Blogs > Liberty and Power > No Kidding

Dec 23, 2004 4:49 pm

No Kidding

In the Department of"News" We Already Knew If We've Been Paying Attention At All, I just came across this brief article:

America's handling of the occupation of Iraq came in for scathing criticism Wednesday, with government officials accused of living in a"fantasyland" and failing to learn from mistakes made in Vietnam. A report issued by the independent Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington charged that the occupation had been handled by"ideologues" in the Bush administration who consistently underestimated the scale of the problems they were facing and that this had contributed to a culture in which facts were willfully misrepresented.

The report lists a litany of errors on the part of the United States."Their strategic assessments of Iraq were wrong," it says."They were fundamentally wrong about how the Iraqi people would view the United States invasion. They were wrong about the problems in establishing effective governance, and they underestimated the difficulties in creating a new government that was legitimate in Iraqi eyes.

"They greatly exaggerated the relevance and influence of Iraqi exiles, and greatly underestimated the scale of Iraq's economic, ethnic, and demographic problems."

The report lays responsibility for these errors with the policymakers in Washington."The problem with dealing with the Iraqi army and security forces was handled largely by ideologues who had a totally unrealistic grand strategy for transforming Iraq and the Middle East," the report says.

As my headline says: No Kidding. Here's the CSIS site, and here's the Anthony Cordesman report the article discusses (pdf file).The article also contains this piece of entirely predictable, but nonetheless depressing, news:
American efforts to rebuild Iraq received a further blow Wednesday when it was revealed that one of the leading U.S. contractors in the region, Contrack International, was pulling out. The decision to scrap its $325 million contract to rebuild transport infrastructure was prompted by rising violence and related security costs, the company said. The decision marks the first time that a prime contractor has decided to leave Iraq."The security environment is not always permissive to doing the kind of work that they were trying to do," a Pentagon spokesman said.
If only events of recent days would get us to leave more quickly, but I have no confidence at all that will happen.

Well, Happy Holidays to all anyway.

(Related Iraq entries here ["Worse than Vietnam"] and here ["A World Run by Bullies"].)

(Also related: a previous essay I just reposted:"The Fatal Utopian Delusion." It has a lot of passages from some guy named Chris Sciabarra. He seems like a pretty smart fella.)

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More Comments:

Chris Matthew Sciabarra - 12/23/2004

Thanks for the plug, Arthur. :)

This is very interesting that Contrack could just scrap its contract. I've been looking around the Internet to see if there is any "penalty" for this, or if there was simply a loophole in the contract allowing the breaking of its terms due to "security concerns." Haven't found anything. This contract was apparently awarded by the Coalition Authority back in March.

I'm surprised the "Coalition Authority" has not conscripted businesses just yet. Perhaps they're still waiting for all those Iraqi oil revenues to kick in so that the reconstruction project won't sacrifice any more US taxpayer revenues.

Ah, yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.