Thursday, January 11, 2007

it's a mistake

Let's boil de facto President Bush's big bold speech about Iraq and the 21,500 troops down to the essence. It's all been just a big mistake.

It was a mistake to let ideologues untrained in intelligence analysis set up their own office in the Department of Defense to read raw reports and spin them into a fantasy theory that Hussein's Iraq had an active weapons program and huge stockpiles.

It was a mistake to believe the self-serving assertions of Chalabi and other Iraqi exiles looking for an Uncle Sam-sponsored ride into Hussein's Presidential Palace.

It was a mistake - actually, it was a lie - to link Iraq to 9/11 and Al Qaeda.

It was a mistake to believe Iraqis would treat the American military as liberators.

It was a mistake to believe that Iraqi army units would defect.

It was a mistake to assert, as did senior Pentagon civilians like Paul Wolfowitz and Doug "dumbest fucking guy I ever met" Feith, that post-war Iraq would be easier to manage than Bosnia or Kosovo were because they hadn't had a war of militias.

It was a mistake to force the Army to go into the war with at least two fewer divisions than the bare minimum they wanted (and at least 100,000 fewer than General Eric Shinseki said would be needed), based on Wolfowitz's and Rumsfeld's belief that surely you wouldn't need more troops to consolidate victory in Iraq than needed to defeat Hussein's army.

It was a mistake to conduct almost no planning for dealing with Iraq after the collapse of Hussein's regime. Iran was better prepared for the post-Hussein situation than we were.

It was a mistake -- and a lie -- to asset that the reconstruction of Iraq would be easily covered by oil revenues, and as Andrew Natsios told Ted Koppel, would only run the US taxpayer $1.7 billion.

It was a mistake to staff the Coalition Provisional Authority with a bunch of Republican hacks whose primary qualifications were working as campaign staffers and/or having a well-connected Mommy or Daddy, while simultaneously refusing to let Iraq experts at the State Department to be there.

The whole "project" was a bad, bad idea, based on erroneous or fallacious data, and it was badly executed by overconfident zealots who insisted they knew better than military professionals how the war should be fought (and ignored the occupation, thinking Iraq would be a functioning democracy in just be a few months), and insisted they knew better than diplomatic and regional experts what the aftermath would be.

And it is a mistake to think that a "temporary" addition of 21,500 troops for a few months will reverse the situation in Iraq or undo all the damage caused by this half-assed war.

It's a mistake.