The Decision to Invade Iraq and Its Aftermath
I strongly urge you to read the study with the above sub-title, mentioned in this post, a study which I think has been widely misinterpreted in the media and by the blogosphere. IMO the author of the paper, Joseph Collins, does an excellent job of laying out the institutional failures that have brought us to where we are now. Here’s a snippet that caught my eye:
In May 2003, war A was ending, but war B was about to begin. We had a complex, flexible plan for war A but no such plan for war B. War A was a rapid, high-tech, conventional battle, war American style, but war B was a protracted conflict, an insurgency with high levels of criminality and sustained sectarian violence, just the sort of ambiguous, asymmetric conflict that the American public finds hard to understand and even harder to endure. The military had not prepared for insurgency and took more than a year to adjust well in the field. From 2005 on, although short of troops, our Soldiers and Marines did a much better job in dealing with the insurgency and laid the security groundwork for successful nationwide elections and the further development of Iraqi security forces. The flare in sectarian violence in 2006 cast a pall over military efforts until the start of the surge in spring 2007. Political development and progress continue to lag behind military efforts.
which jibes nicely with Rusty Shackleford’s observations about “two wars”.
There’s plenty of criticism for specific individuals including then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Bremer but I think the study’s focus is that institutional failures have been the primary source of problems. Among those institutions I’d include not only the White House and the Pentagon but the Congress.
I also wonder if others will read the study as I have? I think that Gen. Jay Garner comes off very well in the description of the aftermath of the invasion, in fact something of a hero.
While we’re on the subject of Iraq, you might want to read Col. Pat Lang’s status report on Iraq, which I humbly note dovetails pretty closely with my own. He concludes his summary:
Bottom line, “there will be blood,” but not as much as there used to be.