How We Fucked Up The War

From Holden:

A Pentagon-commissioned study of U.S. military operations in Iraq by the Rand Corporation (which Rummy has been sitting on for a month) says we didn’t do a very good job.

A study of U.S. military operations in Iraq, prepared for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, sharply criticizes Pentagon attempts to plan for the aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion two years ago, saying stabilization and reconstruction issues “were addressed only very generally” and “no planning was undertaken to ensure the security of the Iraqi people.”

The study, done by the Rand Corp., an independent research group that was created by the U.S. government and frequently does analyses for the Pentagon, also says the experience in Iraq has underscored the Pentagon’s tendency “not to absorb historical lessons” when battling insurgencies. It notes a lack of political-military coordination and of “actionable intelligence” in the counterinsurgency campaign, and urges creation in the Army of a “dedicated cadre of counterinsurgency specialists.”

“Shock and Awe” Was Shockingly Awful

In discussing the conduct of the war, the report notes that the opening salvo of airstrikes, dubbed “shock and awe” by some at the Pentagon, did not precipitate the collapse of the government that airpower advocates had hoped for.

“The attacks on ‘regime’ targets (leadership, command and control and infrastructure) were able to disrupt but not eliminate the ability of Iraqi leaders to communicate with the Iraqi people and military forces,” the report says. “For the future, a caution is in order with respect to expectations of what air attacks on ‘regime’ targets can achieve.”

Allowing the Department of Defense to do the State Department’s Job Cost Americans Their Lives

Planning for the invasion’s aftermath rested with the Defense Department, the report recalls, rather than with the State Department or the National Security Council. “Overall, this approach worked poorly,” the report says, noting that the Pentagon lacked the expertise, funding authority and contacts with civilian aid organizations for the job.

Rumsfeld June 2003 Statement That Our Forces Were Not Fighting A Guerrilla War Was Wrong

When the insurgency arose, the report says, U.S. authorities failed to understand how it differed from past “wars of national liberation” or from a “classical guerrilla-type campaign.”

The Bubble Also Cost Americans Their Lives

The report recommends setting up “some process for exposing senior officials to possibilities other than those being assumed in their planning.”