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They Knew Going In — Why Now?
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They Knew Going In

that they didn’t have an exit plan, and went in anyway. This is a rookie mistake. Every flag officer who went along with this is an amateur not worthy of any respect for military ability. They were Judas goats leading their troops to disaster.

The BBC is running a two part television show: No plan, no peace in Iraq

“Iraq will be better,” declared Tony Blair five days after the fall of Saddam.

“Better for the region, better for the world, better, above all, for the Iraqi people.”

That contrasts starkly with the 100,000 or so civilians dead, four million refuges inside and outside Iraq, 4,141 coalition solders who have died and the cost to the UK of well in excess of £5bn.

Yet it’s now clear that Mr Blair knew before the invasion that America’s planning for post-war recovery was woefully inadequate – and so was Britain’s.

There was no properly worked out strategy for the key longer term objective of transforming it into a stable, prosperous nation that the Blair-Bush vision held out.

In the rush to war, and in the blur of ideology, both capitals abandoned a principle that has been an iron law of warfare since Napoleon: Never take the first step without planning for what comes afterwards.

Two centuries of military wisdom cast aside because Donald Rumsfeld felt he knew better and the Shrubbery didn’t know enough to object. Rumsfeld sidelined every officer who expressed doubts about his thinking.


1 hipparchia { 10.28.07 at 3:36 pm }

they didn’t need an exit plan. they weren’t planning to leave.

2 whig { 10.28.07 at 6:36 pm }

they still aren’t.

3 Bryan { 10.28.07 at 8:11 pm }

Staying requires even more planning than leaving immediately, making it an even bigger mistake.

4 fallenmonk { 10.28.07 at 8:33 pm }

It is very cool that Rummy had to make a mad dash out of France today because he is under indictment as a war criminal in France and several other countries.

5 Bryan { 10.28.07 at 9:57 pm }

He should be under indictment after impeachment in this country, but that would require honoring the rule of law and the primacy of the Constitution.

6 Steve Bates { 10.28.07 at 10:11 pm }

OT, if you haven’t read Glenn Greenwald today about his communications with Col. Steven Boylan, who is Gen. Petraeus’s representative, I think you might find the matter interesting… and I’d venture you have an opinion.

7 Bryan { 10.28.07 at 10:18 pm }

Boylan is a PR hack who has been shoveling garbage over at Danger Room about the change in tactics and heavy use of air power that was noted and commented on.

He’s pure agitprop, part of a team to suppress complaints. They can’t win on the ground, so they’ll try to win in the media.

8 Steve Bates { 10.28.07 at 11:15 pm }

Bryan, it appears… I emphasize, appears… to be more than that this time. Boylan seems to be writing Greenwald hostile emails (“hostile” is the appropriate word, personally hostile, not merely obstructionist) in response to Greenwald’s straightforward inquiries about the possibility of military leaks to right-wing outlets (blogs, pundits, etc.), then denying he wrote the emails Greenwald received… all the while spouting deliberately insulting things to and about Greenwald, things it seems to me no serving military officer should be saying to any interested member of the public, journalist or otherwise.

That’s more than the doings of a hack spewing agitprop… it seems to me to be the actions of an agent of the Republican Party’s political establishment. I do hope you have read (or will read) Greenwald’s frequently updated post. As an ordinary member of the public, I’d find it exTREMEly disturbing if in fact a prominent member of the serving military is using his position to engage in partisan domestic politics.

9 Bryan { 10.29.07 at 12:12 am }

Boylan has been in Baghdad longer than Petraeus and has been given instructions on how he is to do his job by Cheney’s communications director. He is following orders because he doesn’t know how not to obey.

He views his job as crafting a message for the effort, not providing information. I wouldn’t even claim that Petraeus knows what Boylan is doing.

Since this is being done by e-mail, there is no guarantee that Boylan himself knows what is in the e-mails. He may have an assistant or two actually writing them, a practice that is not uncommon in the military. These e-mails may be coming from a response shop set up to read and counter anything said on the blogs about Iraq.

10 jams o donnell { 10.29.07 at 6:06 am }

I watched part one last night. I’ll be watching part 2 tonight. It was always clear that the invasion was an il conceived idea born out of myopia and arrogance but my God, I didn’t realise how shoddy the planning was. Why the hell did the UK get involved with this fiasco, I’ll never understand.

If it gets shown in the US it is well worth a wach. I darseay what it says will be less of a surprise than it is to us here.

11 Bryan { 10.29.07 at 9:56 am }

Thanks for the report on the actual program, Jams. Frankly, I was surprised to find out there was no planning, as that has been such a strong complaint about all military operations from Vietnam forward – lack of planning has been the first complaint of critics.

My thought is that the UK MoD assumed that the US would have a plan and were floored when it wasn’t forthcoming, or were lulled by the early reports that the State Department had the post-invasion planning responsibility.

In the post 9/11 atmosphere almost no one would listen to warnings. The masses were whipped into a frenzy by the media. Car flags blown off vehicles replaced drink containers as the number one type of road side litter. It was jingoism at its worst.