In October 2002, the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute, in coordination with the Office of the Army Deputy Chief of Staff/G-3, initiated a study to analyze how American and coalition forces can best address the requirements that will necessarily follow operational victory in a war with Iraq.
The objectives of the project were to determine and analyze probable missions for military forces in a post-Saddam Iraq; examine associated challenges; and formulate strategic recommendations for transferring responsibilities to coalition partners or civilian organizations, mitigating local animosity, and facilitating overall mission accomplishment in the war against terrorism. The study has much to offer planners and executors of operations to occupy and reconstruct Iraq, but also has many insights that will apply to achieving strategic objectives in any conflict after hostilities are concluded. The current war against terrorism has highlighted the danger posed by failed and struggling states. If this nation and its coalition partners decide to undertake the mission to remove Saddam Hussein, they will also have to be prepared to dedicate considerable time, manpower, and money to the effort to reconstruct Iraq after the fighting is over. Otherwise, the success of military operations will be ephemeral, and the problems they were designed to eliminate could return or be replaced by new and more virulent difficulties.
Reading it is like discovering the long lost works of Nostradamus or something. Virtually every pitfall and challenge we’ve had since we invaded Iraq is addressed in those 60+ pages of text. In fact, it really makes you wonder how anyone thought this was going to be worth the risk. It is an absolutely glaring contradiction to the rosy predictions made by guys like Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, and makes the ‘Mission Accomplished’ incident seem even more absurd than it already appeared to be. It also reminds me of this: Iraq post-war plan muzzled
“The secretary of defense continued to push on us … that everything we write in our plan has to be the idea that we are going to go in, we’re going to take out the regime, and then we’re going to leave,” Scheid said. “We won’t stay.”
Scheid said the planners continued to try “to write what was called Phase 4,” or the piece of the plan that included post-invasion operations like occupation.
Even if the troops didn’t stay, “at least we have to plan for it,” Scheid said.
“I remember the secretary of defense saying that he would fire the next person that said that,” Scheid said. “We would not do planning for Phase 4 operations, which would require all those additional troops that people talk about today.
“He said we will not do that because the American public will not back us if they think we are going over there for a long war.”
Ya don’t say?
Update: In today’s WaPo: Assessments Made in 2003 Foretold Situation in Iraq
The two assessments, titled “Principal Challenges in Post-Saddam Iraq” and “Regional Consequences of Regime Change in Iraq,” were produced by the National Intelligence Council (NIC) and will be a major part of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s long-awaited Phase II report on prewar intelligence assessments about Iraq. The assessments were delivered to the White House and to congressional intelligence committees before the war started.