I got racked…
Yeah, well at least it felt like a punch to the crotch. Even though I was prepared and I think everyone expected it. Today the US Army released an internal 700 page history of the Iraq invasion. Of special note is the criticism it levels against high ranking Army officials as well as civilian officials within the Pentagon. Of particular interest are pages 143 and 144 with the heading “President George W. Bush, General Franks, and ‘Mission Accomplished'” This section perhaps best summarizes to me the overall failure of the Iraq invasion and particular the post-invasion Iraq strategy (or lack thereof). If there is one thing that dictators are really good at it is making people who hate each other live together somewhat peaceably. Even though Saddam himself was a Sunni (a minority in his own country) he rose to power ruthlessly and maintained that power through fear and intimidation and oh yeah violence. Everyone should have know what was going to happen once that power was removed. Especially given our experiences in Bosnia. Another shining example of how ethnic groups were forced to live together.
Obviously it’s easy to be the one to sit in the seat of knowledge with the insight of history. It is quite another to be the one responsible for making decisions in the moment. As a democracy it is essential that control of the military be in the hands of civilians. It is a requiste. Vietnam brought significant skeptism when it came to the military’s own leadership. Now Iraq’s legacy will swing the pendulum in the other direction.
Is there too much civilian control of the military? Are the upper brass too persuaded by politics and public opinion?
This is a departure from my usual line of thinking, but I really love this stuff. So feel free to comment or just say hey!