Skip to comments.Army criticizes itself in Iraq invasion report
Posted on 06/30/2008 1:18:54 PM PDT by Moose4
The U.S. Army's official history of the Iraq war shows military chiefs made mistake after mistake in the early months of the conflict.
Failures to recognize the chaos engulfing the country and to send in enough troops to restore order after the 2003 invasion have long been highlighted by critics, but a new report shows the Army assessing itself.
(Excerpt) Read more at cnn.com ...
But the MSM at the same time also labels the "surge" a failure. Spin spin spin.
Mistakes will always be made in war...nothing goes as planned. And despite the missteps, it was still a relative cakewalk when you compare it to past conflicts.
Military has done this kind of thing, though usually NOT while armed conflicts are still occurring but as MSM and liberals now have an election to WIN, established military traditions be damned.
I note that the drive-bys never mentioned the first part of this, “On Point” I, which showed that the initial invasion was pretty close to perfect. Oh no. Can’t mention that.
|...assuming that Iraq's government would remain functional after Hussein's ouster
That was a foreseeable mistake. Anyone who has ever worked in a company headed by a micro-managing dictator knows that such a leader ruthlessly gets rid of anyone who is not a "yes man." After two decades of Saddam Hussein, there wouldn't have been anyone left in the government — all the way out to the smallest villages — who could make a decision.
Companies headed by guys like that typically fall apart once the Supreme Leader leaves the scene. Keeping the Army in place wouldn't have helped; all the officers who could actually lead people had long since been purged, and probably killed.
I agree with this statement. I don't like the term "mistake" in this context, but only that it is sometimes used in the media to argue that the war has not been competently fought. I think it has been.
For example, some say that more troops (the "surge") should have been sent in earlier. This implies that the same surge would have surely had the same effect in earlier years. I don't think that's certain at all. It might have gone very ~differently~ but I don't think anyone can guarantee that it would have been ~better~. It may possibly have been far, far worse. In COIN, more troops also means more targets and often more casualties.
The real reason that the surge is working is that it coincided with the "Anbar awakening" which has rolled like a tide of changed hearts all across the country. Could that have happened earlier? Maybe-- but maybe not. The local sheiks turned against Al Queda mainly because of their fatigue of dealing with Al Queda and their obscene brutality. The conditions that awoke them and turned them (and others like the 1920s Brigades) toward the U.S. took those years to develop. It's impossible to know with any clarity if it might have happened earlier.
Also the de-Baathification and disbanding of the Iraqi Army, both done by Bremer immediately after the fall of Baghdad are called mistakes today. Maybe they were, but again, had those not been done things would have developed differently but not automatically better. There would have been a whole different set of problems in that path just there have been problems on this path. How it really would have gone is just not knowable.
It's essential of course to recognize the points where things have gone badly and not according to plan, and to try to game up some alternatives for next time. But that's not the same as assuming that those alternatives would have worked any better.
I have challenged my anti-war friends on several occasions to come up with just one example of any war in history, that meets the scope of this one, that has gone better. The scope of the achievement, the complexity of the aftermath, and the number of casualties (on *both* sides) puts this war and its fighters in very select company indeed.
Your post is an excellent analysis of events in Iraq ... nailed it.
I’ll bet a few mistakes were made during WWII, too, yet we went on to win that one.
Darn it, why can’t we be perfect!!??
Silliness. The Army has always done this, and these studies make for fascinating and informative reading. Apparently CNN has just discovered this amazing fact. Catch up, fellas.
Typical After Action Report. Provides the means to improve the next time by identifying problems and finding solutions.
The most well-written operations order will rarely survive the first enemy contact. All it can do is provide a framework for decision-making that is tempered by the current context of actions underway, both friendly and enemy.
After-action reports are how any organization gets better and the Army has always been well-regarded for its bluntness in presenting the facts and findings in its AA reports. As usual, the DBM hasn't a clue in these matters and couldn't catch a clue while standing in the middle of a herd of clues, wearing clue musk during clue mating season.
It didn’t help that Paul Bremer disbanded the army and the police.
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