deep enough to uncover the full extent what happened. We will never know the extent that the Vatican and US bishops played three-priest monte to try to avoid detection of the scope of the abuse.

The Boston Globe reported, on March 31, that the Catholic Church spent $467 million in settlements, legal fees, therapy and training in 2005 in handling the ramifications from the previous abuse. The Globe article stated there were still 783 credible claims of abuse in the US in 2005 and 12,000 claims since 1950. Multiply those figures worldwide and you have an epidemic that’s not going to go away..

The Catholic Church’s response to this world-wide abuse problem under both Wojtyla and Ratzinger has been to blame the victims, cover up the Vatican’s involvement and cry poor mouth. The Catholic Church, as based in Rome, is in no danger of bankruptcy by any means. But, by law in the US, each archdiocese is legally considered a separate entity, like a foreign holding company in business. I’m not saying that the Church set up this structure deliberately, in Massachusetts, this is based on laws going back to our state’s original charter. But this structure has been awfully convenient legally for the Vatican for it to escape legal and financial culpability. To claim that the Pope didn’t know about the abuse, when the panicked Cardinal Bernard Law, then of the Boston Archdiocese, was making frequent trips to Rome for meetings is completely disingenuous. At best, if the Popes didn’t know, given the massive scale of the problem, then their executive management and moral leadership should be questioned.

The Catholic Church’s latest means of dealing with the issue, blaming gays, is as pathetic as the wingnuts questioning Jill Carroll’s character. It’s not being gay that led to the extent of the sexual abuse throughout the Catholic Church, gay men are, at worst, no more likely than heterosexual men to abuse children. There have been studies that have shown that gay men are actually less likely to be pedophiles. Meanwhile, there has been little done to show compassion for those abused, other than continuing to make them go through legal hoops and hurdles. The abused have been pushed aside as unfortunate, but necessary collateral damage, just as Jill Carroll will be.

It is the unwillingness of those in power in Washington and in Rome to recognize and deal with the reality of the problems, mostly cultural in nature, that means the abuse will continue and the future abused will suffer. Don’t blame Jill Carroll for the wrongheaded manner in which the invasion of Iraq occurred and continues to be conducted, so that she gets abducted as a political statement. Don’t blame those who have challenged the perverted and perverse culture of the Catholic hierarchy and priesthood for wanting recompense and needing closure.

Don’t blame the abused. They’ve survived. Blame the abusers.

TRD101 knows this: Wide spread organizational abuse , whether it’s abuse of power or abuse of people is directly attributable to management and the organizational culture it promotes. You don’t change the culture without changing the management.

And that is the Real Deal 101 for today, like it or not.

Send your comments and questions or to be added to TRD101's distribution list to:

You can read TRD101's work and participate in a group discussion at and inquire for TRD101 and the blog IMMNSHO. Please feel forward to forward this along to other.

© Copyright Michael Maynard, TRD101, March 2006.