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Casting Perles Before Razorbacks

“Okay, Sherman, it’s time to set the Wayback Machine for 1998.” [For some reason when it comes to neocons, I think of Peabody’s Improbable History.]

On January 26, 1998 the Project for the New American Century sent a letter to “The Honorable William J. Clinton, President of the United States” concerning Saddam Hussein and Iraq. In that letter they wrote: “The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power.”

The letter was signed by Elliott Abrams, Richard L. Armitage, William J. Bennett, Jeffrey Bergner, John Bolton, Paula Dobriansky, Francis Fukuyama, Robert Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad, William Kristol, Richard Perle, Peter W. Rodman, Donald Rumsfeld, William Schneider, Jr., Vin Weber, Paul Wolfowitz, R. James Woolsey, and Robert B. Zoellick

Unlike the Shrubbery, the Clinton administration actually had a functioning National Security Council, and while there is no readily available evidence that the letter was taken seriously, it is known that Operation Desert Fox was launched in mid-December 1998 to degrade Iraqi WMD capabilities. We now know that the raids pretty much eliminated WMD production in Iraq.

We have just learned, according to The Associated Press report, the US Central Command 1999 war game, Desert Crossing, looked at an Iraq invasion with a force of 400,00 troops:

The war games looked at “worst case” and “most likely” scenarios after a war that removed then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from power. Some are similar to what actually occurred after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003:

♦ “A change in regimes does not guarantee stability,” the 1999 seminar briefings said. “A number of factors including aggressive neighbors, fragmentation along religious and/or ethnic lines, and chaos created by rival forces bidding for power could adversely affect regional stability.”

♦ “Even when civil order is restored and borders are secured, the replacement regime could be problematic – especially if perceived as weak, a puppet, or out-of-step with prevailing regional governments.”

♦ “Iran’s anti-Americanism could be enflamed by a U.S.-led intervention in Iraq,” the briefings read. “The influx of U.S. and other western forces into Iraq would exacerbate worries in Tehran, as would the installation of a pro-western government in Baghdad.”

♦ “The debate on post-Saddam Iraq also reveals the paucity of information about the potential and capabilities of the external Iraqi opposition groups. The lack of intelligence concerning their roles hampers U.S. policy development.”

♦ “Also, some participants believe that no Arab government will welcome the kind of lengthy U.S. presence that would be required to install and sustain a democratic government.”

♦ “A long-term, large-scale military intervention may be at odds with many coalition partners.”

This shows where General Shinseki got the number he used for the invasion. He didn’t just pull it out of thin air, it was a number calculated for this war game. It also means that General Tommy Franks knew damn well that the Rumsfeld number was way too low.

They knew what the problems were going to be, and they did it anyway. These were the problems anticipated with a force of 400,000 troops and they tried it with about a third of that number.

In the cop shop this piece of information would move the crime from “negligently” to at least “knowingly”, and probably to “with premeditation”. Those are states of mental culpability, sometimes called “criminal intent”.

2 comments

1 Steve Bates { 11.07.06 at 12:57 am }

Bush was determined to be the un-Clinton in every respect, and when it comes to Iraq, he succeeded admirably. Never mind that he also undermined his own father’s legacy…

My concern is that, Rumsfeld’s bloviation notwithstanding, they will eventually have their 400,000 … but they’ll obtain it through a draft. If they do, I’ll demand that Jenna and not-Jenna be the very first to be called up. They’re healthy; they’re the right age… Bush must explain why they should not be the first to go.

2 Bryan { 11.07.06 at 12:46 pm }

They are at the bottom of the barrel and are going to be forced to change the rules on the Guard and Reserve to maintain staffing next year. A draft is the best solution for them, but they don’t have the courage to ask.

Hopefully some things will change after the election.