So much for de-Baathification....
Ahmad Chalabi, an Iraqi opposition leader favored by the Pentagon, says he has raised with President Bush's envoy to Iraq his concern that the United States appears ready to admit senior officials from Saddam Hussein's Baath Party in a transitional government here....
Jay Garner, the retired United States lieutenant general appointed to head the transition office here, has met with some director generals from Mr. Hussein's ministries, who by definition had to be members of the Baath Party. He said at a news conference several days ago that membership in the Baath Party would not in itself disqualify Iraqis from retaining their administrative jobs, but that close associates of Mr. Hussein and known violators of human rights would be barred.
... other representatives of the Iraqi National Congress, said that the Central Intelligence Agency had retained Saad Janabi as a key adviser. The opposition members identified Mr. Janabi as a former assistant to Hussein Kamel, Mr. Hussein's son-in-law who oversaw weapons programs, defected to Jordan in 1995, and was killed by Mr. Hussein's government when he later returned to Iraq.
--New York Times
This is especially curious because, as the Times article (written by Judith Miller) notes,
An American military official said today he feared that the recent attacks on American soldiers in Baghdad was the work of isolated members of the Baath Party.
This is also the opinion of a general quoted in the MSNBC story about the latest incident in Fallujah (the grenade attack that injured seven U.S. soldiers):
Brig. Gen. Dan Hahn, the Army V Corps chief of staff, said U.S. forces had solid intelligence that the “bad actors” in Fallujah were members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party who were using crowds as cover during demonstrations.
“The people in the city want to get rid of this problem. We have people in the city coming up to tell us who the bad actors are,” Hahn said.
I can't tell how much of what's going on in Fallujah is citizen outrage and how much, if any, is unconventional warfare on the part of Baathists or others. But I keep thinking about something I mentioned last month, a Washington Post op-ed piece by Gary Anderson, a retired Marine Corps general, published on April 2. Anderson speculated on what Saddam Hussein's strategy might be; here's what he thought might follow an inevitable defeat by the U.S. and Britain:
The second phase would be a protracted guerrilla war against the "occupation," which the American-British coalition bills as liberation. It is now obvious that the Baath Party has seeded the urban and semi-urban population centers of the country with cadres designed to lead such a guerrilla movement; this is not a last-minute act of desperation or an afterthought. Americans have overrun facilities that have been in place for some time. The war would be waged as an attritional struggle against the occupying forces and any Iraqi interim government. Attempts at free elections would be subverted and portrayed as a sham. The strategic objective of this phase would be to have the Americans and British tire of the effort and turn it over to the United Nations.
Phase III would then be to amass enough semi-conventional power to overwhelm the U.N. and interim government mechanisms. In other words, the concept would be to stage a combination of "Black Hawk Down" and the 1975 North Vietnamese offensive that crushed South Vietnam.
Here's what the general quoted in the MSNBC story says now:
“If you look at the country as a whole, it is stable,” said Hahn. However, he said the massive amount of arms and ammunition being uncovered daily across Iraq posed a major problem.
“The entire country is almost like an ammunitions and weapons dump. And they’ve placed them in places you would not expect,” he said. “There are weapons here from every country in the world that makes weapons.”
In the northern city of Mosul, 153 arms caches had already been found, one containing 1.2 million mortar rounds and 65,000 artillery shells. Some 150 arms and ammunition sites have been discovered in Baghdad, officials said.
Has Iraq been seeded with guerrillas and ammo? Is what U.S. soldiers are facing in Fallujah some sort of cocktail of legitimate popular anger and asymmetrical war? And are U.S. transition people making this easier by embracing some not-so-nice Baathists?