Monday, September 04, 2006


I've been reading Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq recently. My wife, the librarian, brought this home for me to read. I'm almost 1/2 done, because it take a lot to stomach the stupidity (if true) that our leadership has been led into.

Here's what I am understanding thus far:
1) We had little to no plan for after conflict reconstruction.
2) Wolfowitz wanted to jeopardize the entire operation by having fewer troops in the theater than prominent generals requested
3) Bremer really screwed things up when he dismissed the Iraqi army, fired all upper level government employees (assuming they were Baathists), and denied pensions to them.

The book is not about whether or not our motive for going to Iraq was correct; its more about how poorly our leadership has done in transitioning Iraq away from Saddam. It makes me believe that the bureaucrats like Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith, Donald Rumsfeld, et al do not really understand regime change, much less basic project management skills. The amount of hubris ("attitude" for those of you in Thayer) these guys exhibited is amazing; maybe they should have had their asses kicked a few more times in junior high to take them down a notch or two before taking high ranking positions in the government.

And, AND if bureaucrats as aforementioned exist in the Defense department, they are probably to be found in other nooks and crannies of the Beast. Even the USDA; from my experience going to the Farm Service Agency office in Corydon, I think it has dripped down to the lowest levels.

Regardless of our reasons for going to Iraq, it is clear we did not have a plan, at least an outline of a plan, to complete the mission (if that mission was even totally defined). No matter if Saddam had WMDs or not, it was decided to take him out; fine, but what are you going to do with the rest of the country, Rummy, Wolfy, and Dougy? When your boy Bremer disbanded the army do you think it might be a potential source of pissed off people with knowledge about guns, bombs, and street fighting? Might it be a good idea to keep these guys on ice doing detail while still being paid to keep some sort of stability?

I'm no left wing kook, but I know a rolling cluster f___ when I see one.

So, how do we get out of this mess? Don't look to the D's for leadership. We need a real, hard plan, hopefully from the time-tested military, to take care of this situation. Bush should jettison his neo-cons, but probably will not by the end of 2008. We need real leadership with real solutions, not more hubris and suppositions.


Blogger Jordan said...

Ah, the age of the internet. While I will admit the Iraq War has not been perfect, I wonder what today's press would have said about the battles in WWII?

War is hell. It's supposed to be. I want war to be ugly, dirty and nasty, if for no other reason than to keep future generations from turning to it.

And don't forget hindsight is always 20/20 [without Barbara Walters, of course].

8:19 AM, September 05, 2006  
Blogger bgunzy said...

Sure, war is dirty, nasty, evil. But if you know you're going to war, you should think a bit about what happens after the bullets stop flying.

6:47 PM, September 05, 2006  
Blogger Jordan said...

I am just not sure I believe the validity of the book or statements made. Call me naive, but I believe there had to be some post war planning.

Like say, take their oil...make our gas 25 cents.

8:06 PM, September 05, 2006  
Blogger IrishWalsh said...

I believe the purpose of the war was needed and just. However I am having a hard time swallowing the party line that everything is hunky dory in Iraq now that it is over. Much of it could not be anticipated sure, but much of the rest of it could be. I get the feeling that they planners expected a repeat of the first war with Iraqi fighters surrendering to news crews.

The main problem that I see is that the American military is hands down the strongest in the world at fighting other armies. We are not fighting a massed wall of enemy armor right now but rather snake in the grass guerilla tactics. They worked against us in Vietnam (when combined with the enemy within, our media) and they seem to be now. Don't get me wrong, I think the number of casualties we have taken is next to trivial, I am just saying we kick ass in straight out combat but what we are in now isn't something we have experience with.

I don't buy into the line that Iraq is in civil war, but it is trucking in that direction.

3:27 PM, September 08, 2006  
Blogger Don said...

Way too late now, I realize, but I had thought that our plan was to start reconstruction immediately after Saddam went into hiding. I had pictured our people spreading small quantities of money around by giving the local mayor, or mullah or tribal chief – whoever seemed to have some authority and some connections – some small jobs to do and a little money to hire local people to do it. For example, “Here’s $500 bucks. Get fifty men to clear those burned out cars out of here and clean up the streets.”

Sure, there would have been waste and some graft, and somebody with a brain would have had to figure out the right balance of how much money gives them something to live on but not enough to buy arms and ammunition, but overall, this would have bought us some loyalty, would have given the Iraqis hope that things were improving, and would have given some Iraqi ex-military people something constructive to do with their time.

I guess your book says this isn’t what happened.

10:21 PM, October 09, 2006  

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