Zinni on What Went Wrong
In the wake of Gen. Anthony Zinni’s 60 Minutes appearance, it is worth looking in detail at his recent essay on what went wrong.
The Center for Defense Information has put up a concise diagnosis of the follies of the Bush administration Iraq policy by Gen. Zinni has presented a concise diagnosis of the follies of the Bush Administration’s Iraq policy. A summary by way of excerpts (I’ve omitted ellipses, but these grafs are not continuous with one another):
“And I think that will be the first mistake that will be recorded in history, the belief that containment as a policy doesn’t work. It certainly worked against the Soviet Union, has worked with North Korea and others.
“The second mistake I think history will record is that the strategy was flawed. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing about the benefits of this strategic move. That the road to Jerusalem led through Baghdad, when just the opposite is true, the road to Baghdad led through Jerusalem. You solve the Middle East peace process, you’d be surprised what kinds of others things will work out.
“The third mistake, I think was one we repeated from Vietnam, we had to create a false rationale for going in to get public support. The books were cooked, in my mind.
“We failed in number four, to internationalize the effort.
“I think the fifth mistake was that we underestimated the task . . . You are about to go into a problem that you don’t know the dimensions and the depth of, and are going to cause you a great deal of pain, time, expenditure of resources and casualties down the road.
“The sixth mistake, and maybe the biggest one, was propping up and trusting the exiles, the infamous “Gucci Guerillas” from London. We bought into their intelligence reports.
“The seventh problem has been the lack of planning . . . And I think that lack of planning, that idea that you can do this by the seat of the pants, reconstruct a country, to make decisions on the fly, to beam in on the side that has to that political, economic, social other parts, just a handful of people at the last minute to be able to do it was patently ridiculous.
“The eighth problem was the insufficiency of military forces on the ground. There were a lot more troops in my military plan for operations in Iraq.
“The ninth problem has been the ad hoc organization we threw in there. No one can tell me the Coalition Provisional Authority had any planning for its structure.
“And that ad hoc organization has failed, leading to the tenth mistake, and that’s a series of bad decisions on the ground. De-Baathifying down to a point where you’ve alienated the Sunnis, where you have stopped having qualified people down in the ranks, people who don’t have blood on their hands, but know how to make the trains run on time . . .
“Almost every week, somebody calls me up, if it’s not Mark Thompson it’s somebody else, and says “What would you do now?” You know, there’s a rule that if you find yourself in hole, stop digging. The first thing I would say is we need to stop digging. We have dug this hole so deep now that you see many serious people, Jack Murtha, General Odom, and others beginning to say it’s time to just pull out, cut your losses. I’m not of that camp. Not yet. But I certainly think we’ve come pretty close to that.
“I would do several things now. But clearly the first and most important thing you need is that UN resolution. That’s been the model since the end of the Cold War, that has given us the basis and has given our allies the basis for joining us and helping us and provided the legitimacy we need.”
Other Zinni links: