Foreign Policy

Iraq Occupation: Understaffed from the Beginning

|

A nearly 700-page study released Sunday by the Army found that "in the euphoria of early 2003," U.S.-based commanders prematurely believed their goals in Iraq had been reached and did not send enough troops to handle the occupation.

President George W. Bush's statement on May 1, 2003, that major combat operations were over reinforced that view, the study said.

It was written by Donald P. Wright and Col. Timothy R. Reese of the Contemporary Operations Study Team at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., who said that planners who requested more troops were ignored and that commanders in Baghdad were replaced without enough of a transition and lacked enough staff.

Gen. William S. Wallace, commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, said in a foreword that it's no surprise that a report with these conclusions was written.

"One of the great and least understood qualities of the United States Army is its culture of introspection and self-examination," he wrote.

That's from the AP, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. Read more here. And here.

Advertisement

NEXT: The Eyes Have It

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Whoa! Hold on a second!

    Are you guys saying Iraq was a huge fuck-up from the start?

    Shit, really? I hadn’t though about it ’till now.

  2. One thing they always get right, though, and that’s no-bid “contracts.” Wouldn’t want any of that evil “capitalism” stuff going-on, now would we?
    JMR

  3. All that introspection and self-examination is supposed to prevent the top brass from “fighting the last war”. Which is exactly what they did: a Desert Storm-like (successful) invasion, but little thought on what to do next.

  4. A nearly 700-page study released Sunday by the Army found that “in the euphoria of early 2003,” U.S.-based commanders prematurely believed their goals in Iraq had been reached and did not send enough troops to handle the occupation.

    President George W. Bush’s statement on May 1, 2003, that major combat operations were over reinforced that view, the study said.

    If we had declared victory and come home after the capture of Saddam, then they would have been correct. Leave the Iraqis to rebuild Iraq.

    We won the war, we should have never fought the occupation. (we should have never fought the war either, but that at least was an easy win)

  5. Oh, and for those who say something like “But if we had left who knows who would have taken over with the power vacuum, it may have been worse than the Baathists”, I say this:

    We showed in Desert Storm and this war that we can kick their ass in very short order. If the “wrong” government had taken over, we could have knocked them out of power too. Repeat until the “right” government takes over. Much less loss of life that permanently occupying.

    Not necessarily recommending that strategy, but its better than the one we chose.

  6. “The euphoria of early 2003”? What?

  7. “One of the great and least understood qualities of the United States Army is its culture of introspection and self-examination,”

    All right, who made the emo kid a four star?

  8. Robc is partly right.

    We won the war! We should have left then and there. If they started back down the same road, go back in and kick their ass again and again until they finally get the mesaage.

  9. JohnD and robc, that would have been a smart course to take IF eliminating a threat from the Baathist government was, as we were originally told, the purpose of the war.

    But the “occupation,” the “post-war,” the “national building” period WERE the purpose of the war. We invaded Iraq and overthrew its government FOR THE PURPOSE of having this post war period. Cuz it wuz gonna be so awesome.

  10. joe,

    While, in reality, the nation building was the primary purpose of the war (and one of the major reasons I opposed it), I dont think it was high up on the list of the stated reasons. The threat of WMDs and Baathist support for terrorists (which, despite some arguments, was true, just not the 9/11 terrorists or Al Qaeda) were the main reasons I remember. We eliminated the Baathists and the (non-existent) threat from WMDs. War over. We Win! Bring the troops home.

  11. So making the emo kid a general wasn’t an accident then…

    no hugs for thugs,
    Shirley Knott

  12. joe,

    On rereading your post, I see we are saying the same thing. I didnt see your “as we were originally told”. Im counting the original reasons as the official reasons, even though they werent the real ones.

  13. Undermanned my butt!

    We sent five hundred (500) trained exiles to escort Ahmed Chalabi on his Charles de Gaulle-style trimphal entrance.

  14. at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

    Sounds like a good place to send Bush and Cheney (although Guantanamo would have more poetic justice)…

  15. When I saw that the surge decreased violence in Iraq, I thought, “Wow, imagine if we had sent enough troops in the first place.”

  16. PNAC outlined the entire strategy well before the 9/11 attacks.

  17. Perhaps, in addition to the introspection and self-examination, we need to instill in our officer corps a deep and abiding appreciation for the value of exemplary ritual suicide.

  18. Most particularly if they are ever taken prisoner…

    no hugs for thugs,
    Shirley Knott

  19. I just realized… Rumsfeld was a Skrull all along!

  20. The level of staffing was fine. We went in, kicked Iraqi butt, and won the war in just a few days. The occupation, on the other hand, is an ongoing clusterfuck.

    p.s. I’m not suggesting that the war was justified, just that we won it. The occupation is not justified either, and we need to get out.

  21. Say what you will about Rumsfeld, he’s got great taste in ties.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.