Failure in Iraq
The failure in Iraq by the U.S.-led coalition of the willing to sustain control over the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, let alone be able to establish a cohesive and cooperative government in the New Iraq, becomes more apparent daily.
Z'ev Schiff wrote May 28, 2004, in Ha'aretz that "there is no path other than failure for the two occupiers in the Middle East. ... 'For all their love of history and democracy, the Vulcans just ignored two major certainties: One, that Iraq was and is an artificial state, and two, that outside regime change would require an extended occupation.'" 
Failures in Iraq
Going to War With the Army You Have
- "Rumsfeld Hears Gripes from GIs in Kuwait," AP, December 8, 2004: "In a rare public airing of grievances, disgruntled soldiers complained to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Wednesday about long deployments and a lack of armored vehicles and other equipment. ... 'You go to war with the Army you have,' Rumsfeld replied, 'not the Army you might want or wish to have.'"
- "Troops grill Rumsfeld over Iraq," BBC, December 8, 2004.
- "Congress's Paperwork Humvees. First, fix the military's failed acquisition system," Wall Street Journal, December 10, 2004.
- Harold Meyerson, "The Army You Have ... Under Bush and Rumsfeld couldn’t care less if your humvee is armored with cardboard," Los Angeles Weekly, December 17-23, 2004.
- Frederick W. Kagan, "The Army We Have," The Weekly Standard, December 27, 2004.
- Brian Orloff, "E&P Analysis Suggests Rumsfeld Wrong to Attack Major Papers on Armor Episode," Editor & Publisher, February 8, 2005.
Nature of the Iraqi Resistance
It would appear that, for one thing, there has been a "propensity to mis-analyze the resistance." This is succinctly explained by Asia Times's Michael Schwartz in his March 10, 2005, "The failings of 'the army you have'". Schwartz first cites a February 2005 account from a Newsweek team led by Rod Nordland:
- "The initial United States assault on Iraq was so successful that Saddam Hussein's plan for systematic resistance fell apart almost immediately, leaving a dispersed, unruly guerrilla movement with little or no coherent leadership. In the two subsequent years, however, the Saddamists formed a wealthy and savvy leadership group in Syria. In the meantime Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the Jordanian terrorist with ties to al-Qaeda, asserted his domination over the on-the-ground resistance. Pressure from recent US offensives drove the two groupings into an increasingly comfortable alliance."
- Barham Salih, the Iraqi deputy prime minister sums it up: "'The Ba'athists regrouped and, in the last six or seven months, reorganized. Plus they had significant amounts of money, in Iraq and in Syria.' Those contacts and networks that Saddam's key cronies began developing months before the invasion now paid off. An understanding was found with the Islamic fanatics, and the well-funded Ba'athists appear to have made Syria a protected base of operations. 'The Iraqi resistance is a monster with its head in Syria and its body in Iraq' is the colorful description given by a top Iraqi police official ... Zarqawi's people supply the bombers, the Ba'athists provide the money and strategy.'"
Schwartz then says, however, that the Central Intelligence Agency "issued a contrary report around the time the Newsweek article appeared.
- "According to the CIA, the Zarqawi faction and his Saddamist allies were 'lesser elements' in the resistance, which was increasingly dominated by 'newly radicalized Sunni Iraqis, nationalists offended by the occupying force, and others disenchanted by the economic turmoil and destruction caused by the fighting'. There is," he states, "in fact, a vast body of publicly available evidence in support of the CIA's perspective, including, for example, most first-hand accounts of the resistance in Fallujah and other cities in the Sunni triangle.
- "In the short, dreary history of America's Iraq war, US leaders have repeatedly acted on gross misconceptions about whom they were fighting - sometimes based on faulty intelligence, but sometimes in the face of perfectly accurate intelligence. This is, in all likelihood, another instance where they believe their own distortions, and it is worthwhile attempting to understand the underlying pattern that produces this almost predictable error."
Ah, Democracy ... "blooming in the Iraqi desert" with "breezes blowing in the Middle East"
- Maureen Dowd writes March 10, 2005, in the New York Times article "A Defense That's Offensively Weak" that
- "W. successfully confused Americans by labeling the invasion of Iraq an offensive thrust in the war on terror, even though Iraq had played no role in the 9/11 attacks, had no ties with Al Qaeda and had no weapons to share with terrorists. But 9/11 was an emasculating blow, and the White House had to strike back at somebody.
- "What the administration doesn't acknowledge, as it crows about democracy blooming in the Iraqi desert, is that our defense against terrorists who want to attack here [in the U.S.] is full of holes, and that the war in Iraq may have made it even worse. Despite the promising election, the war has created more insurgents and given them a training ground. It has siphoned off attention, money and troops that could have been used to catch Osama bin Laden, pursue Al Qaeda and secure our own country. And it has alienated not only many Arabs, but also allies who were eager, after 9/11, to help us fight Al Qaeda - even Italians are mad now."
- "While the president and the neocons try to remake the Middle East to help future generations, can't they find a little time to remake our security to protect this generation?"
- Robert Parry pointed out March 9, 2005, that:
- "By giving George W. Bush and his neoconservative advisers far too much credit for recent political shifts in the Middle East, the U.S. news media is emboldening these architects of the Iraq War to escalate their regional strategy, which may include a military solution in Iraq that could cross into genocide."
- "... crediting Bush and his neoconservatives for democratic breezes blowing in the Middle East – appears to be just the latest case of dangerous wishful thinking, the kind of rush to judgment that surrounded the erroneous acceptance of Bush’s WMD claims in fall 2002 and the premature celebration of U.S. military victory in Iraq in spring 2003."
- "There is also the danger that this latest misinterpretation of events – that the Arab world is rallying behind Bush’s leadership – is already contributing to a backlash that could undermine democratic advances."
Related SourceWatch Resources
- Abu Ghraib
- adapting to win
- Bush doctrine
- capture of Saddam Hussein
- coalition of the willing: beginning of the end
- Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction
- embedded media
- global struggle against violent extremism
- intelligence community
- Iraq as an imminent threat
- Iraq Coalition Casualty Statistics
- Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the prime training ground for foreign terrorists
- Iraq Study Group
- Iraqi insurgency
- Iraq's oil industry
- Is the Iraq mission a failure?
- Loose Cannon Pentagon
- military-industrial complex
- Occupation forces in Iraq
- occupation of Iraq
- Operation Enduring Freedom
- Operation Iraqi Freedom
- outposts of tyranny
- Post-war Iraq (whenever that is)
- preemptive war
- provocation of terrorism
- reconstruction of Iraq
- rogue nation
- Shiite Muslim uprising in Iraq
- shock and awe
- stay the course
- War in Iraq is fueling global terrorism
- weapons of mass destruction
- Joseph I. Lieberman, "Bush's Failure in Iraq," Boston Globe, May 19, 2003.
- Steve Chapman, "Time to Face Reality of Failure in Iraq," Baltimore Sun, September 5, 2003.
- "A failure in Iraq," New York Times, September 27, 2003.
- Oliver Willis, "Bush's Miserable Failure in Iraq," Like Kryptonite to Stupid, October 26, 2003.
- Tom Engelhardt, "The Time of Withdrawal," Tom Dispatch, October 31, 2003.
- Laurie Mylroie, "What Intelligence Failure in Iraq?," Front Page Magazine, February 5, 2004.
- Fred Hiatt, "The Price Of Failure In Iraq," Washington Post, February 9, 2004.
- Harry Binswanger, "The Big Lie: Intelligence Failure in Iraq," Capitalism Magazine, February 23,2004.
- ARI Watch, Review of "The Big Lie: Intelligence Failure in Iraq".
- Patrick J. Buchanan, "Is failure now an option?," World Net Daily, April 7, 2004.
- "'Consequences of Failure in Iraq' Are Unthinkable, Washington Post, April 14, 2004: "President Bush's opening statement at a news conference last night and excerpts of reporters' questions and his answers."
- Patrick Cockburn, "The failure in Iraq is even deeper than people imagine. It has taken incompetence of a high order for the US to become so isolated in Iraq," Information Clearing House, April 17, 2004.
- David Hirst, "The price of failure in Iraq," Al Ahram, June 3-9, 2004: "The US Iraqi enterprise was meant to transform the entire Middle East to the benefit of the Americans. Ironically, it is the US failure now that threatens to spread elsewhere."
- Michael Moran, "Judging success and failure in Iraq. Like the war, no agreement on criteria, either," MSNBC, June 24, 2004.
- Rajiv Chandrasekaran, "Mistakes Loom Large as Handover Nears. Missed Opportunities Turned High Ideals to Harsh Realities," Washington Post, June 20, 2004.
- Mark Riebling, "The Real Failure in Iraq," markriebling.com, July 15, 2004.
- Peter W. Galbraith, "Eyewitness to a failure in Iraq," Boston Globe, October 27, 2004.
- William Kristol, "The Defense Secretary We Have," Washington Post, December 15, 2004.
- tex, "Cascading System Failure in Iraq," UnfairWitness, January 12, 2005.
- Rod Nordland, Tom Masland, and Christopher Dickey, "Iraq: Unmasking the Insurgents. Shadow war: The elections won't stop the bombers, but quality intel—and luck—might help," Newsweek, February 7, 2005.
- Michael Schwartz, "Going to War With the Army You Have. Why the U.S. Cannot Correct Its Military Blunders in Iraq; The Latest American Theory about the Iraqi Resistance," Common Dreams, March 5, 2005.
- Robert Parry, "Bush's Neocons Unbridled," Consortium News, March 9, 2005.
- "War on Terror May Breed More Terrorism, Experts Tell Madrid Summit," Agence France Press, March 9, 2005.
- Michael Schwartz, "The failings of 'the army you have'." Asia Times, March 10, 2005.
- Rabbi Moshe Reiss, "Two Bushes are better than one," Asia Times, March 12, 2005. Includes interesting analyses of "traditionalist" and "transformationist" members of Bush pere and Bush fils administrations, as well as the application of "the law of unintended results" in the Middle East.
- Bryan Bender, "Pentagon studying its war errors. Analysts assess tactics in Iraq, Afghanistan," Boston Globe, August 16, 2006.
- Steven Simon, "Report Calls for Military Disengagement From Iraq," Council on Foreign Relations, February 7, 2007.