Post-9-11 events and analyses
Monday, October 18, 2004
KR: Post-war planning non-existent: Many important details on how the peace was lost. "The U.S. intelligence community had been divided about the state of Saddam's weapons programs, but there was little disagreement among experts throughout the government that winning the peace in Iraq could be much harder than winning a war. "The possibility of the United States winning the war and losing the peace in Iraq is real and serious," warned an Army War College report that was completed in February 2003, a month before the invasion. Without an "overwhelming" effort to prepare for the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the report warned: "The United States may find itself in a radically different world over the next few years, a world in which the threat of Saddam Hussein seems like a pale shadow of new problems of America's own making." ..
The Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency was particularly aggressive in its forecasts, officials said. One briefing occurred in January 2003. Another, in April 2003, weeks after the war began, discussed Saddam's plans for attacking U.S. forces after his troops had been defeated on the battlefield. Similar warnings came from the Pentagon's Joint Staff, the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and the CIA's National Intelligence Council. The council produced reports in January 2003 titled "Principal Challenges in Post-Saddam Iraq" and "Regional Consequences of Regime Change in Iraq."..
Franks' Central Command did have an extensive plan to restore order and begin rebuilding the country, called Operation Desert Crossing, said retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, who drew up the plan and updated it continuously when he led Centcom until 2000. It was never utilized. On March 17, 2003, two days before the war began, ground force commanders asked the Army War College for a copy of the handbook that had governed the U.S. occupation of postwar Germany, which began in 1945.
The same officials who saw no need for a plan to secure and rebuild a defeated Iraq also saw no need to position thousands of U.S. soldiers, including military police, engineers, ordnance disposal teams and civil affairs specialists, to begin taking control in Iraq even before the war against Saddam was over. Longstanding Army doctrine calls for beginning reconstruction in freed areas of a country while fighting rages elsewhere. It also calls for a shift in military forces from combat troops to civil affairs, military police and the like. "Unfortunately, this did not occur despite clear guidance to the contrary," Army Col. Paul F. Dicker wrote in an assessment. ..
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." Like the reconstruction money that was never spent. 10:15:39 PM
Statement by William G. Milliken
: The Republican former governor of Michigan issues a clear and well-written call. "The truth is that President George W. Bush does not speak for me or for many other moderate Republicans on a very broad cross section of issues. Sen. John Kerry, on the other hand, has put forth a coherent, responsible platform of progressive initiatives that I believe would serve this country well. .. As a result, despite my long record of active involvement in the Republican Party, and my intention still to stay in the Republican Party, when I cast my ballot November 2, I will be voting for John Kerry for President." Reminds me of my favorite MoveOn ad, "Stranded Republicans"
. 7:48:54 PM
KR on Iraq's future path: Knight Ridder has had good coverage and analysis on Iraq. " "The unpalatable options are either to make things worse slowly, by keeping our troops there, or to make things worse quickly, by withdrawing them," said James Dobbins, a nation-building expert who was President Bush's envoy to Afghanistan ..
"If you really want to control the situation in Iraq, you have to treat this as major war scenario, and we need a quarter of a million more troops," said former British infantry officer Charles Heyman, an analyst for Jane's Consultancy in London. "The problem is, you're up against the limits of Western military power. We have the technology, but we don't have the boots to put on the ground." Heyman said he thinks the United States and Britain could muster 100,000 additional soldiers, and should do so. Iraqi forces will be unreliable for the foreseeable future, he said. ..
Retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, who commanded U.S. forces in the Middle East until 2000, believes U.S. troops could be in Iraq for up to 10 years. He said he would call in more counter-intelligence teams and ask Arab countries to send English-speaking officers as advisers and planners. ..
"It's not Vietnam - yet - but it is a huge blow to the U.S. ability to project power abroad," said Toby Dodge, an Iraq expert at Queen Mary University in London. "The Bush doctrine died on the outskirts of Baghdad." That doctrine threatened pre-emptive war against rogue states that harbored terrorists or weapons of mass destruction. But two alleged state sponsors of terror that Bush wanted to deter by toppling Saddam Hussein - Iran and Syria - now can be confident that America doesn't have the troop strength to invade them, Dodge said." 10:52:45 AM