As we were saying, it’s the American way:
Let me emphasize that our new Sunni friends insist on being paid for their loyalty. I have heard, for example, a rough estimate that the cost in one area of about 100 square kilometers is $250,000 per day. And periodically they threaten to defect unless their fees are increased. You might want to find out the total costs for these deals forecasted for the next several years, because they are not small and they do not promise to end. Remember, we do not own these people. We merely rent them. And they can break the lease at any moment. At the same time, this deal protects them to some degree from the government’s troops and police, hardly a sign of political reconciliation.
— William E. Odom, Lieutenant General (retired)
Testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Iraq
April 2, 2008
Postscript: Here’s a link to Odom’s complete testimony. “It is the most realistic and disquieting analysis I have seen,” a weapons analyst friend of mine writes. He continues:
Odom’s recommended course of action is at least as realistic and disquieting. It gives an unpleasantly vivid sense of the enormity of the wanton blunder into which the Bush Administration, the Congress, and many active duty and retired senior officers have led the country.
They have wasted hundreds of billions of dollars, destroyed countless lives, wounded the country, and are outraged only by Senator Obama’s pastor shouting words of outrage about the carnage they created to fulfill their fantasy of the “New American Century” in the guise of retribution for the Saudi attacks on our country. Chutzpah!