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Another retired general speaks out
Posted by: McQ on Sunday, April 16, 2006

This time, in support of Rumsfeld. LTG Michael DeLong, a USMC general who was the number 2 man in CENTCOM has his say in the NY Times. It hits me as a pretty level headed assessment of Rumsfeld, warts and all, by a guy who worked with him almost daily. He was tuned into the whole operation from 9/11 through the Iraq war as the "answer man" for Rumsfeld - the guy who had to brief him twice a day during the ramp-up and execution of the war plan.

Key points:
When I was at Centcom, the people who needed to have access to Secretary Rumsfeld got it, and he carefully listened to our arguments. That is not to say that he is not tough in terms of his convictions (he is) or that he will make it easy on you (he will not). If you approach him unprepared, or if you don't have the full courage of your convictions, he will not give you the time of day.
Sounds like every boss I ever had in the military. Be fully prepared and also be prepared to vigorously and thoroughly defend your ideas.
Mr. Rumsfeld does not give in easily in disagreements, either, and he will always force you to argue your point thoroughly. This can be tough for some people to deal with. I witnessed many heated but professional conversations between my immediate commander, Gen. Tommy Franks, and Mr. Rumsfeld — but the secretary always deferred to the general on war-fighting issues.
I'm not sure what else a military commander would want. The result?
Ultimately, I believe that a tough defense secretary makes commanders tougher in their convictions.
I agree.

DeLong says Rumsfeld was (is) a micromanager and wanted to be involved in all the decisions made. But once made, the SecDef left it up to the people in the field to execute the operation. While I may not like micromanagement (and frankly think it can be detrimental at times) it's Rumsfeld's perogative to operate in that manner. And the fact that he knew when to back off of that aspect of his managment style (when it became a purely military matter in terms of execution) ameliorates the situation somewhat.

From people I've talked with, Rumsfeld went through the ossified Pentagon like a dose of salts when he showed up and that rankled many senior ranking officers. He had definite ideas of where he wanted to take the future force (again, as is his perogative). DeLong gives us an example:
Mr. Rumsfeld did not like waste, which caused some grumbling among the military leadership even before 9/11. He knew that many of the operational plans we had on the books dated back to the 1990's (some even to the late 80's), and he wanted them updated for an era of a more streamlined, technological force. He asked us all: "Can we do it better, and can we do it with fewer people?"

Sometimes General Franks and I answered yes, other times we answered no. When we said no, there was a discussion; but when we told him what we truly needed, we got it.
Couple that with killing some weapons programs which were highly desired by certain branches of the military (and on which some careers were built) and you can imagine the resistance (and enemies) that would make.

But on the key point of the conduct of the war and the ability to wage it as the commanders felt was necessary, DeLong is unequivocal:
I never saw him endangering troops by insisting on replacing manpower with technology. In both Afghanistan and Iraq, we always got what we, the commanders, thought we needed.

This is why the much-repeated claims that Mr. Rumsfeld didn't "give us enough troops" in Iraq ring hollow. First, such criticisms ignore that the agreed-upon plan was for a lightning operation into Baghdad. In addition, logistically it would have been well nigh impossible to bring many more soldiers through the bottleneck in Kuwait. And doing so would have carried its own risk: you cannot sustain a fighting force of 300,000 or 500,000 men for long, and it would have left us with few reserves, putting our troops at risk in other parts of the world. Given our plan, we thought we had the right number of troops to accomplish our mission.
They ring hollow for me as well. When you consider the logistics involved in supporting the force that some of the arm-chair brigade felt were absolutely necessary, you can see the risk, outlined by DeLong, that fielding such a force for this operation would have entailed.

The failure? As we've all learned, the failure in this operation was not anticipating the absolutely worst case scenario and planning for it. DeLong describes that:
The outcome and ramifications of a war, however, are impossible to predict. Saddam Hussein had twice opened his jails, flooding the streets with criminals. The Iraqi police walked out of their uniforms in the face of the invasion, compounding domestic chaos. We did not expect these developments.

We also — collectively — made some decisions in the wake of the war that could have been better. We banned the entire Baath Party, which ended up slowing reconstruction (we should probably have banned only high-level officials); we dissolved the entire Iraqi Army (we probably should have retained a small cadre help to rebuild it more quickly). We relied too much on the supposed expertise of the Iraqi exiles like Ahmad Chalabi who assured us that once Saddam Hussein was gone, Sunni Arabs, Shiites and Kurds would unite in harmony.
There, in a nut shell, is why the Iraq that exists today exists as it does. Poor assumptions (or perhaps assumptions that were too optomistic) which led to poor planning. But again DeLong takes exception to the conventional wisdom that says we had no plan at all:
But that doesn't mean that a "What's next?" plan didn't exist. It did; it was known as Phase IV of the overall operation. General Franks drafted it and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the State Department, the Pentagon, the Treasury Department and all members of the Cabinet had input. It was thoroughly "war-gamed" by the Joint Chiefs.
And who were a part of all of that? Most of the very same generals who now want Rumsfeld's head. LTG DeLong points out that it is because of the above he isn't real supportive of the 6 generals who've now spoken out for Rumsfeld's removal. They had their chance then to speak out ... and they didn't. LTG DeLong doesn't mince words when he says they're "wrong":
Thus, for distinguished officers to step forward and, in retrospect, pin blame on one person is wrong. And when they do so in a time of war, the rest of the world watches.
Yup. If they want to point fingers, they should be spending a lot of time in front of the mirror.
 
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There, in a nut shell, is why the Iraq that exists today exists as it does. Poor assumptions (or perhaps assumptions that were too optomistic) which led to poor planning
What a crock.

First of all, an assumption - unlike a presumption - is a supposition that is not based on reasonable evidence. To the extent that you suggest that BushCo relied on suppositions not based on reasonable evidence, i agree with you.

But that wasn’t the main problem, and you know it. The main problem is that decisions and assumptions about the post-invasion situation were ideologically driven. They weren’t reasonable guesses that turned out to be wrong. They weren’t decisions based on all the available evidence. They were decisions that flowed from a pre-determined ideological vision of a future Iraq. Why didn’t BushCo assume the worst case scenario? Because it did not fit their ideological vision.

It’s the same reason they cherry-picked facts. It’s the same reason they selectively leaked. BushCo had a vision of a re-made Iraq and a re-made Middle East that was more or less from the NeoCon playbook. The assumptions weren’t based on history, or data (hell,Bush didn’t even know the difference between a Shia and a Sunni on the eve of war) or anything empirical or even common sense. They were based on an ideological vision of the world. BushCo thought if it removed Saddam, all would be well. Because that is what the NeoCon playbook said.

Indeed, if one looks at Cheney’s transofrmation between Bush I and Bush II, it becomes abundantly clear what happened. Here is Cheney from 1991:
I think that the proposition of going to Baghdad is also fallacious. I think if we were going to remove Saddam Hussein we would have had to go all the way to Baghdad, we would have to commit a lot of force because I do not believe he would wait in the Presidential Palace for us to arrive. I think we’d have had to hunt him down. And once we’d done that and we’d gotten rid of Saddam Hussein and his government, then we’d have had to put another government in its place.

What kind of government? Should it be a Sunni government or Shi’i government or a Kurdish government or Ba’athist regime? Or maybe we want to bring in some of the Islamic fundamentalists? How long would we have had to stay in Baghdad to keep that government in place? What would happen to the government once U.S. forces withdrew? How many casualties should the United States accept in that effort to try to create clarity and stability in a situation that is inherently unstable?

I think it is vitally important for a President to know when to use military force. I think it is also very important for him to know when not to commit U.S. military force. And it’s my view that the President got it right both times, that it would have been a mistake for us to get bogged down in the quagmire inside Iraq.
What was he basing his trepidation on in 1991? Facts. Many historical.

But in the run up to the current war, he said we would be greeted as liberators.

So what changed in the 12 years between 1991 and 2003? Did the sectarian splits become less pronounced? Did Islam become less fundamental?

Answer: Nothing changed. Except the ideology. Dick and Rummy got on board with the NeoCon program.

Sorry. It wasn’t poor assumptions. It was poor ideology. Many are finally figuring it out. Fukiyama is just one. Dick and Rummy can never admit they got the ideology wrong. So that is why Rummy will never be fired.

Quit giving them a pass, McQ.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
But that wasn’t the main problem, and you know it. The main problem is that decisions and assumptions about the post-invasion situation were ideologically driven. They weren’t reasonable guesses that turned out to be wrong. They weren’t decisions based on all the available evidence. They were decisions that flowed from a pre-determined ideological vision of a future Iraq. Why didn’t BushCo assume the worst case scenario? Because it did not fit their ideological vision.
The fact that you appear to believe that what we are in today is the worst possible scenario provides even more evidence to me that you are a fool.

Have you already forgotten about the hundreds of thousands of refugees that were supposed to flee to neighboring countries? So many that the UN was cutting aid to Africa to build up stocks to handle the flood? The supposed destruction of the US Army during the sandstorms or during its attempts to invade Baghdad? The tens of thousands of US dead?

There’s an almost infinite way for things to go wrong, MK. Fools such as yourself look around every day and believe that creating and maintaining civilization is an easy task.

It isn’t.

(And the times in the past when I’ve asked you point-blank in this forum what you would have done differently to make things better, I would get some mealy-mouthed BS it wasn’t your fault that we were in the mess which you decried.)

Nothing in the world changed in 12 years? What a fool you are.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
McQ said:
The failure? As we’ve all learned, the failure in this operation was not anticipating the absolutely worst case scenario and planning for it.
I said:
Why didn’t BushCo assume the worst case scenario?
Mark said:
The fact that you appear to believe that what we are in today is the worst possible scenario provides even more evidence to me that you are a fool.
I usually avoid ad hominem attack. I usually don’t need to engage in such tactics. Wingers make themselves look foolish on their own.

I never said that we are in the worst case scenario. I said that Bush failed to plan for it. McQ said the same thing. We differ as to why.

You obviously have no critical reading skills Mark.
There’s an almost infinite way for things to go wrong, MK. Fools such as yourself look around every day and believe that creating and maintaining civilization is an easy task.

It isn’t
Duh.

You obviously have not read a single thing I have written. I have always said - since before the war - that governing post-war iraq would be a nightmare. I have never said it would be easy. Why in the world would I - of all people - claim that it would be easy to govern posr-war Iraq? That is why I opposed the war from the beginning.

In fact, you make my point for me:
(And the times in the past when I’ve asked you point-blank in this forum what you would have done differently to make things better, I would get some mealy-mouthed BS it wasn’t your fault that we were in the mess which you decried.)
The reason you have asked me what I would have done differently is because I have said that it was a mistake to invade. Why did I say it was a mistake to invade? Because I knew - and apparently Cheney did in 1991 - that post-invasion Iraq would be a nightmare to govern.

The reason you are forced to resort to ad hominem attack is because you have got so twisted around the axle that you end up contradicting yourself.

You claim on the one hand that I thought it would be easy to govern post-invasion Iraq.

And then you take note of the fact that I said it would be difficult, and then you ask what I would do differently. And then you even reference that I would have not have gone into Iraq in the first place. As you note, I have said it wasn’t my fault that we invaded because I was against it from he beginning. And why wouldn’t I have gone in?

Because - as you yourself note - I knew that governing post-invasion Iraq wouldn’t be easy.

As for answers on governing post-invasion Iraq? I don’t have any. Not every problem has a solution. And no, I didn’t create this mess.
Nothing in the world changed in 12 years? What a fool you are.
Well, true. Saddam was less of a threat in 2003 than he was in 1991. I guess that changed. His army was a shell of itself. He was hemmed in by no-fly zones. His biological and chemical weapons stock had degraded to the point of non-existence.

So yes - things did change in 12 years.

But the nature of Iraqi society did not change. And that is what Cheney was alluding to in 1991. And that’s what Iwas alluding to as well. You know it Mark.

Oh Mark - I kind of feel sorry for you. I can sense your rage. You are angry. That’s understandable. You are defedning the indefensible. It’s hard work. So you lash out at the likes of me. That is to be expected.

You are forgiven for your ad hominem attack.



 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
First of all, an assumption - unlike a presumption - is a supposition that is not based on reasonable evidence. To the extent that you suggest that BushCo relied on suppositions not based on reasonable evidence, i agree with you.
I’m not suggesting "BushCo" did anything. I’m saying the Pentagon planners did a poor job. So is LTG DeLong.

So again we have one of your red herrings flopping on the pavement.
But that wasn’t the main problem, and you know it. The main problem is that decisions and assumptions about the post-invasion situation were ideologically driven. They weren’t reasonable guesses that turned out to be wrong. They weren’t decisions based on all the available evidence. They were decisions that flowed from a pre-determined ideological vision of a future Iraq. Why didn’t BushCo assume the worst case scenario? Because it did not fit their ideological vision.
Speaking of crocks, where’s the ideological premise found in Iraqi policemen walking off the job? Where’s the ideological premise that saw the Iraqi army collapsing and disappearing?

As usual, you want to blame ideology where unforseen circumstance is the blame, because blaming it on idelogical blindness fits your narrow (and ideological) view of why this all happened. It’s called projection, MK, and you’re one of the best at it.

It is also why alternate and common sense explanations by people who were involved in it up to their eyeballs and are willing to admit the mistakes that were made are waved off as ’a crock’.
It’s the same reason they cherry-picked facts. It’s the same reason they selectively leaked.
Strawman ... we’re talking about military planners and the assumptions they used to plan for the invasion of Iraq.
BushCo had a vision of a re-made Iraq and a re-made Middle East that was more or less from the NeoCon playbook.
Really? And what is that, MK? Silly rhetoric aside, describe what the "NeoCon" playbook required for a "re-made Iraq and ME".

It is your term and your assertion. Back it up with some facts.
The assumptions weren’t based on history, or data (hell,Bush didn’t even know the difference between a Shia and a Sunni on the eve of war) or anything empirical or even common sense.


Wrong. History and data show very few if any armies and police forces disappearing during an invasion.

And again, this is about the planners in the Pentagon. They weren’t limited to what you like to refer to as "BushCos" interpretation of intelligence.

They are strategic and tactical planners who attempt formulate assumptions based on both history and data. Apparently nothing indicated the Iraqi army and police force would disappear, and I challenge you to point to any pre-war intelligence that claimed they would.

The failure here is that they didn’t plan for it even if the data didn’t indicate it would happen, not that it was indicated and ignored. They didn’t put a ’go to hell’ plan on the table which assumed all the worst. That was a planning error and we’ve suffered for it. It had nothing to do with your preoccupation and willingness to blame everything on "BushCo" to include your occassional bouts of verbal diarrhea.

The rest of your comment is more of the same.

Wrong subject, wrong focus, wrong answers.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
I usually avoid ad hominem attack.
Laugh of the day.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
I remember reading an article in Time magazine shortly after the first gulf war which expressed shock and dismay at the mean and nasty way that Gen. Schwarzkopf trated his subordinates. He even, so the article said, threatened some officers with court martial if they didn’t get their act together. Oh, the horror. My admiration of Scwarzkopf increased after reading the article. I am not Rumsfeld’s biggest fan, but so far the criticism of the gang of six seems to be rooted in the personal pique of some uniformed prima donnas who feel that they were not given adequate deference. My opinion would probably change if they produce the written documents in which they present their objections and concerns to their superiors before the events in question occurred.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
mkultra,
I thoroughly agree that ideology was a prime, driving force throughout the Iraq mis-adventure. Bob Woodward makes it clear that this was true prior to the invasion, and Assassin’s Gate by George Packer shows the lack of interest afterward.

Now the generals are confirming what the authors have been saying.

It’s sad, sad, sad.

 
Written By: Topeka Satchel
URL: http://
I thoroughly agree that ideology was a prime, driving force throughout the Iraq mis-adventure. Bob Woodward makes it clear that this was true prior to the invasion, and Assassin’s Gate by George Packer shows the lack of interest afterward.

Now the generals are confirming what the authors have been saying.
You know as much about military planning as MK and the NYT.

Uh, no the generals aren’t confirming that. What they’re confirming is exactly what LTG DeLong is saying: they (military planners) didn’t do an adequate job of planning.

All the generals are confirming is they don’t want to be held accountable for their part of that.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
How about the major obvious point about why Iraq exists as it does today: We didn’t need to go to war there. No WMD, no connections to 9/11, just a neocon wet dream turned into a disastrous reality.

So yeah, Rumsfeld should go. And Cheney, and the shrub, and the whole neocon flock. As for you apologists, keep apologizing, so people will remember who you are.
 
Written By: Ed
URL: http://
Geez, Ed ... just brilliant. No, I really mean it.

Brilliant.

Really pertinent to the post.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Oh gee, McQ, this was the wrong thread for my comment? Dang. In which of your Bush Administration apology threads would you prefer to see it posted?
 
Written By: Ed
URL: http://
Wrong. History and data show very few if any armies and police forces disappearing during an invasion.
Apparently nothing indicated the Iraqi army and police force would disappear.
The following is from "The Coalition Provisional Authority’s Experience with Public Security in Iraq: Lessons Identified" from the United States Institute for Peace. The report is a comperehensive review, meaty with details and objective. I will assume you will therefore discount it, accuse it of anti-Bush bias.
Iraq was not the first time U.S. forces faced a general breakdown in public order at the start of a stability operation. Similar outbreaks of civilian violence occurred immediately following U.S. interventions in Panama, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo. In Panama, U.S. troops stood by while mobs looted the commercial district of Panama City, seriously damaging the country’s economy. In Haiti, U.S. military forces watched as Haitian police beat to death demonstrators celebrating the U.S. intervention. In Bosnia, U.S.-led NATO forces observed the destruction of the Sarajevo suburbs but did not intervene. In Kosovo, the United Nations administration was confronted with a wave of ethnic cleansing and street crime.
As Dave Chappelle would say: Panama, B**ches.’

As the foregoing demonstrates, our recent history repplet with the very thing you claim could not be anctipated in Iraq. Are you that far up the administration’s you know what?

The report concludes:
The U.S. experience in Operation Iraqi Freedom was remarkably similar to the U.S. intervention in Panama. In Operation Just Cause, the United States acted unilaterally to remove a threat to its national security by deposing a brutal dictator, Gen. Manuel Noriega. Following a quick U.S. military victory, massive looting occurred in Panama City. U.S. troops stood by as government buildings and the city’s commercial district suffered billions of dollars in damage. U.S. military forces had no instructions to intervene and were not prepared to deal with large-scale civil disorder. The U.S. plan for postconflict "restoration"; assumed that Panamanian police would maintain public order. Unfortunately, the country’s only security service, the Panamanian Defense Force (PDF), had been routed by U.S. forces and its surviving personnel were in hiding. After five days of rioting, additional U.S. troops and military police were deployed to restore order. Subsequently, a stubborn, low-level insurgency led by paramilitary "dignity battalions"; ensued in which the United States suffered far more casualties than it had during the major combat phase of the operation.

In preparing for the Panamanian intervention, U.S. planners assumed that a grateful public would welcome U.S. intervention and that local authorities would immediately assume responsibility for postwar security. Unfortunately, the U.S.-installed Panamanian government was a hollow shell with an empty treasury and insufficient personnel. Additionally, the country’s infrastructure was in a state of serious disrepair. There the United States had no security policy for the period following the use of force. No thought was given to including military police in the intervention force, nor was there a plan for quickly reconstituting local security forces that would perform in accordance with democratic principles. The Panamanian government utilized vetted PDF personnel to form a new organization, the Panamanian National Police, while U.S. Military Police hastily organized a twenty-one-day training program, began conducting joint patrols, and provided on-the-job training to local police officers. Eventually, the U.S. Justice Department opened a police academy in Panama, offering a comprehensive training and technical assistance program.

While time, geography, culture, and political circumstances separate Panama and Iraq, the parallels in the lessons identified but not learned in these two operations are striking. One reason for the repetition of past mistakes is that the United States lacks a mechanism for ensuring that lessons identified in one operation are included in training for the next. The Iraq Experience Project is a small but potentially valuable effort to correct this shortcoming. It is hoped that this report and the others in this series will be used in training programs for future operations and advance the process of properly preparing those who will take part in them.
But of course there was no precedent for the breakdown in order in Iraq. No precdent for police deserting their posts.

As I have said before, ih the service of this administration, you are true Dead Ender. That is a compliment, by the way.
Speaking of crocks, where’s the ideological premise found in Iraqi policemen walking off the job? Where’s the ideological premise that saw the Iraqi army collapsing and disappearing?
That’s the only way I can explain why BushCo did not learn the lessons of Panama. Do you have another reason they ignored the lessons of Panama? I would love to hear them. Until then, I presume it was a kind of "faith based" thing.
Really? And what is that, MK? Silly rhetoric aside, describe what the "NeoCon" playbook required for a "re-made Iraq and ME".
The NeoCons think a re-made Iraq will be a US friendly entity. It will alllow US bases and will be somewhat secular and democratic. Sort of like a Gulf Emirate, I suppose, without the secularism and democracy. The rest of the Middle East will follow suit, sort of a Domino effect. "Sounds crazy, but it just might work."

Hang in there buddy ... and keep up the good fight.







 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
The following is from "The Coalition Provisional Authority’s Experience with Public Security in Iraq: Lessons Identified" from the United States Institute for Peace. The report is a comperehensive review, meaty with details and objective. I will assume you will therefore discount it, accuse it of anti-Bush bias.
Actually I’d like to see a link.
As the foregoing demonstrates, our recent history repplet with the very thing you claim could not be anctipated in Iraq. Are you that far up the administration’s you know what?
You’re amazing as is your selective history. Haiti and Bosnia had already ceased to function as sovereign nations when we arrived, and, we didn’t go there to nation build ... we were peacekeepers.

Period.
But of course there was no precedent for the breakdown in order in Iraq. No precdent for police deserting their posts.
Well again, if you bother to read what you post, the police in Panama were vetted members of the PDF, and the PDF and their cohorts is what we went in there to crush.

That wasn’t the case in Iraq as it pretains to the police forces in place.

Secondly the only army in Panama was the PDF. In Iraq there were two parts to the army ... the Republican Guard and the regular army. While it was anticipated, correctly in my opinion, that the RG would disappear if the going got rough, there was no reason to believe the same would be true of the regular army.

BTW, the looting and lawlessness in Panama lasted all of two weeks in Panama when the Endara government then took charge and reinstutued order.
In the aftermath of the invasion, the Panamanians moved quickly to rebuild their civilian constitutional government. On December 27, 1989, Panama’s Electoral Tribunal invalidated the Noriega regime’s annulment of the May 1989 election and confirmed the victory of the opposition candidates under the leadership of President Guillermo Endara. When President Endara took office, he pledged to foster Panama’s economic recovery, transform the Panamanian military into a police force under civilian control, and strengthen democratic institutions.
The date noted was 7 days after the invasion.

We didn’t go to Panama to nation build, which seems to slip past people like you when you throw this sort of stuff up there. Nor did we go into Somolia, Haiti or Bosnia to nation build.

Until you know the difference between peacekeeping missions, raids and nation building, there’s not much more to talk about.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Unfortunately, I’ve taken to ignoring most of certain commenters postings, especially on ones they clearly know nothing about. When I do take the time to read them, it’s hard to spend the effort keep analyzing the comments, tracking all the twists and obfuscations in the fashion of the Marxist dialectic, that you feel stupider when you finish.

This issue is much more understandable to those who actually have a working understanding of how the military works, and how the constitutional subordination of the military to politically appointed civilian authorities keeps us free.

So to a person like me, a mere right-wing death beast of the mild variety, something sounds fishy when disgruntled (retired) generals organize a political offensive against the sitting SoD. Former military people on this forum have alluded to the moral responsibility a man in the position of a general carries. Me personally, I can count the generals I seriously respect on one hand. As I consider it, about ten others are good guys, and there’s probably another 50 or so that are decent. LTG Delong sounds like a good one from what I’ve read. I know personally of many others who exemplify the worst political and bureacratic instincts of say, Stalin.

But somehow people get this impression that those on the right, especially those brainwashed enough to have been in the military before, are overwhelmed by these generals. It’s like we see stars on a guys shoulder or collar, a few medals and become instantly cowed by our brainwashing into immediate submission to the Man and will ignore any personal opinions or differences we had before to suck up to these guys.

Sorry to bust your balloon. But keep it up- I’m pretty sure you’ve convinced such stalwart bastions of martial valor, such as the NYT and some college professors.
 
Written By: Sunguh
URL: http://pmclassic.blogspot.com
Until you know the difference between peacekeeping missions, raids and nation building, there’s not much more to talk about.
You went from making sweeping declarations that the post-invasion chaos in Iraq could not have been forseen and had no historical analogue to making more than weak arguments that our experience in Panama was somehow distingushable. Of course your latter efforts undermine your former claims.

Do you ever think this stuff through?

It’s kind of funny to watch you devolve.

I beat on you only to prove a single point: that you an unreformed Bush worshipper. That Bush has cast a spell on you - and others. And you have yet to disapoint me.

Happy Easter, McQ.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Wrong. History and data show very few if any armies and police forces disappearing during an invasion.
History and data may show few armies "disappearing" during a conflict, but this was entirely predictable. MK is right. If our top brass and the administration didn’t plan for that, they were fools. I don’t use the word "fools" lightly. That was gross negligence.

Look, we invaded a country that conscripted people into the military, underpaid them by a lot, and kept them there by fear. Then we overran that military, conducted a campaign asking them to put down their arms and go home — we were calling the Generals and paying them off to desert — and finally disbanded the army ourselves.

And now you think it was unpredictable that the Iraqi army just "disappeared"? It was our goal.

Further, we explicitly barred Ba’athists from public service almost immediately after the war. But the entire civil infrastructure of Iraq was based on Ba’athist patronage. They were the civil infrastructure of Iraq and we chose to send them home and tell them they couldn’t work in the government.

And now people act shocked that the Iraqi infrastructure ceased to operate? Bull. That was an implicit part of our plan. If the leadership didn’t at least consider that possibility, then I think history will treat them very badly, indeed. The failure to plan for the necessary results of their own plan is gross negligence.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
You went from making sweeping declarations that the post-invasion chaos in Iraq could not have been forseen and had no historical analogue to making more than weak arguments that our experience in Panama was somehow distingushable. Of course your latter efforts undermine your former claims.
I made the point that Panama, Haiti, Bosnia and Iraq were not analogous and I gave the reasons. I see nothing in your rebuttal to change my mind.

And, btw, where’s the link?
Look, we invaded a country that conscripted people into the military, underpaid them by a lot, and kept them there by fear. Then we overran that military, conducted a campaign asking them to put down their arms and go home — we were calling the Generals and paying them off to desert — and finally disbanded the army ourselves.
Yes, we did. And, as DeLong says (and I have been saying), that was a mistake. But they never asked the police or the governmental bureaucracy to quit and go home, did they?

Nor did they anticipate they would.

As I’ve said, that was a planning mistake. But to pretend it was something they should have known was going to happen is simply conjecture. Should they have planned for it? Yes. Was it a planning failure? Yes? Did they know it would happen? No.
History and data may show few armies "disappearing" during a conflict, but this was entirely predictable. MK is right. If our top brass and the administration didn’t plan for that, they were fools. I don’t use the word "fools" lightly. That was gross negligence.
My point and DeLong’s point are that it was indeed a planning error. But it is only "predictable" in hindsight, and that has no particular validity as far as I’m concerned.

But when Gen Newbold, who was the J3 of the Joint Chief’s of Staff tries to pin the entire failure on the SecDef, it rings very hollow to me. The J3 is the guy who’s job it it to ensure all the assumptions necessary for an operation plan (and all its branches and sequels) are covered to include those for a "go to hell" plan. He would not need SecDef approval to do that. Trust me when I tell you that as I was an operations officer for 18 years (and the G3 of a division doing exactly what Newbold did at division level) .
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
But when Gen Newbold, who was the J3 of the Joint Chief’s of Staff tries to pin the entire failure on the SecDef, it rings very hollow to me.
I’m not defending the generals. I’m only defending the argument that we failed to plan for outcomes we should have expected.
But they never asked the police or the governmental bureaucracy to quit and go home, did they?
Yes, in fact, we did. When we disbarred the Ba’athists from participation in government, we effectively cut off the head of these organizations.

Sure, Iraqi cops could have still come in to work the next day. But if we thought that Iraqi cops would continue to patrol during war time — when Saddam had released all the criminals from jails, we’d eliminated their entire leadership structure, the prospect of wages was dismal and US troops were patrolling the streets fighting Iraqis with guns — then that leadership was not just obtuse, they were almost criminally negligent.

These were necessary results of our tactics. You don’t topple an entire government, then act suprised when said government ceases to exist. That’s what we went there to do.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
I’m not defending the generals. I’m only defending the argument that we failed to plan for outcomes we should have expected.
And I’m arguing that while some of what happened should have been expected there was plenty which couldn’t have been predicted.

However that doesn’t excuse not planning for it.
Yes, in fact, we did. When we disbarred the Ba’athists from participation in government, we effectively cut off the head of these organizations.
But not all members of the bureaucracy, especially at lower levels, were Ba’athist members. So, as with any bureaucratic organization, you might reasonably expect the lower level functionaries to remain in place and move up.

That didn’t happen and we failed to plan for it. The same can be said for local police. There was no reason for police in Podunk, Iraq to quit. Baghdad perhaps, but nation-wide? No. But they did and we failed to plan for it.
These were necessary results of our tactics. You don’t topple an entire government, then act suprised when said government ceases to exist. That’s what we went there to do.
We don’t disagree on the purpose, we’re mostly disagreeing on the difference between "knowing" something is going to happen (an impossibility) and planning for it. We plan for all sorts of things we don’t "know" are going to happen. In this case we didn’t. That’s a failure.

As I’ve said over and over again, we absolutely should have planned for the worst case scenario, and as I mentioned in the podcast yesterday, once we saw those assumptions which would underlay such a plan beginning to develop, we should have shifted the missions and focus of some of our forces to counter it.

That fact that we had no plan and we were unable to shift mission and focus is indeed a failure ... a huge one. And, frankly I agree that it is inexcusable. What rankles me more than anything in all of this is seeing the guy who was responsible for doing all of the necessary planning attempting to blame someone else for his failure.

Like I said, he doesn’t need SecDef permission to make the underlying assumptions for such a plan, formulate it and put a contingency plan on the shelf that would cover those possibilites. The fact that he didn’t is his failure, and no one elses.

As LTG DeLong points out, there was a "what’s next" plan for after the invasion. He should know that as it was his job to execute it. Rumsfeld’s failure is not catching the fact that a "go to hell" contingency plan didn’t exist.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Rumsfeld must go...For ignoring Gen.Shinseki’s advice. A Sec. Def. that interferes in the Operational aspects of the Military has no place in the Pentagon. This is like LBJ deciding what targets to bomb, in ’Nam...Deja vu all over again
 
Written By: Ivan
URL: http://
A Sec. Def. that interferes in the Operational aspects of the Military has no place in the Pentagon.
If you read carefully what LTG DeLong said, Ivan, you’ll find he said that Rumsfeld doesn’t interfere in the "operational aspects", leaving it for the military to run.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Let’s not forget the intelligence bureaucracy. The CIA, for one, hires lots of people with advanced degrees in political science and other social sciences, not to mention those area specialists who are supposedly intimately familiar with the language and culture of specific regions. The purpose of these people is to predict likely outcomes and consequences. Not to excuse the generals, but if they relied on product from CIA, etc., for information on which to base their planning, they were poorly served. The campaign started off with the rather embarrassing spectacle of the entire 4th Infantry Division floating around the Med. with no place ot go. Oops. Anytime a fairly large percentage of your force is rendered hors de combat before the first shot is fired certainly scrambles even a good plan.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
McQ,

Rumsfeld over-ruled Gen.Shinseki regarding troop levels required for OIF. Doesn’t that amount to "inteference in operational matters" ? LTG Delong says what he wants to say...But, what do you think, McQ ?



 
Written By: Ivan
URL: http://
Rumsfeld over-ruled Gen.Shinseki regarding troop levels required for OIF. Doesn’t that amount to "inteference in operational matters" ? LTG Delong says what he wants to say...But, what do you think, McQ ?
That wasn’t Shinseki’s call.

That is the CENTCOM commander’s call, and that commander’s name was Tommy Franks.

Check out the operational chain of command. You’ll find the JCS isn’t in it.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is by law the highest ranking military officer of the United States military, and the principal military advisor to the President of the United States. He leads the meetings and coordinates the efforts of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), comprising the Chairman, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Chiefs of Staff of the United States Army and United States Air Force, the Chief of Naval Operations, and the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have offices in The Pentagon.

Although the office of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is very important and highly prestigious, neither the Chairman nor the Joint Chiefs of Staff as a body have any command authority over combatant forces. The chain of command runs from the President to the Secretary of Defense directly to the commanders of the several combatant commands.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
What people don’t seem to understand is not the arcane hierarchy of military structure, which seem obvious to me but are understandably vague to others without direct experience. This being a libertarian site, I thought it was interesting to point out how this seems like another case of bureaucracies warping things.

Just an observation of my own, having been entrenched once or twice in such institutions- you’ll find that bureaucrats avoid responsibility like the plague. The Pentagon is no different, despite the principles and people it works for. One of the cornerstones of ’warrior ethos’ is the embracing of responsibility. You read these generals and how they disagreed but didn’t say anything at the time- IMHO they have already lost any ’moral superiority’ or whatever they would call it, that would legitimize their dissent. The true warfighter makes his call and stands by it. One of my favorite sayings of Patton is ’A good plan now is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.’

But it doesn’t make as good press, because he also doesn’t run off to get somebody else to validate his self-esteem. Are these guys generals or bureaucrats- you tell me. I think it’s clear what my opinion is.

That’s the company business fellas- having imperfect information (timactual’s comment on the CIA brings up a myriad of ’warm recollections’ about subject matter experts or contractors or other such ’authorities’), making life or death decisions on the spot.
 
Written By: Sunguh
URL: http://pmclassic.blogspot.com
In 2003, Shinseki bucked the trend of ’yes-men’ and offered his own candid assessment of what was needed in Iraq. His prophetic predictions about Iraq were unfortunately ignored and now haunt those responsible for planning and executing the war.


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http://counterpunch.org/hoffmeister04152006.html

 
Written By: thaddeus hoffmeister
URL: http://

 
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