Lack of post-war planning for Iraq war

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Russil Wvong

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Oct 25, 2004, 4:38:46 PM10/25/04
to
Xander: Okay, so, crosses, garlic, stake through the heart.

Buffy: That'll get it done.

Xander: Cool! Of course, I don't actually have any of those
things.

Buffy: (hands him a cross) Good thinking.

Xander: Well, the part of my brain that would tell me to bring
that
stuff is still busy telling me not to come down here.

- Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "The Harvest"

So here's a question: even if the *strategy* of "liberating the
Middle
East, starting with Iraq" was crazy, how did the *execution* get so
screwed up?

There's been a number of behind-the-scenes articles describing the
lack
of post-war planning. What seems to have happened is that the people
pushing for the war -- Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld -- didn't want to have
any people involved who were dubious about the war, and that included
most people who actually had expertise on the Middle East. So the
people
making decisions didn't know anything about the Middle East, and they
didn't
have any advice from anyone who knew anything, either. The whole
thing
was an exercise in wishful thinking.

Bismarck in particular never thought that events could be
predicted
with precision. When a policy was pursued a range of outcomes
could
be expected. The trick was to develop policy where the minimum
outcome
(today we might call it a worst case scenario) was acceptable. If
a
triumph ensued great. If it was something in between, don't die of
surprise.

- Eric Bergerud

Links:

Michael R. Gordon, "The Strategy to Secure Iraq Did Not Foresee a 2nd
War,"
New York Times, October 19, 2004.
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/19/international/19war.html?ex=1255838400&en=7d6bb687db591648&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland

Military aides on the National Security Council prepared a
confidential
briefing for Ms. Rice and her deputy, Stephen J. Hadley, that
examined
what previous nation-building efforts had required. ...

If the United States and its allies wanted to maintain the same
ratio
of peacekeepers to population as it had in Kosovo, the briefing
said,
they would have to station 480,000 troops in Iraq. If Bosnia was
used
as the benchmark, 364,000 troops would be needed. If Afghanistan
served
as the model, only 13,900 would be needed in Iraq. The higher
numbers
were consistent with projections later provided to Congress by
Gen.
Eric K. Shinseki, then the Army chief of staff, that several
hundred
thousand troops would be needed in Iraq. But Mr. Rumsfeld
dismissed
that estimate as off the mark.

More forces generally are required to control countries with large
urban populations. The briefing pointed out that three-quarters of
Iraq's population lived in urban areas. In Bosnia and Kosovo, city
dwellers made up half of the population. In Afghanistan, it was
only
18 percent.

Neither the Defense Department nor the White House, however, saw
the
Balkans as a model to be emulated. ...

Warren P. Strobel and John Walcott, "Post-War Planning Nonexistent,"
Knight Ridder Newspapers, October 17, 2004.
http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/9927782.htm

At the Pentagon, the director of the Joint Staff, Army Gen. George
Casey, repeatedly pressed Gen. Tommy Franks, the head of the
Central
Command, for a "Phase 4," or postwar, plan, the senior defense
official said.

"Casey was screaming, 'Where is our Phase 4 plan?' " the official
said. It never arrived. Casey is now the commander of U.S.-led
coalition forces in Iraq. ...

Central Command originally proposed a force of 380,000 to attack
and occupy Iraq. Rumsfeld's opening bid was about 40,000, "a
division-plus," said three senior military officials who
participated
in the discussions. Bush and his top advisers finally approved the
250,000 troops the commanders requested to launch the invasion.
But
the additional troops that the military wanted to secure Iraq
after
Saddam's regime fell were either delayed or never sent.

Four senior officers who were directly involved said Rumsfeld and
Franks micromanaged the complex process of deciding when and how
the
troops and their equipment would be sent to Iraq, called the
Time-Phased Force and Deployment Data, canceling some units,
rescheduling others and even moving equipment from one ship to
another.

As a result, two Army divisions that Centcom wanted to help secure
the
country weren't on hand when Baghdad fell and the country lapsed
into
anarchy, and a third, the 1st Cavalry from Fort Hood, Texas, fell
so
far behind schedule that on April 21 Franks and Rumsfeld dropped
it
from the plan.

Peter Galbraith, "Iraq: The Botched Transition," New York Review of
Books,
September 23, 2004.
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/17406

Bush's attempt to remake Iraq is the centerpiece of his foreign
policy and, almost certainly, will be the defining event of his
administration. The invasion and occupation were highly
ideological
decisions reflecting the philosophy of the President and his
closest
aides. What is astonishing is that the conduct of this venture was
not left to the military and civilian professionals most qualified
to make it work but rather to those most committed to a fuzzy
vision
of a transformed Iraq. In too many cases, these were people with
no
knowledge of Iraq, with no experience in dealing with
post-conflict
environments, with limited experience in making the US bureaucracy
produce results, and with little or no expertise in the
substantive
matters (i.e., finance, trade) for which they were responsible. It
is not surprising that so many gave up after relatively short
periods
in Iraq.

Ariana Eunjung Cha, "In Iraq, the Job Opportunity of a Lifetime,"
Washington Post, May 23, 2004.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A48543-2004May22.html

Ledeen's journey to Baghdad began two weeks earlier when she
received
an e-mail out of the blue from the Pentagon's White House liaison
office. The Sept. 16 message informed her that the occupation
government in Iraq needed employees to prepare for an
international
conference. "This is an amazing opportunity to move forward on the
global war on terror," the e-mail read.

For Ledeen, the offer seemed like fate. One of her family friends
had been killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and it
had affected her family deeply. Without hesitation, she responded
"Sure" to the e-mail and waited -- for an interview, a background
check or some other follow-up. Apparently none was necessary. A
week
later, she got a second e-mail telling her to look for a packet in
the mail regarding her move to Baghdad.

Others from across the District responded affirmatively to the
same
e-mail, for different reasons. Andrew Burns, 23, a Red Cross
volunteer
who had taught English in rural China, felt going to Iraq would
help
him pursue a career in humanitarian aid. Todd Baldwin, 28, a
legislative aide for Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), thought the
opportunity was too good to pass up. John Hanley, 24, a Web site
editor, wanted to break into the world of international relations.
Anita Greco, 25, a former teacher, and Casey Wasson, 23, a recent
college graduate in government, just needed jobs.

For months they wondered what they had in common, how their names
had come to the attention of the Pentagon, until one day they
figured
it out: They had all posted their resumes at the Heritage
Foundation,
a conservative-leaning think tank.

Bob Woodward, "Plan of Attack" (2004). Excerpts:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A19691-2004Apr17

Shortly after New Year's Day 2003, national security adviser
Condoleezza Rice had a private moment with President Bush at his
ranch in Crawford, Tex.

Bush felt the effort to get United Nations weapons inspections
inside Iraq on an aggressive track to make Saddam Hussein crack
was not working. "This pressure isn't holding together," Bush told
her. ...

"How is this happening?" Bush asked Rice. "Saddam is going to get
stronger."

Blix had told Rice, "I have never complained about your military
pressure. I think it's a good thing." She relayed this to the
president.

"How long does he think I can do this?" Bush asked. "A year? I
can't.
The United States can't stay in this position while Saddam plays
games
with the inspectors."

"You have to follow through on your threat," Rice said. "If you're
going to carry out coercive diplomacy, you have to live with that
decision."

"He's getting more confident, not less," Bush said of Hussein. "He
can manipulate the international system again. We're not winning.

"Time is not on our side here," Bush told Rice. "Probably going to
have to, we're going to have to go to war."

In Rice's mind, this was the moment the president decided the
United
States would go to war with Iraq. ...

James Fallows, "Blind into Baghdad," Atlantic Monthly,
January/February 2004.
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=4046db3b.1311535498%40news.individual.net

Garner assembled a team and immediately went to work. What
happened
to him in the next two months is the best-chronicled part of the
postwar fiasco. He started from scratch, trying to familiarize
himself
with what the rest of the government had already done. On February
21
he convened a two-day meeting of diplomats, soldiers, academics,
and
development experts, who gathered at the National Defense
University
to discuss postwar plans. "The messiah could not have organized a
sufficient relief and reconstruction or humanitarian effort in
that short a time," a former CIA analyst named Judith Yaphe said
after attending the meeting, according to Mark Fineman, Doyle
McManus, and Robin Wright, of the Los Angeles Times. (Fineman died
of a heart attack last fall, while reporting from Baghdad.) Garner
was also affected by tension between OSD and the rest of the
government. Garner had heard about the Future of Iraq project,
although Rumsfeld had told him not to waste his time reading it.
Nonetheless, he decided to bring its director, Thomas Warrick,
onto his planning team. Garner, who clearly does not intend to be
the fall guy for postwar problems in Baghdad, told me last fall
that Rumsfeld had asked him to kick Warrick off his staff. In an
interview with the BBC last November, Garner confirmed details of
the firing that had earlier been published in Newsweek. According
to Garner, Rumsfeld asked him, "Jay, have you got a guy named
Warrick on your team?" "I said, 'Yes, I do.' He said, 'Well, I've
got to ask you to remove him.' I said, 'I don't want to remove
him; he's too valuable.' But he said, 'This came to me from such a
high level that I can't overturn it, and I've just got to ask you
to remove Mr. Warrick.'" Newsweek's conclusion was that the man
giving the instructions was Vice President Cheney.

John Barry and Evan Thomas, "The Unbuilding of Iraq," Newsweek,
October 6, 2003.
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3087064/

Mark Fineman, Robin Wright and Doyle McManus, "Preparing for War,
Stumbling
to Peace," Los Angeles Times, July 18, 2003.
http://home.earthlink.net/~imfalse/preparing_for_war_stumblin.html

Russil Wvong
Vancouver, Canada
alt.politics.international FAQ:
www.geocities.com/rwvong/future/apifaq.html

Russil Wvong

unread,
Oct 25, 2004, 4:43:17 PM10/25/04
to

Russil Wvong

unread,
Oct 26, 2004, 1:03:21 AM10/26/04
to
Oops, let me try it again with better formatting....
--

Xander: Okay, so, crosses, garlic, stake through the heart.

Buffy: That'll get it done.

Xander: Cool! Of course, I don't actually have any of those
things.

Buffy: (hands him a cross) Good thinking.

Xander: Well, the part of my brain that would tell me to bring
that stuff is still busy telling me not to come down here.

- Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "The Harvest"

So here's a question: even if the *strategy* of "liberating the Middle
East, starting with Iraq" was crazy, how did the *execution* get so
screwed up?

There's been a number of behind-the-scenes articles describing the
lack of post-war planning. What seems to have happened is that the
people pushing for the war -- Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld -- didn't want to
have any people involved who were dubious about the war, and that
included most people who actually had expertise on the Middle East.
So the people making decisions didn't know anything about the Middle
East, and they didn't have any advice from anyone who knew anything,
either. The whole thing was an exercise in wishful thinking.

Bismarck in particular never thought that events could be
predicted with precision. When a policy was pursued a range of
outcomes could be expected. The trick was to develop policy where
the minimum outcome (today we might call it a worst case scenario)

was acceptable. If a triumph ensued, great. If it was something in

- Eric Bergerud

Links:

Russil Wvong
Vancouver, Canada
www.geocities.com/rwvong/future/apifaq.html

Russil Wvong

unread,
Oct 28, 2004, 6:47:19 PM10/28/04
to
russi...@yahoo.com (Russil Wvong) wrote:
> There's been a number of behind-the-scenes articles describing the
> lack of post-war planning.

Here's another one:

George Packer, "Dreaming of Democracy," New York Times Magazine,
March 2, 2003.
http://www.wehaitians.com/dreaming%20of%20democracy.html

The champions of Iraqi exceptionalism include the neoconservatives
in the administration -- Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and
Douglas Feith at the Pentagon; John Bolton at the State
Department; Lewis Libby in the vice president's office; Richard
Perle, who is chairman of the Defense Policy Board, a panel that
advises the Pentagon -- and numerous scholars, columnists and
activists, most of them identified with the pro-Israel American
right. In recent weeks, President Bush himself has appeared to
embrace the idea as a geopolitical rationale for war. The story
being told goes like this:

The Arab world is hopelessly sunk in corruption and popular
discontent. Misrule and a culture of victimhood have left Arabs
economically stagnant and prone to seeing their problems in
delusional terms. The United States has contributed to the
pathology by cynically shoring up dictatorships; Sept. 11 was one
result. Both the Arab world and official American attitudes toward
it need to be jolted out of their rut. An invasion of Iraq would
provide the necessary shock, and a democratic Iraq would become an
example of change for the rest of the region. Political Islam
would lose its hold on the imagination of young Arabs as they
watched a more successful model rise up in their midst. The Middle
East's center of political, economic and cultural gravity would
shift from the region's theocracies and autocracies to its new,
oil-rich democracy. And finally, the deadlock in which Israel and
Palestine are trapped would end as Palestinians, realizing that
their Arab backers were now tending their own democratic gardens,
would accept compromise. By this way of thinking, the road to
Damascus, Tehran, Riyadh and Jerusalem goes through Baghdad.

The idea is sometimes referred to as a new domino theory, with
tyrannies collapsing on top of one another. Among the harder heads
at the State Department, I was told, it is also mocked as the
Everybody Move Over One theory: Israel will take the West Bank,
the Palestinians will get Jordan and the members of Jordan's
Hashemite ruling family will regain the Iraqi throne once held by
their relative King Faisal I.

At times this story is told in the lofty moral language of Woodrow
Wilson, the language that President Bush used religiously in his
State of the Union address. Others -- both advocates and
detractors -- tell the story in more naked terms of power and
resources. David Frum, the former Bush speechwriter who wrote the
first two words in the phrase ''axis of evil,'' argues in his new
book, ''The Right Man,'' ''An American-led overthrow of Saddam
Hussein -- and a replacement of the radical Baathist dictatorship
with a new government more closely aligned with the United States
-- would put America more wholly in charge of the region than any
power since the Ottomans, or maybe the Romans.''

It's an audacious idea, and part of its appeal lies in the
audacity. It shoves history out of a deep hole. To the idea's
strongest backers, status-quo caution toward the sick, dangerous
Middle East is contemptible, almost unbearable. ''You have to
start somewhere,'' says Danielle Pletka, a vice president of the
American Enterprise Institute, a conservative research
group. ''There are always a million excuses not to do something
like this.'' Who wouldn't choose amputation over gangrene? If we
have the will and imagination, the thinking goes, we can strike
one great blow at terrorism, tyranny, underdevelopment and the
region's hardest, saddest problem.

"It's called magical realism, Middle East-style,'' says Thomas
Carothers of the Carnegie Endowment for International
Peace. Exactly how, he wonders, would this chain reaction occur?
Arab countries are stuck between autocratic governments and
Islamist opposition, he says, and ''our invasion of Iraq isn't
going to remove those political forces. They're going to be
sitting there the next day.'' The war, which is vastly unpopular
in the Arab world, is far more likely to improve the fortunes of
the Islamists, he says, and provoke governments to tighten their
grip, than to ventilate the region with an Arab spring.

The chances of democracy succeeding even in Iraq under American
occupation are highly questionable, Carothers argues. War seldom
creates democracy; according to a recent article in The Christian
Science Monitor, of the 18 regime changes forced by the United
States in the 20th century, only 5 resulted in democracy, and in
the case of wars fought unilaterally, the number goes down to one
-- Panama. Democracy takes root from within, over a long period of
time, in conditions that have never prevailed in Iraq. For
democracy to have a chance there would require a lengthy and
careful American commitment to nation-building -- which could
easily look to Iraqis and other Arabs like colonialism. Nor can we
be sure that democracy, in Iraq or elsewhere, will lead to
pro-American regimes; it might lead to the opposite. ''The idea
that there's a small democracy inside every society waiting to be
released just isn't true,'' Carothers says. ''If we're pinning our
hopes on the idea that this will lead to a democratic change
throughout the region, then we're invading for the wrong reason.''
Jessica T. Mathews, president of the Carnegie Endowment, adds,
'''We've suffered so much that the only alternative is democracy'
-- as soon as you say it, you realize there's a mile between the
beginning and end of that sentence.''

One premise of the strategic rationale for war is that Arab public
opinion -- the resentment turning to fury that will probably greet
an American invasion -- doesn't matter, because it is wrong, even
delusional. ''America,'' Fouad Ajami writes, ''ought to be able to
live with this distrust and discount a good deal of this
anti-Americanism as the 'road rage' of a thwarted Arab world --
the congenital condition of a culture yet to take full
responsibility for its self-inflicted wounds.''

I ran these notions by Hussein Ibish, the Lebanese-born
communications director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination
Committee. He pointed out that some Arab views, especially about
the Palestinians, are based on reality, not manipulated paranoia,
and that anyone genuinely interested in Arab democracy had better
take the popular will into account, delusional or not. If, on the
other hand, Iraq is to be turned back into a colonial mandate as
it was 80 years ago, inching toward ''Heart of Darkness,'' as
Ibish said, we should openly admit that the anticolonial values of
the intervening decade are being cast aside. ''How do you think
this discussion will sound translated into Arabic and broadcast on
Al Jazeera?'' he asked. ''This war will only reinforce the Arab
feeling of humiliation and impotence. It could be a giant
television commercial for Al Qaeda.''

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