In a pickle.

From the January 21, 2005 New Yorker:

What the Pentagon can now do in secret.

George W. Bush‚Äôs re?´lection was not his only victory last fall. The President and his national-security advisers hav consolidated control over the military and intelligence communities‚Äô strategic analyses and covert operations to a degre unmatched since the rise of the post-Second World War national-security state. Bush has an aggressive and ambitious agenda fo using that control‚Äîagainst the mullahs in Iran and against targets in the ongoing war on terrorism‚Äîduring his second term. Th C.I.A. will continue to be downgraded, and the agency will increasingly serve, as one government consultant with close ties to th Pentagon put it, as ‚Äúfacilitators‚Äù of policy emanating from President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney. This process is well under way

Despite the deteriorating security situation in Iraq, the Bush Administration has not reconsidered its basic long-range policy goal in the Middle East: the establishment of democracy throughout the region. Bush‚Äôs re?´lection is regarded within the Administration as evidence of America‚Äôs support for his decision to go to war. It has reaffirmed the position of the neoconservatives in the Pentagon‚Äôs civilian leadership who advocated the invasion, including Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and Douglas Feith, the Under-secretary for Policy. According to a former high-level intelligence official, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff shortly after the election and told them, in essence, that the naysayers had been heard and the American people did not accept their message. Rumsfeld added that America was committed to staying in Iraq and that there would be no second-guessing.

“This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush Administration is looking at this as a huge war zone,” the former high-level intelligence official told me. “Next, we’re going to have the Iranian campaign. We’ve declared war and the bad guys, wherever they are, are the enemy. This is the last hurrah—we’ve got four years, and want to come out of this saying we won the war on terrorism.”

Bush and Cheney may have set the policy, but it is Rumsfeld who has directed its implementation and has absorbed much of the public criticism when things went wrong—whether it was prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib or lack of sufficient armor plating for G.I.s’ vehicles in Iraq. Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have called for Rumsfeld’s dismissal, and he is not widely admired inside the military. Nonetheless, his reappointment as Defense Secretary was never in doubt.

Rumsfeld will become even more important during the second term.

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