Friday | July 11, 2003
No planning for postwar Iraq
By Steve Gilliard
I was planning to get some sleep, but then I ran across this story
'No real planning for postwar Iraq'
WASHINGTON - 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 Pentagon planning group, directed by Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith, the department's No. 3 official, included hard-line conservatives who had long advocated using the American military to overthrow Saddam. Its day-to-day boss was William Luti, a former Navy officer who worked for Vice President Dick Cheney before joining the Pentagon.
The Pentagon group insisted on doing it its way because it had a visionary strategy that it hoped would transform Iraq into an ally of Israel, remove a potential threat to the Persian Gulf oil trade and encircle Iran with U.S. friends and allies. The problem was that officials at the State Department and CIA thought the vision was badly flawed and impractical, so the Pentagon planners simply excluded their rivals from involvement.
As one example, the Pentagon planners ignored an eight-month-long effort led by the State Department to prepare for the day when Saddam's dictatorship was gone. The "Future of Iraq" project, which involved dozens of exiled Iraqi professionals and 17 U.S. agencies, including the Pentagon, prepared strategies for everything from drawing up a new Iraqi judicial code to restoring the unique ecosystem of Iraq's southern marshes, which Saddam's regime had drained.
Virtually none of the "Future of Iraq" project's work was used once Saddam fell.
But Chalabi lacked popular support - graffiti in Iraq referred to "Ahmad the Thief" - and anti-American anger was growing over the looting and anarchy that followed Saddam's ouster.
However, the Pentagon had devised no backup plan. Numerous officials in positions to know said that if Pentagon civilians had a detailed plan that anticipated what could happen after Saddam fell, it was invisible to them.
Just amazing. A total lack of realistic planning and consultation. Now American boys are dying because of it. This and the Niger fraud are directly related. No negative information could get through. What a total abdication of responsibililty.
Too bad Bush and Cheney didn't realize that no one elected Richard Perle to anything. They will pay for his arrogance with their jobs in the end.Posted July 11, 2003 10:58 PM