BUSH ADMINISTRATION IS RETHINKING ITS OPPOSITION TO BRINGING BACK SENIOR IRAQI ARMY OFFICERS WHO SERVED UNDER SADDAM HUSSEIN

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New York - The Bush administration is rethinking its opposition to bringing back senior Iraqi army officers who served under Saddam Hussein, sources tell TIME. Many in Washington privately say they regret Bremer's decision to disband the Iraqi army on May 23 and U.S. officials are urgently searching for potential leaders of a new Iraqi army, TIME's Michael Elliott reports in this week's issue {on newsstands Monday, Nov. 17} The article includes a chart with details about members of the Iraqi Governing Council, and whether they are up to the task of rebuilding Iraq.

One commander who has attracted attention is Sultan Hashim Ahmad al-Tai, a Sunni Muslim who was Saddam?s Minister of Defense, an Arab businessman in close touch with the U.S. government tells TIME. Though Hashim was on the U.S.'s most-wanted list, this source says he was in contact with the U.S. before the war and was consulted by American officials after he was taken into custody in Mosul. A former CIA official says Hashim is "a great guy, basically an officer?s officer." He adds that Hashim would "bring a real sense of empowerment" to Iraqis who never left the country and now feel shadowed by formerly exiled figures close to Washington. But among Iraqi exiles, Hashim remains a hated figure. If he was apppointed head of the army, says one former intelligence officer who has returned from abroad, "We would kill him."

Iraqi Governing Council: Full of 'Prima Donnas' On the Iraqi street, the Iraqi Governing Council has never garnered much support. Mohammed Thabit Rifat, an accountant in the Ministry of Finance, reflects a common perception among Iraqis-that the council is dominated by exiles who enjoyed life abroad while everyone else suffered under Saddam. "They lived outside the country in luxury," he says, "and came here without knowledge of the traditions and habits of the country."

Even those who for professional reasons might be expected to support the council often knock it. "The Governing Council is composed of prima donnas," says an official of the Coalition Provisional Authority. Qubad Talabani, the son of Jalal Talabani, and his father's chief political adviser, bluntly describes the organization as "a large body that is unable to make decisions. Everything gets clogged up in hours-long debates. It's paralysis."

Islam's In the New Constitution "No Matter What" There is a growing recognition that the new Iraq will look more like a confessional state than many in the Administration had hoped. "Islam's going to be in {the constitution} no matter what," says a CPA official. Says an adviser to the Administration: "We don?t have to make Iraq look like the U.S. If we get {a stable country} that's more Islamic than we would like, that's O.K."

Bush to Bremer: 'Let's Get On with It' The two days of meetings in Washington that followed turned out to be fateful. Although Bremer was not directly blamed for the occupation's troubles in Iraq, it was plain that his halo had slipped. The message that Bush gave his fellow gym rat last week, says a senior official, can be reduced to five words: "Let's get on with it." "It" turns out to be a thorough reworking of Bremer's plan to turn power over to the Iraqis.

U.S. Armed Forces Technology of Limited Use: The U.S. armed forces' awesome technology is of limited use in a low-intensity war, in which guerrillas can attack at a time and place of their choosing. Already the Pentagon has withdrawn space-age systems like the Global Hawk high-flying drones from the conflict, although they could conceivably be used to stop foreign fighters sneaking into Iraq. "Too much of our stuff is too complicated for what is happening in Iraq now," says an Army colonel. "All the smart bombs are worth nothing if you don't know where to drop them." What's needed is intimate knowledge of neighborhoods where the insurgents gather. And that's something the U.S. and its coalition allies lack. "The U.S. Army does not have a fraction of the linguists required to operate in the Central Command's area of responsibility," says a report from the Center for Army Lessons Learned at Fort Leavenworth, Kans.

The full story is on TIME.com at: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101031124-543724,00.html