British Cars Leak Oil

And British newspapers leak information on BushCotm ineptitude. That's why I like them.

The Guardian Unlimited reports on a secret memo received by Tony Blair three years ago warning that the U.S. "was disastrously mishandling the occupation of Iraq."

John Sawers, Mr Blair's envoy in Baghdad in the aftermath of the invasion, sent a series of confidential memos to Downing Street in May and June 2003 cataloguing US failures. With unusual frankness, he described the US postwar administration, led by the retired general Jay Garner, as "an unbelievable mess" and said "Garner and his top team of 60-year-old retired generals" were "well-meaning but out of their depth".

That assessment is reinforced by Major General Albert Whitley, the most senior British officer with the US land forces. Gen Whitley, in another memo later that summer, expressed alarm that the US-British coalition was in danger of losing the peace. "We may have been seduced into something we might be inclined to regret. Is strategic failure a possibility? The answer has to be 'yes'," he concluded.
The article also includes a list of the Dear Leader's failures in Iraq. (There aren't nearly enough lists like that in American News. Seeing a list with seven or eight bullet points chronicling various failures is pretty damning.)
· A lack of interest by the US commander, General Tommy Franks, in the post-invasion phase.

· The presence in the capital of the US Third Infantry Division, which took a heavyhanded approach to security.

· Squandering the initial sympathy of Iraqis.

· Bechtel, the main US civilian contractor, moving too slowly to reconnect basic services, such as electricity and water.

· Failure to deal with health hazards, such as 40% of Baghdad's sewage pouring into the Tigris and rubbish piling up in the streets.

· Sacking of many of Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath party, even though many of them held relatively junior posts.
None of this is surprising except that it found its way into print. American Newspapers could learn a few things from their British counterparts. With the exception of NPR, I'm going to make an effort to get more of my news from foreign sources.

Also: The British press should be getting more and more of this sort of thing as Blair fights to keep his job as Prime Minister.

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