View Full Version : Blame Rummy for a War Plan that Went Wrong

01-15-2006, 12:50 PM
15 Jan. London Tmes Op-Ed - Blame Rummy for a War Plan that Went Wrong (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2092-1985737,00.html) by Andrew Sullivan.

The great conundrum in understanding the conduct of the war in Iraq is a relatively simple one. How on earth did a noble and necessary decision to remove the Saddam Hussein regime result in such a chaotic occupation? The initial campaign to seize the country was brilliant, but almost immediately it was clear that something was awry.

The looting and mayhem in the wake of the collapse of a totalitarian state were eminently predictable. So why did the US and coalition armies simply let it happen? Why did they allow whole swathes of Iraq to descend into near-anarchy or control by Ba’athists and jihadist insurgents, make no attempt to seal the borders and dither for more than a year about the constitutional way forward?...

Well, we are beginning to get some answers — drip by drip, as former officials begin to leak or write memoirs. Two new books help a little. The first, My Year in Iraq, is by Paul Bremer, the former de facto pro-consul in Iraq in the critical early period. The second is a new biography of George W Bush, Rebel-In-Chief by Fred Barnes, published this week. Barnes, a former colleague and friend, has great White House access. If you piece together both books, you get a glimpse into how the most secretive presidency in years operated.

The picture is not pretty. Back in the spring of 2003 it had seemed obvious to most rational observers that we had too few troops to maintain order in Iraq. A mere 170,000 to control a country of 25m in a power vacuum was a joke. Towns and cities could be cleared of insurgents but never retained, because we had too few troops to stay put.

The borders were porous. We didn’t have enough troops to secure the weapons sites that the war had been designed to eradicate. General (Eric K) Shinseki famously argued before the war that we needed 500,000 troops to do the job. He was fired. Many pro-Bush military analysts, besotted with Donald Rumsfeld’s vision of a lean, mean fighting machine, told us we knew nothing about military strategy. They planned on about 40,000 troops remaining a few months after the fall of Saddam...