In March 2003, days before the start of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, American war planners and intelligence officials met at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina to review the Bush administration's plans to oust Saddam Hussein and implant democracy in Iraq.The buck for that failure has always stopped primarily at Donald Rumsfeld's desk, although the President as CiC bares ultimate responsibility. Now we have proof that Rumsfeld was an active participant in the problem. According to a retiring, but still active Army General, Rumsfeld didn't just neglect to plan for the post war, he threatened to fire anyone even mentioning Phase 4 planning. It boggles the mind, but that means that the Administration's incompetence over the years since the initial military invasion wasn't just an accident, it was practically planned in advance. They may not have had a plan for the post-war, but they had pre-planned to ensure they screwed up. This is some whole new category - premeditated incompetence.
Near the end of his presentation, an Army lieutenant colonel who was giving a briefing showed a slide describing the Pentagon's plans for rebuilding Iraq after the war, known in the planners' parlance as Phase 4-C. He was uncomfortable with his material - and for good reason.
The slide said: "To Be Provided."
The details are courtesy of the DailyPress.
Months before the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld forbade military strategists from developing plans for securing a post-war Iraq, the retiring commander of the Army Transportation Corps said Thursday.This General is still active-duty, and he's giving interviews like that. Imagine what he'll be saying when he's a civilian. Ouch.
In fact, said Brig. Gen. Mark Scheid, Rumsfeld said "he would fire the next person" who talked about the need for a post-war plan.
Rumsfeld did replace Gen. Eric Shinseki, the Army chief of staff in 2003, after Shinseki told Congress that hundreds of thousands of troops would be needed to secure post-war Iraq.
Obviously, when I say that the Bush Administration practiced premeditated incompetence, I don't actually think their goal was to fail horribly in Iraq and weaken America in the process. This revelation gives us a window into their true thinking about what the Iraq War would be like, the long-term goals for Iraq, and what strategies were required to facilitate that conceived future. That they didn't think they would need a post-war plan proves that the "forward strategy of freedom" - aka democracy building - wasn't in their list of objectives before the war, since that would have required, you know, a plan. It's not like democracies spring fully formed from post-dictatorship chaos.
What the Bush Administration had in mind was to invade quickly and efficiently, topple the regime and insert a strong-man to run the country, while our troops retreated into low-vulnerability permanent bases. Without a post-war plan, it's the only possible objective I can think of that was available to them. Ahmad Chalabi, the Iranian Spy, really did have the entire Executive monolith thoroughly bamboozled.
It's simply astonishing that a group of "serious grownups" could have been so gullible, and so entirely off-handed with the lives of our troops, our treasury, and our national image. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that these Republicans are only "serious" about politics - the art of getting elected. That pursuit, I will acknowledge, they are very serious about, indeed.