Monday, September 18, 2006

Ties to GOP Trumped Know-How Among Staff Sent to Rebuild Iraq

Smone Ledeen greets John Hadley at the airport. Ledeen was the daughter of a columnist; Hanley was the 'editor' of a website. They were part of a group of 6 recruited by Jim O'Beirne off the Heritage Foundation website to run a $13 billion budget.

After the fall of Saddam Hussein's government in April 2003, the opportunity to participate in the U.S.-led effort to reconstruct Iraq attracted all manner of Americans -- restless professionals, Arabic-speaking academics, development specialists and war-zone adventurers. But before they could go to Baghdad, they had to get past Jim O'Beirne's office in the Pentagon.

To pass muster with O'Beirne, a political appointee who screens prospective political appointees for Defense Department posts, applicants didn't need to be experts in the Middle East or in post-conflict reconstruction. What seemed most important was loyalty to the Bush administration.

O'Beirne's staff posed blunt questions to some candidates about domestic politics: Did you vote for George W. Bush in 2000? Do you support the way the president is fighting the war on terror? Two people who sought jobs with the U.S. occupation authority said they were even asked their views on Roe v. Wade .

Read the rest at the Washington Post

Related Link:
In Iraq, the Job Opportunity of a Lifetime: Managing a $13 Billion Budget With No Experience