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Fox News Contributor Says Iraq Has Been In A Civil War For 6 Months

Reported by Donna - July 25, 2005

Today on Studio B, Shepard Smith spoke with Harlan Ullman who he introduced as a Fox News Contributor and a Senior Advisor for the Center of Strategic and International Studies regarding the Pentagon adopting a new plan to fight terrorism.

While Mr. Ullman had some praise for Donald Rumsfeld, he was extremely critical of the timing of this new plan and also of the White House. He also stated that Iraq has been in a civil war for 6 months now.

The following is my transcript of Shepard Smith and Harlan Ullman. (Paraphrased but pretty much verbatim)

Shepard Smith: (The) Pentagon (is) adopting a far reaching, unified strategy to fight in the war on terror. Some of the details are being kept secret, but it went into effect in March. US News & World Report has the scoop today in the issue that is out on your stands today.

And, according to that magazine, the plan shifts focus away from just Al Qaeda and it's leaders and highlights Islamic extremists in general. It also creates a sort of scorecard to gauge progress and looks at what the U.S. can do for foreign countries where the U.S. military cannot operate.

Joining us now from Washington, the author of Owls and Eagles, Fox News Contributor, Harlan Ullman. (He's) also a Senior Strategic Advisor for the Center of Strategic and International Studies. Harlan, what do you make of this plan?

Harlan Ullman: Well, I think it's a good start but I think it's a little bit late. I think the Pentagon and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld should be commended for doing this because we need a comprehensive statement of what the Department of Defense ought to do. But this should have happened on the 12th of September 2001. (Comment: Agreed.) We're playing too much catch up ball.

And, while I think that the report and what it augurs for the Pentagon and what it needs to do is excellent, the fundemental problem is the U.S. Government. Four and a half years ago the Hart/Rudman Commission, named for former Senators, Gary Hart and Warren Rudman came up with a staggering report on which it said the U.S. Government was dysfunctional in it's organization for national security. (Please read the link, this came out in February, 2001)

And, unless we can correct this larger issue about getting the responsibility, the authority, and most of all, accountability right, what the Pentagon is going to do is important, but it's not going to be enough to win this growing battle against jihadist extremisim.(Comment: And we all know why it is growing, think Iraq War)

SS: It was interesting to me that Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense himself, asks his commanders in the field how he could know whether more terrorists were being killed or captured or more were being created. (More than interesting, it's frightening that the Secretary of Defense doesn't know this)

HU: I know.

SS: I guess he's trying to figure out how to gauge this thing. And, when even Donald Rumsfeld needs to ask this question, you wonder, how good our scorecard is?

HU: Well, I don't think it's particularly good. I think that the news from Iraq, despite the progress that we're making on one front (Comment: Which front? He doesn't say) it's really, really not very good. We're having all sorts of difficulty with the legitimacy and credibility of the Iraqi government. As we know from last week, the report that the Defense Department released to the Congress on the training of Iraqi forces, suggested that training is really not up to scratch and has fallen way behind.

We see what happened in Britain, we see what's happened in Sharm al-Sheikh. For a long time, as you know Shepard, on this program, I have been arguing for a more comprehensive strategy and I think at this stage, the White House really has to sit down, the President has to take charge and assess where we are and (needs) to make some fundemental changes.

We have legislation, as you know, that is revising the intelligence community. But, whether that's going to work or not, nobody knows. So, I think what Mr. Rumsfeld did and the questions he's asked are absolutely right. He's a very bright, tough, capable, guy, but unless this get bumped up to government, the highest levels, we have to coordinate Defense, we've got to coordinate State, the Intelligence agencies, FBI, Treasury and our allies. And, unfortunately, the Department of Defense can only do so much. (Comment: So, this is something that was recommended 4 1/2 years ago with the Hart/Redman Commission and then 9/11 happened and we still haven't done any of this? Where is the outrage?)

The White House and the President are responsible for doing a great deal more. (Comment: Yes, the president is responsible if he's not made this his number one priority because he's had the Commission report since 2/2001 and then 9/11 happened. He's not helped our Homeland Security at all if he hasn't worked toward coordinating this. Instead, he chose to go to war with Iraq)

SS: Harlan, almost out of time, but I want to ask you about this point of civil war. It seems clear and sort of not out there for debate, what the terrorists want, what the insurgents want, is to force the country into civil war. And, a lot of people are asking now -- are we there yet and how do we know when it's civil war?

HU: Well, I think civil war started six months ago as a matter of fact. Because, you have all the rival factions and obviously the insurgents and there are a large number of different insurgents groups.

This is not a homogeneous insurgency. Of course they want to cause a civil war, that's why the Sunni's are targeting the Shia's and vice a versa. How will you know? (Segment ending music comes on) When the violence does not get any better. The news reports are not good and that's why I think a comprehensive study is needed right now. We are really running out of time, Shepard.

SS: Harlan Ullman, the civil war began six months ago, interesting.

Comments: The points made on this segment have been made over and over here on News Hounds. The president is guilty of taking his eye off of the ball as far as 9/11 and terrorism went and instead decided to start a war in Iraq. Nearly four years later we still don't have a comprehensive study with the coordination of the State Department, the Intelligence agencies, the FBI, the Treasury and our allies.

And further trumping all of this is the news that Iraqi troop training is coming along too slowly (from the Defense Department) and now, new reports today that some of the recruits have criminal backgrounds and others are illiterate. As reported on Lou Dobbs Tonight, they may be recruiting insurgents into the Iraqi Security Forces.

I am appalled at the lack of attention to this. Maybe we can find out some more about Natalee Holloway, but I think the Bush administration has a lot of people to answer to; the victims of 9/11, the American soldiers and their families, the American people, the Iraqi people and the world.

Though Smith got out his talking points before the interview began, I give kudos to Smith and Studio B for covering this to this extent - let's see what coverage it gets from the other Fox personalities in the days to come. They will probably focus on the Pentagon starting this comprehensive plan since March and they're on top of it. As evidenced by this interview, it may very well be too late and it's going to take the attention of this president.

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