July 3, 2003
An Open Letter To President Bush From An Employee
Where are the weapons of mass destruction? Turning to his Baghdad proconsul, Paul Bremer, Bush asked, "Are you in charge of finding Iraq WMD?" Bremer said no, he was not. Bush then put the same question to his Iraq military commander, General Tommy Franks. But Franks said it wasn't his job either. A little exasperated, Bush asked, So who is in charge of finding WMD? After aides conferred for a moment, someone volunteered the name of Stephen Cambone, a little-known deputy to Donald Rumsfeld, back in Washington. Pause. "Who?" Bush asked.
- Time Magazine, July 7, 2003
Dear Mr. President,
I was deeply saddened and disappointed to learn from -- not from a fellow staffer, Mr. President, but from the media -- that you had forgotten who I was and what I was doing in your service. Remember your nickname for me -- "Honker" -- not because I have a big nose (though I do), but because, you said, I am "sniffing out those WMD like one of those big-nosed hound dogs for the U.S. of A.?" And then you laughed a lot. Overlong, really, but I am proud to work for you.
Remember when you asked me to come to the Oval Office recently? Remember how you said you had faith in me but maybe I had better look around the Oval Office and see if I could find "any fricking WMD there because I certainly hadn't found any in Iraq?" In front of Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and everybody. I didn't appreciate being forced to crawl around the Oval, looking under the chairs and stuff, or under the sofa cushions, especially with Dick still sitting on them, but I did it, because I understood that you were making a point, I guess.
Perhaps you forgot I was in charge of the hunt for WMD because I had suggested, in what I believed to be a moment of clarity, that someone over in Iraq should be supervising the search for weapons there, as opposed to somebody sitting behind a desk reviewing paperwork about it in D.C. many miles away. Does any of this ring a bell, Mr. President?
Anyway, I wanted to let you know that we haven't found any WMD yet. I didn't mean to sound bitter.
Dr. Stephen Cambone,
Under Secretary of Defense For Intelligence
It's absolutely shocking to me that Bush might not know who Dr. Stephen Cambone is. Although Time described him as a "little-known deputy," he appears to have been linked to Iraq and Rumsfeld for years. I haven't dug up his entire background as yet, but a Pentagon spokesman told me that he had recently been Director of the DoD Office of Programs Analysis and Evaluation before being promoted to his current position -- a position created by Donald Rumsfeld specifically for the war against terrorism. Cambone was sworn in on March 11, 2003.
There are only five Under Secretaries in the Pentagon. Cambone is the first Under Secretary for Intelligence ever.
It appears from a quick search of the web and of documents at the DoD web site that he has long been an advocate and architect of Rumsfeld's plan for transforming the military; a paper he authored in 1996 as a Senior Fellow for the Center for Strategic and International Studies suggested that the ABM treaty with Russia was having a strongly negative effect on U.S. abilities to develop effective Ballistic Missile Defense systems, names Dick Cheney and advocates arguments he set forth as Secretary of Defense under Bush I and thereafter, supporting ways that the U.S. could violate the spirit of the ABM treaty without violating the letter of the law.
It seems fair to conclude that this position led to Bush II's repudiation of the ABM treaty.
Cambone also may have been at the forefront of efforts to redesign military weapons platforms to increase both their standoff ability (the ability to strike targets from afar) and to conduct special operations. One of the developments Cambone has trumpeted involves the emergence of the SSGN class of submarines, which could carry a payload of 154 cruise missiles, as well as having the capability to deliver SEAL special operations teams to combat or covert operation sites using small submersilbiles -- minisubs and other devices -- launched from the submarine itself.
I found it interesting that the official magazine of the the U.S. Submariner force envisioned serious U.S. military engagement in active combat in 2007 and 2008 in its article on SSGN's:
November 15, 2007 – “Reporting live from the Submarine Base in Bangor, Washington, this is Rich Levins of the U.S. News Network. We are here to witness the first deployment of USS Michigan (SSGN-727) as she joins U.S. forces currently engaged in combat operations overseas. Completing conversion last year, Michigan is a TRIDENT submarine modified to carry up to 154 cruise missiles and as many as 66 Special Forces personnel for months at a time.
- "SSGN: A Transformational Force for the U.S. Navy"
Posted by Tom Burka at 9:38 AM