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.