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Another "Historical Document" Bush Ignored, Costing Lives

chicago dyke's picture

Why does this not surprise me in the least? Even 400K wouldn't have been enough, and they knew it. In 1999, no less:

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. government conducted a series of secret war games in 1999 that anticipated an invasion of Iraq would require 400,000 troops, and even then chaos might ensue.

In its "Desert Crossing" games, 70 military, diplomatic and intelligence officials assumed the high troop levels would be needed to keep order, seal borders and take care of other security needs.
The documents came to light Saturday through a Freedom of Information Act request by the George Washington University's National Security Archive, an independent research institute and library.

"The conventional wisdom is the U.S. mistake in Iraq was not enough troops," said Thomas Blanton, the archive's director. "But the Desert Crossing war game in 1999 suggests we would have ended up with a failed state even with 400,000 troops on the ground."

There are currently about 144,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, down from a peak of about 160,000 in January.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Central Command, which sponsored the seminar and declassified the secret report in 2004, declined to comment Saturday because she was not familiar with the documents.

The war games looked at "worst case" and "most likely" scenarios after a war that removed then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from power. Some are similar to what actually occurred after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003:

_"A change in regimes does not guarantee stability," the 1999 seminar briefings said. "A number of factors including aggressive neighbors, fragmentation along religious and/or ethnic lines, and chaos created by rival forces bidding for power could adversely affect regional stability."

_"Even when civil order is restored and borders are secured, the replacement regime could be problematic _ especially if perceived as weak, a puppet, or out-of-step with prevailing regional governments."

_"Iran's anti-Americanism could be enflamed by a U.S.-led intervention in Iraq," the briefings read. "The influx of U.S. and other western forces into Iraq would exacerbate worries in Tehran, as would the installation of a pro-western government in Baghdad."

_"The debate on post-Saddam Iraq also reveals the paucity of information about the potential and capabilities of the external Iraqi opposition groups. The lack of intelligence concerning their roles hampers U.S. policy development."

_"Also, some participants believe that no Arab government will welcome the kind of lengthy U.S. presence that would be required to install and sustain a democratic government."

_"A long-term, large-scale military intervention may be at odds with many coalition partners."

Criminally incompetent. Repeat at least a dozen times daily, whenever you're speaking to someone. Troops are dead because they ignored this.

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leah's picture
Submitted by leah on

This is a partial answer who all the slugs who keep repeating that Clinton had the same foreign policy as Bush, i.e., that Clinton had signed on to the Republican congress's notion that regime change in Iraq should be the purpose of foreign policy. Clinton was accused at the time for not taking the resolution seriously, and doing noting.

With this bit of news I think we can say that Clinton et al took the policy realistically, both as to what it would require of the American military, and also, from other sources, as to the reliability of all those Iraqi exiles who hadn't been back for decades.

That Bush ignored everything about the previous administrations foreign policy is less about competence and more about ideology, although the two go hand in hand; it should be noted that Bush has ignored the foreign policy of every American administration from FDR forward, including the latter years of the Reagan administration.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

arrogance. "400K? is that really what we need, or will less than half that number do it? should we sweep it all up, and just go for it?" etc.

he really thought he could remake the US military after his own little fantasy. and look at the result. it's a shame the troops can sue him,, because now there's no doubt he pursued the war with criminal negligence.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

I saw this story for the first time in USA Today back in November 2005--it's easy to Google. But it never hurts to keep bringing it up every time we can.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

the generals and brass were saying so, when the war drums first started beating. of course, those that kept on doing that were shut out or shut up pretty quickly, and our SCLM was no help, merrily singing along to bush's rah-rah tune.

i guess the wapo decided it was finally time to report this.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

What has fascinated me since I read it was that when Gen. Eric Shinseki gave his "opinion" about how many troops it would take to occupy Iraq, he wasn't just speaking off the top of his head, but rather (unlike the Bushies) had some pretty hard figures to back himself up.

I keep wondering why the MSM never bothered to pick up on it and ask him where he came up with the number. Of course they never bothered to pick up on hardly anything about this entire mess, from 2000 on...