Friday, July 11, 2003

Condi, Rummy botch post-war Iraq planning

A nice long report from Jonathon Landa and Warren Strobel of the Miami Herald here:

The small circle of senior civilians in the Defense Department who dominated planning for postwar Iraq failed to prepare for the setbacks that have erupted over the past two months. ...

The officials didn't develop any real postwar plans because they believed that Iraqis would welcome U.S. troops with open arms and Washington could install a favored Iraqi exile leader as the country's leader. The Pentagon civilians ignored CIA and State Department experts who disputed them, resisted White House pressure to back off from their favored exile leader and when their scenario collapsed amid increasing violence and disorder, they had no backup plan.

"There was no real planning for postwar Iraq," said a former senior U.S. official who left government recently.

In contrast, years before World War II ended, American planners plotted extraordinarily detailed blueprints for administering postwar Germany and Japan, designing everything from rebuilt economies to law enforcement and democratic governments.

Ultimately, however, the responsibility for ensuring that post-Saddam planning anticipated all possible complications lay with Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, current and former officials said.

What a mess. The LA Times paints a great word picture of American soldiers in a humvee caught in traffic -- potentially deadly for them, of course -- since there are no traffic cops and no traffic lights.

As Casey Stengel used to say of the Amazin' Mets: "Can't anyone here play this game?"