Monday, August 14, 2006

Why Iraq Is Such A Big Mess

A friend of mine pointed my mouse to a good location that, as he typed, is a trove of "the usual Administration incompetence made plain."

There are many things wrong with how the Iraq conflagration is burning, not the least of which was the incorrect decision to open up a front in "the war on terror" where there were no terrorists:
As we now know, Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon had no plan to secure any part of Baghdad. It allowed looters to destroy Iraq's governmental infrastructure and to steal thousands of tons of high explosives, weapons, and radioactive materials. And it had no coherent plan for Iraq's postwar governance. Gordon and Trainor retell very clearly the now familiar story (at least to readers of The New York Review) of the Bush administration's cavalier approach to postwar issues, but they also provide stunning insights into one key aspect of the postwar failure: the decision to invade Iraq with too few troops.
These failed and spurious decisions were made by men with big egos and the tendency to lead by hunch and faith over "assessment by generals on the ground."
Convinced of his own brilliance, Rumsfeld freely substituted his often hastily formed opinions for the considered judgments of his military professionals. He placed in the most senior positions compliant yes-men, like Myers, and punished those who questioned his casually formed judgments. He enjoyed belittling his subordinates. The day before the September 11 attacks, Rumsfeld told a Pentagon meeting that the Defense Department bureaucracy "disrupts the defense of the United States and places the lives of men and women in uniform at risk." His aides followed the same approach: Steve Cambone, Rumsfeld's closest aide, "jested that Rumsfeld thought the Army's problems could be solved by lining up fifty of its generals in the Pentagon and gunning them down."
And the very troubling issue that the W, Rove and Co was hellbent on going into Iraq even when strategically, it was the entirely wrong thing to do:
Saddam Hussein knew it made no strategic sense for the US to invade Iraq and therefore he assumed it wouldn't happen. He had maintained ambiguity about whether he had WMDs not because he had something to hide but to intimidate the two enemies about whom he really was worried, the Iranians and Iraq's Shiite majority.

Even after the invasion began, according to Gordon and Trainor, Saddam could not quite believe the United States intended to go all the way to Baghdad...

Saddam could not imagine that the United States would see an advantage in replacing him with a pro-Iranian, Shiite-dominated regime. Knowing very little about American politics, he could not grasp the ideological fervor of the Pentagon neoconservatives who believed Iraq's democratic transformation would revolutionize the Middle East. Rumsfeld and the neoconservatives could not imagine that Iraqis would not embrace liberation and pro-Western democracy and they assumed that both the invasion and occupation to follow would be easy. For the American generals, to challenge the petty tyrant on the Potomac could have ended their careers; for their Iraqi counterparts, taking on the tyrant on the Tigris could have ended their lives.
American Taxpayer dollars well spent? Nope - the ROI in Iraq has never nor ever been worth the outlay.

1 comment:

isabelita said...

Well, not only did this lot have no plan, they never intended to, IMO. A huge Iraqi civil war would clean out lots of that inconvenient civilian population, getting the US regime closer to what they've always really wanted to do to some place in the Mideast: Pave it and get the oil. Plus have a military presence.
All that about the Iraqis welcoming us, via the spewing maw of the likes of Cheney, was cynical crap. My spouse disagrees, and says they just tried to do it all on the cheap, but I think so much points to a Katrina Approach: Jes set on back, go fishin', buy shoes, shop around for a big old mega-mansion, and let the bad times roll. and keep gulling military families into believing they're "sacrificing for freedom."