Talk:Coalition Provisional Authority: March 2004 Reconstruction of Iraq Memo

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To date/time, the author of the memo has not been identified. The memo's writer, does, however, give away a lot of clues, primary among with is the branch of government within which he/she works:

"We have people in OSD who speak Farsi and/or Arabic but who are prevented from even visiting. There is an unfortunate trend inside the Pentagon where those who can write a good memo are punished by being held back from the field, despite the fact that three weeks' experience could bolster their ability to serve the Pentagon hierarchy and write an informed memo, position paper, or answer accurately a snowflake. Three weeks is enough to get a sense of the lay of the land, especially for those whose language ability is far better than mine. We have all heard that the job of an OSD desk officer is to sit at our desks, in case we are needed on any particular day. More often than not, we sit idle, even when superiors tell others we are busy."

The OSD is the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

The author appears to have rewritten and/or revised the memo. He/she is extraordinarily articulate, extremely well educated,and most likely with a background in Middle Eastern history, hence the reference "Today, Iran holds as much influence over Western Afghanistan than at any time since after the Anglo-Persian War of 1857."

  • "The Anglo-Persian War of 1856-7, drove the Persians out of Herat." i.e., the British drove the Iranians out of Afghanistan.[1]
  • Anglo-Persian War (1856-57) resulted in approximately 2,000 deaths: 500 UK and 1500 Persian. [2]
  • "The Treaty of Paris is signed in March, ending the Anglo-Persian war. The Treaty grants Afghanistan independence." [3]

The author's comment would indicate that the treaty may have ended the conflict but failed to keep the Persians out of Afghanistan.

This is a fine point, not easily found even on the internet ... and the author writes to whomever in such a way as to indicate that the recipient would understand. This is not your usual OSD "desk jockey".

Additionally, the author uses phrases and words that would be easily understood by the recipient(s):

He writes that "Shwarma and ice cream shops do a booming business, and families patronize restaurants. Twenty-somethings and teenagers meet in internet cafes. The internet cafes that we see from the roadside on the main streets are just the tip of the iceberg; many mahalla have their own internet cafes set off in alcoves off side streets."

  • shwarma is a type of well-seasoned Middle Eastern BBQ
  • mahalla, which is a neighborhood committee [4]

However, given his/her other information regarding the unreliability of the electrical delivery, the operation of internet cafes would have to be sporadic at best. Also, ice cream shops would have to be operating the good old fashioned way using crank machines or, also, open sporadically when electricity is available.

He also mentions "Women and girls, some with hair covered and others not, crowded shops selling the latest fashions from Italy via Lebanon, cell phones and electrical gadgets, fancy shoes, and cell phones."

This is not at all surprising since the black market and/or profiteers can always find a way to smuggle just about anything anywhere, particularly into a "war zone." Maybe it's those dollars Saddam had buried about that are making their way into the "Green Zone" kasbah.

He/she is also very, very close to the inner circle of influence: "I had dinner with Chalabi the evening after the constitution was announced, after he returned from a visit to Khadimiya (the evening before the bombing). He was extremely happy with the deal Iraqi liberals and the United States got."

Chalabi is a "whatcha-gonna-do-for-me" type of guy and I can't see him supping with just anybody unless he/she is influencial enough to get him what he desperately needs and that is to BE the GUY.

4/21/04 09:56 (DST) AI