Great mysteries of empire are always shrouded in mystery. One idea that I have lifted from terrible military fiction is the concept of the 6P’s.
Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.
Can you guess which imperialistic nation didn’t do their homework?
“Sky said the United States led the invasion of Iraq in 2003 to oust a dictator, Saddam Hussein, and to help establish a democratic beachhead in the Middle East. But after the invasion, it was the military that was left with the job of trying to keep the country together.
“They had been told to go in and take care of Saddam and that was it. They were completely unaware of the situation there. They had to make the best of the situation they found themselves in.”
According to Sky, the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush believed that democracy would take hold on its own; they had no roadmap for how to make that happen.”
Yah. You would think after a grand statue toppling the rest of the piece of the ‘nation-building’ exercise would just fall into place. What could go wrong?
“These plans drawn up in Washington were all wishful thinking,” she said.
At one point, Sky recounts in the book, Donald Rumsfeld showed up for a military briefing in northern Iraq, and didn’t know where neighbouring Iran was on the map.”
Yep, the US had the smartest guys in the room in on this one. Predictably, they royally screwed the country up, destroying vital civilian infrastructure, murdering a bunch of civilians and of course setting the state for the next terrorist flavour of the month, ISIL. You’d think there would be some questions of accountability being asked as to who laid the foundation of this megalith of stupidity.
“No one has ever been held accountable for the decisions, for the false intelligence that led them to invade Iraq,” she says. “They should be. The people at the top should be held accountable for what went wrong.”
Sky was blunt in her assessment to General Odierno, telling him that America’s blundering in Iraq was the, “worst strategic failure since the foundation of the United States.”
I’m guessing that if you arbitrarily declare victory at some point during the shit-show it somehow allows the drivers of the clown-car to be exculpated for all their sins. Of course having the biggest war machine on earth allows you to do pretty much as you please – Nuremberg and Geneva Conventions be damned.
But let’s not focus too much on the big picture yet, more cock-ups are yet to happen:
“But the biggest missed opportunity happened following the first national elections in 2010, when the sitting Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, failed to gain a majority.
“Iraqis had become convinced that politics, not violence, was the way forward.” she says. “All the various groups came out to vote, and the bloc that won ran on a platform of ‘no to sectarianism.’
“Sky believes this presented an opportunity to oust Nouri al-Maliki, a man who was consolidating his own power base, in favour of a true – or at least fledgling – democracy.
“But it was a close result. Maliki refused to accept the results,” she said.
The U.S. decided that backing al-Maliki, even with his faults, was the best chance for stability. This wasn’t something the military supported.
“The ambassador at the time, Chris Hill, had no experience of Iraq and didn’t really want to be there.”
Sky writes that Hill spent most of his time trying to make the embassy in Baghdad “normal.” He even brought in rolls of sod to make a lawn where he could practise lacrosse.
“General Odierno was adamant that the U.S. should protect the political process, allow the winning group 30 days to form the government. Hill didn’t have the same feel for Iraq and he said ‘Maliki is our man, the strong man the country needs.’ In the end Biden went with the ambassador’s recommendation.”
Sky believes it was a huge mistake.
“Maliki’s politics were poisonous,” she said.”
Well he looked like Saddam Hussein 2.0 ( the one we liked and actively supported, economically and militarily)and that was a good thing! Oh wait…
“Sky was disheartened as she watched the Iraqi people lose confidence in the country’s leaders, especially groups such as Sunni Muslims, who felt there was no place for them and no chance to be part of the government.
“If you were Sunni, you made the unfortunate decision that supporting ISIS was a better option than supporting the central government in Baghdad,” she says.
Current Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has been trying to reform the government. This week he cut the cabinet in an attempt to oust some of the old guard, and dropped quotas for government positions that were based on ethnicity.
Sky is cautiously hopeful that the new government may help turn things around, but says it will not be easy.”
Well and that brings us up to today – Can we get a ‘Mission Accomplished’ ?! Anyone? Anyone??
Is this thing even on?