Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

News Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq

  1. Jul 27, 2006 #1
    Tonight on Charlie Rose there was an interview with Thomas Ricks, reporter for the Washington post, concerning his new book: “Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq.”

    It was really sad to hear him tell account after account of how the US did nothing short of sell a war that was a lie to the American public. Not only was it a lie, they were not prepared for this war. The troops were not prepared, Rumsfield was not prepared.

    Adding insult to injury, the people who did have competence, the Military and the CIA, were ignored when they told the Rumsfield et al. that the intelligence was NOT certain, there was NOT enough planning, we only sent in half as many troops as we needed, the list goes on and on.

    I am waiting for the transcripts to come online and then I will post with actual quotes.

    -A side note, he is not the only one who has openly stated the total and complete failure of the planning that went behind this war. Nearly everyone Rose interviewed has said the same thing, including the Military. Not enough planning, no plan for insurgency, no exit strategy, turmoil between Rumsfield and the Generals, congress sitting idly by and not pressuring the president.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 27, 2006 #2
    Plans go out the window once war starts anyway. Of course, that's no excuse not have plans, but the other side generally has to change its plans as well, and it's not usually a big deal.

    However, in the case of Iraq, our plans were made known for the enemy far in advance. We were coming and staying for a number of years and then we were going to leave. That meant that the other side didn't need to change its plans, because it knew that we were going to be stubborn for a number of years.

    We also gave them the certainty that we would not immediately increase our presence and invade Iran or Syria, because they knew that we had a hard enough time getting political support to invade Iraq. This meant that Iran and Syria could support the insurgency all they wanted without fear of immediate retribution.

    It's not that we had poor planning. It's much worse than that. It's that we're not taking the enemy seriously - we're strategically obvious, politically inflexible, and we don't have clear objectives.

    I remember thinking in the months before the war started, "if we don't find any WMDs, this is just going to be awful," because if Iraq had WMDs, then the world would support and even demand a more flexible campaign. That's not what happened. All we have is speculation that the WMDs were shipped to Syria. But it's good and reasonable speculation. Think about it, the enemy knew that if WMD's were not found in Iraq, world opinion would sway even more against the US. So, are we going to do anything about Syria and the insurgency's supporters? No. Because we don't take the enemy seriously.

    No one does. The UK doesn't. Germany doesn't. France doesn't. The US doesn't. The difference is that the UK, US and others are trying to do something, and failing.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2006
  4. Jul 27, 2006 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Instead of putting down his father for not removing Saddam, Dubya should have pondered why Bush Sr. did not do so. It wasn't just because of world/UN condemnation and being a wuss. It was because there were no "ducks in a row" for smooth transition to new leadership once Saddam was removed. This was proved in Iran when the Shah was removed, and we would see this time and again if we went about the business of regime change in Syria or what have you.

    Finding WMD in Iraq (which I don't believe existed based on UN monitoring following obliteration of Saddam's military during the Gulf War) has no bearing in regard to the poor results. Certainly when one adds bad execution, which began immediately with the looting, and no exit strategy etc., the invasion/occupation of Iraq will probably be a mistake that will top Vietnam.

    Sound bytes like "it's better to take the fight over there" really get me. I have yet to see any connection between Iraq and the "war on terror" let alone how the fight against terrorism has been isolated to Iraq as a result of the invasion/occupation. People are so gullible.

    There has been so much evidence that the invasion of Iraq was sold to Americans with lies, but until gullible Bush supporters can be convinced of this (good luck), Bush/Cheney (and Rummy) cannot be removed from office via impeachment proceedings as deserved.

    Just imagine if the U.S. had remained focused on Al Qeada in Afghanistan. We would still have the support of the world. We would not be bogged down in Iraq. We would still have full power in addressing crisis (whether perceived or real). Way to go Dubya.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2006
  5. Jul 27, 2006 #4
    Many of us were well aware of that before we went in. All it took was a nose for BS and you could have known the administration was churning it out in bucket loads and tainting their breath by chowing down on their own supply.

    That is because most of the world could see though the BS.
    No, we don't have that. The talking heads on TV like to spout that, and hardly anyone in our media seems to care to correct that misinformation, but Rusmfeld gave us the truth just a few months ago when he said "It appears that there were not weapons of mass destruction there."


    So there you go, one big farce from the begriming, and we still sit back and let ourselves be played though it while willfully ignoring the inconsistencies and stifling the calls for reason which could have saved us from ever getting ourselves into this mess.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2006
  6. Jul 27, 2006 #5
    I’m afraid I cannot agree with you Mickey. First, plans do not go out the window once the war starts. You have alternative plans, a "plan B" if you will. This Administration has no plan B. This is not a debate, this is a hard fact. Everyone that has been on the program has said there was no plan B. Even the CIA has said there was no plan B. (Which reminds me, I will try to dig up the transcript of John McLaughlin, former Dir. of the CIA, on the Rose program.)

    Invading Iran and Syria was/is not a possibility. We already cannot handle Iraq, how would we possibly invade two other countries hostile to the US? Impossible.

    I do agree that we are politically inflexible and don't have clear objectives.

    As for WMD's in Syria, Kyleb has already provided a response; however, I will add, keep in mind "fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me."

    Don't believe everything you hear from these people.

    -*Great link Kyleb
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2006
  7. Jul 27, 2006 #6
    So how then, was this adiministration so certain of weapons of mass distruction?

    I think, information from a man of his position, should be sufficient proof to show that we did not have the intelligence to back the case claimed by this administration. I would hope we all agree that there is no debate to this point.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2006
  8. Jul 27, 2006 #7
    "No question there are morale problems at the agency, and no question that a lot of highly qualified senior people have left."​

    That, is worrisome.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2006
  9. Jul 27, 2006 #8
    This one is long, I apologize, but I don't want to take it out of context.

    Things I found interesting.

    "The -- 1998, that is an important development. Our resources then are stretched on a lot of other things. We struggle, at that point, to understand what is going on in the no-fly zones, where our pilots are being shot at, along with UK pilots. So you`ve got all of that in the background of this.

    I think, we were also influenced by outside experts who had more confidence than we did, in fact, in the existence of WMD"​

    If you struggle ot understand what is going on in the no-fly zones, how can you know there are WMDs?

    Then later:
    "Well, the best way to describe that is to say what appeared in the national intelligence estimate, which is, at the end of the day, that`s what you put on paper and that`s what you live with. And the estimate was that the Iraqis were five to seven years away from a nuclear weapon, possibly. They were not enriching uranium but they were assembling some of the material that could be used to enrich uranium.

    And there were dissents to this. The Department of Energy had three full pages in that estimate arguing that some of the materials going into the procurement, such as the aluminum tubes, were not intended for nuclear weapons.

    And the State Department, of course, dissented from the overall judgment about nuclear weapons.

    So in total, there were, I don`t know, seven, eight pages of alternative use in the estimate. So it was a rather textured picture on nuclear weapons at that point."​
    Five to seven years away, possibly. Also, the State Department dissented. This is not a clear picture of WMDs.

    This speaks volumes as well:

    "We said that there were chemical and biological weapons. And they have not been found. So one must assume they are not there."​
    And this:

    "CHARLIE ROSE: So conventional wisdom was that Saddam had nuclear weapons. Was the CIA saying let`s subvert the paradigm?

    JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: No. No, I may be misleading you. The CIA agreed with the consensus that he was re-instituting enriching uranium."​

    This should leap out at you.

    "JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: And it`s a point I want to make. The CIA hired Charlie Duelfer. They told him you have one mission. We told him your mission is to find the truth. We protected his independence. We gave them the resources. And he came back and wrote a very impressive 1600 page report that we stood by, and we took as the bottom line here.

    CHARLIE ROSE: And what he said was -- and help me understand this -- they have no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.


    CHARLIE ROSE: However there was the capacity and the intent, at some point, to reconstitute a program.

    JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Exactly. And he also said that would be hastened if sanctions were removed and that the sanctions regime was eroding."​
    No weapons folks! Why do you think nothing ever turned up? Hiding in Syria, Mickey? My backside.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2006
  10. Jul 27, 2006 #9


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    The intel was definitely cooked to sell the war.

    As for how many troops were sent in, there is a problem with the idea that the US didn't send in enough troops. The military is having trouble maintaining a troop strength of 130,000 to 150,000. They're having to rely on Reserves and the National Guard more than they've ever had to do in the past.

    If we sent in 300,000 or 400,000 troops, there's no way we could have sustained that past 6 months or so. I think that's the real reason the administration wound up ignoring military leaders.

    After a decade of reaping the 'peace dividend' after the end of the Cold War, the military really wasn't capable of an invasion and occupation of a country as large as Iraq. That meant the options were limited to:

    1) Don't invade Iraq. That obviously wasn't an acceptable alternative, evidenced by the fact that the administration was cooking intel to sell the war.

    2) Send in 300,000 or 400,000 troops. A new government sets up in Iraq and things stabilize in the first 6 months or the US goes home in defeat. We either win fast or lose fast. That option had to look good to military leaders not eager to trash the military's future on a bad decision. The possibility of going home defeated in 6 months made that an unacceptable alternative to the administration.

    3) Send in the maximum number of troops you can sustain long term. It reduces the chance for success, but you don't have to leave in defeat. You keep fighting until you win, regardless of how long that takes. Considering what that will do to military recruitment, military leaders probably didn't like that option. That option would avoid the embarrassment of defeat for the administration.

    I think that's what Rumsfeld meant by, "As you know, you go to war with the Army you have. They're not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time." When you've decided to pursue an option that's really not available, there aren't many good choices left to make.

    The lack of planning for post-invasion Iraq reflected that. How could the military and administration possibly agree on a realistic plan if there weren't any realistic options.
  11. Jul 27, 2006 #10
    Bob, when the transcript comes online, I will provide what Ricks said about the military assesment he found that said we needed double the amount of troops we sent into Iraq.

    I do agree with your post though. It seems every expert agrees that Rumsfield should have been fired.
  12. Jul 27, 2006 #11


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Cyrus, please include links to the transcripts as well.
  13. Jul 27, 2006 #12
    I can't, you need a University Id to access them, Sorry.
  14. Jul 27, 2006 #13
    This reminds me of an interview with Bob Woodward back in 04.

    This is interesting:
    "CHARLIE ROSE: So how do you measure that quality? I mean, on the one hand, you can say it`s decisive leadership; on the other hand, you could call no doubt leaves America to one of its greatest foreign policy disasters certainly in the last 100 years."​

    This should concern you:
    "CHARLIE ROSE: I mean, this is different from Lyndon Johnson in Vietnam. Lyndon Johnson, we now know, was plagued by doubt, was talking to a whole range of people who were saying to him, Mr. President, you`re on the wrong track. Reconsider, reconsider, reconsider. He was agonizing.

    BOB WOODWARD: He was always calling in George Ball, and saying, you know, let me hear your argument again and again. But...

    CHARLIE ROSE: In terms of Bush (UNINTELLIGIBLE), same thing.

    BOB WOODWARD: Bush does not do this. And..."​

    Talk about closed minded.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2006
  15. Jul 27, 2006 #14
    Aha! I his transcript is online now. I will post more shortly.
  16. Jul 27, 2006 #15
    Dammit, the interview was so important I am going to put the whole lot of it here so you can read it, unedited. Read every word of it!!

    Part I.

  17. Jul 27, 2006 #16
  18. Jul 27, 2006 #17

  19. Jul 27, 2006 #18
  20. Jul 27, 2006 #19
  21. Jul 27, 2006 #20
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook