Eat The Press

"I've done this much planning for Iraq."


This weekend, Harry Shearer wrote about how little news outlets can sometimes quietly publish big scoops, and the rest of the MSM doesn't even catch it: Last week, the Hampton Roads Daily Press in Virginia reported that retiring commander of the Army Transportation Corps Brig. Gen. Mark Scheid said that Donald Rumsfeld had specifically instructed war planners to NOT plan for a post-war scenario. See below:

"The secretary of defense continued to push on us ... that everything we write in our plan has to be the idea that we are going to go in, we're going to take out the regime, and then we're going to leave," said Brig. Gen. Mark Scheid.

Rumsfeld was insistent on this point: No postwar planning! How do we know? Well, ask Scheid: "I remember the secretary of defense saying that he would fire the next person that said that." That's right, Rumsfeld threatened to FIRE anyone who even TALKED about the possibility of staying in Iraq longer than the quick-and-dirty overthrow. Why? Said Scheid: "He said we will not do that because the American public will not back us if they think we are going over there for a long war."

So: Not only was there no plan for a post-war occupation of Iraq, there was deliberately no plan for a post-war occupation of Iraq — because God forbid the war would be harder to sell that way. Another lie to add to the pile.

This story ran on Friday, and as Harry reported, was picked up by some small-and-medium-size market papers like Kansas City and Duluth, plus, of course, the Huffington Post, where it caught my eye (Harry had seen it via Kevin Drum at the Washington Monthly blog) (HuffPo's crack news team also picked it up, thankyouverymuch.) Yesterday, it was picked up by Tim Grieve at Salon's War Room, so it's getting there: Right now, there are only 33 pickups in Google News for "Mark Scheid" but the stone is rolling (literally, one of those pickups is Rolling Stone). Thanks to the keen eye of the blogosphere, and the diligence of all these people in posting what they know when they know it, the truth comes out. No doubt the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, Time, all of them will soon follow. And those are the stories that most of the country will read — but it's thanks to the little fish that they will be read.

In the meantime, Rumsfeld threatening to fire anyone with the temerity to mention planning for Iraq post-invasion? Will someone please fire this guy already?

NB: Note to Hampton Roads Daily Press: Maybe if you lost the registration-only website, your big scoop would have been picked up faster.

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