March 09, 2005
Do You Think My Methods Are Unsound?
I see no method at all, sir:
World Tribune.com -- Army report: U.S. lost control in Iraq three months after invasion: WASHINGTON – The U.S. military lost its dominance in Iraq shortly after its invasion in 2003, a study concluded.... "In the two to three months of ambiguous transition, U.S. forces slowly lost the momentum and the initiative gained over an off-balanced enemy," the report said. "The United States, its Army and its coalition of the willing have been playing catch-up ever since."
The report was authored by Maj. Isaiah Wilson, the official historian of the U.S. Army for the Iraq war. Wilson also served as a war planner for the army's 101st Airborne Division until March 2004, Middle East Newsline reported. His report, not yet endorsed as official army history, has been presented to several academic conferences.
In November 2003, the military drafted a formal plan for stability and post-combat operations, Wilson said. Termed Phase-4, the plan was meant to follow such stages as preparation for combat, initial operations and combat. "There was no Phase IV plan," the report said. "While there may have been plans at the national level, and even within various agencies within the war zone, none of these plans operationalized the problem beyond regime collapse. There was no adequate operational plan for stability operations and support operations."...
The report disclosed the lack of planning by the U.S. military for the occupation of Iraq. Over the last year, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his aides have been blamed for lack of post-war planning based on their assessment that the military campaign in Iraq would be brief and quickly lead to a democratic and stable post-Saddam Hussein government.... Wilson said army planners failed to understand or accept the prospect that Iraqis would resist the U.S. forces after the fall of the Saddam regime. He deemed the military performance in Iraq mediocre and said the army could lose the war.
"U.S. war planners, practitioners and the civilian leadership conceived of the war far too narrowly," the report said. "This overly simplistic conception of the war led to a cascading undercutting of the war effort: too few troops, too little coordination with civilian and governmental/non-governmental agencies and too little allotted time to achieve success."
I did see Thomas Barnett yesterday at his luncheon talk. After listening to him, I came away with the following message: It is now clear that we have failed at post-lightning war stabilization and society-building--political society, civil society, and commercial society--efforts in Iraq, but that this is going to be the last such failure. The U.S. Army knows that it has failed, and doesn't like to fail in the same way twice.
He also has three great lines:
- "Martin van Creveld is very good, but he generalizes immediately from the West Bank to the world as a whole. The world as a whole is not like the West Bank."
- "Robert Kaplan is very good, but he generalizes immediately from West Africa to the world as a whole. The world as a whole is not like West Africa."
- "Yes, as far as the Core is concerned, you can think of me as the second coming of Norman Angell. But I am Norman Angell with nuclear weapons."
(Of course, you need to have read Martin van Creveld, Robert Kaplan, and Norman Angell to understand these).
Posted by DeLong at March 9, 2005 12:06 PM