# Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq

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## Main Question or Discussion Point

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.

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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.

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SOS2008
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.

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kyleb
cyrusabdollahi said:
-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.
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.

Mickey said:
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 is because most of the world could see though the BS.
Mickey said:
All we have is speculation that the WMDs were shipped to Syria. But it's good and reasonable speculation.
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."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4975372.stm

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.

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Mickey said:
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.
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.

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McLaughlin said:
CHARLIE ROSE: Were there agents on the ground in Baghdad after 98?

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: One of the things that we have to acknowledge is we didnt have very good close-end sources, human sources in Iraq.

CHARLIE ROSE: Why is that?

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Well, it goes back a bit to the fact that I think after 98, we had high confidence we understood the situation on the ground, and to the extent that we were devoting resources to Iraq, a lot of those resources went to covering things like the no-fly zones north and south. And in addition, Iraq is -- was a hard target to penetrate.

Now, theyre all hard. We have a list of hard targets to penetrate. They include things like Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Libya -- which weve talked about -- obviously, countries with strong counterintelligence cultures, and authoritarian regimes, very hard to penetrate. And we werent very successful on Iraq for a whole range of reasons.

CHARLIE ROSE: Other than the fact that they had a paranoid dictator and a counter-intelligence mind-set .

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Right.

CHARLIE ROSE: . why we - why was it so hard to penetrate there?

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: I think those are the main factors. Very hard to -- with human sources now -- very hard to recruit people who live in societies like that and who are strictly controlled, have difficulty moving about, are watched continuously. And you win some -- theres a lot of luck in it. Its not all foreordained. Its a difficult business, the human spy business.

McLaughlin said:
CHARLIE ROSE: Does the CIA owe any apology for information and for assumptions that were made about the United States going to war in Iraq, first? And secondly, does it owe an apology to the secretary of state at the time, Colin Powell, because of what he said at the U.N.?

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Apology, I dont know. Regret, yes. Certainly, on this issue, people who arrived at those conclusions regret that they were wrong. At the same time, I think its fair to say that the decision to go to war was based on a variety of factors, many things, including inputs from people outside the government, including Saddams record with human rights and so forth. Intelligence was one input to it. Certainly regret.

CHARLIE ROSE: Yeah.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: . that - that the intelligence was not right on every issue. Intelligence was expected to do many things here -- talk about WMD, project what would happen after the invasion, gauge the relationship between al Qaeda and Saddam, judge in the aftermath of conflict what was happening -- I think Ive listed four or five. It didnt do particularly well on one of them. On the others, its done reasonably well.

With Colin Powell, you know, someone I have deep respect for, Ive spoken to him personally about this, and Secretary Powell knows what I said, and Ill just leave it there.
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.

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May said:
BRIAN ROSS: Eric, let me ask you. The "New York Times," ABC, weve all reported low morale at the CIA. What kind of a mess has Porter Goss left there for General Hayden and Steve Kappes to clean up now? What are they going to find when they walk into work there?

ERIC LICHTBLAU: Well, the general is obviously taking over at a critical time, I think. You know, the Goss regime is - is now seen as obviously as a failure. When George Tenet, shortly before he left, he said that covert operations capabilities were -- I think what he said was five years away from where they needed to be. Id be curious to know where after the Goss regime I think they sit now.

You know, there obviously are morale problems, major turnover and resignations over the last 19 months. There are questions obviously still persisting about the CIAs secret prisons and detention practices. And, you know, many people on Capitol Hill who are questioning the agencys performance even more aggressively than ever on -- after the series of failures involving first 9/11 and then Iraq and WMD. So its, you know, its a tough challenge I think for anyone.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Brian, I need to interject .

BRIAN ROSS: Yes.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: . something here, if you dont mind. No question there are morale problems at the agency, and no question that a lot of highly qualified senior people have left. But Im in a position to know that people there also have remained very mission-focused. Im not cheerleading for the agency here, but I want to tell you that people there take their work seriously, and the American public needs to know that. For example, in counterterrorism, they have been very, very effective through this period.

The emphasis there, you know, another thing a leader needs to do - so, what Im saying is this is not an agency in free fall. Thats something that people often say.

BRIAN ROSS: But morale is important, though, isnt it?

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: The morale is important. It is important. And whats important is that the leader have a vision and convey to the workforce where the leader wants to go, and they - they will - they will respond to that.

But it is a workforce that has been battered by criticism, some of it fair, some of it way overdone. And the American public never hears about the successes that take place there, although I could list many of them. Theyre not necessarily classified.

But I think Mike Hayden today in his statement was deliberately trying to reach out to that workforce and say, I know you work hard, I know you care about your work, I know that the blame train stops very frequently at the CIA, and that youre under-appreciated. So I just want to add that little (inaudible).

BRIAN ROSS: Sure, sure.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Its not an agency that is flat on its back or not functioning.

BRIAN ROSS: Quickly .

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Not by a long shot.
"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.

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This one is long, I apologize, but I don't want to take it out of context.

January said:
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: OK. I am the guy who said it was kind of like a perfect storm. Its unlike any intelligence issue I ever saw. In that normally, our job is to penetrate something that is impenetrable and discover what is going on. North Korea is a good case in point, when we discovered the covert uranium enrichment program in fall 2002.
In Iraq, to succeed we would have had to disprove what most of the world believed. It is a different kind of dynamic.

CHARLIE ROSE: Most of the world believed that he had weapons of mass destruction?

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Exactly. Now strategically, a lot of things are going on here. Nineteen ninety-eight, the inspectors leave Iraq. Up until then, we have high confidence. We understand whats going on. Weve held it in our hands, ground truth.

Nineteen ninety-eight, we are somewhere near the bottom of our resource slide, in the 90s. And the inspectors leave. We think we understand Iraq reasonably well.

There are a lot of things in the world we dont understand, as well, that are grows in importance, Iran, North Korea, China and so forth. So a lot of our resources go there. U2 coverage of central Iraq is lost in 1998 when the inspectors leave. Was there under an agreement.

CHARLIE ROSE: Getting a lot of information from others like from U2? (ph)

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: U2 covered central Iraq, which is where most of the WMD related facilities were.

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 youve 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 were to compare the statements of people on the outside, you would you find them more leaning farther forward on things like...

CHARLIE ROSE: Who do you mean?

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Well, look for example at Ken Pollocks article. I think youve interviewed Ken.

CHARLIE ROSE: Yes, I have.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: He assembles a group of -- in his "Atlantic Monthly" article, he describes assembling a group of former U.N. inspectors and asking them in 2001, I think, or 2002, if they thought Saddam was enriching uranium. And all of them said yes. Well, thats more than the intelligence committee said.

CHARLIE ROSE: Now, what did the CIA think at that time?

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: 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, thats what you put on paper and thats 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 dont know, seven, eight pages of alternative use in the estimate. So it was a rather textured picture on nuclear weapons at that point.

CHARLIE ROSE: Chemical and biological?

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Chemical and biological, I think it has to be said that we stated it wrong in the estimate.

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

One of the things, as you look back at this and try and learn lessons, is that it becomes very important, with hindsight, to make very clear, in the front end of any product you produce, that is, the summary that everyone looks at, to make very clear the uncertainties you have in the gaps in your knowledge. And thats one of the lessons drawn from this. And its something that is being done now in estimates that Ive had an opportunity to look at.

Let me make one other point. We actually took our analysts off line and had them reflect on the issues they cover. What are the underlying forces? What are the assumptions that are driving them? And we had them test those assumptions in written products. Tried to sensitize everyone to the need to challenge the conventional wisdom, be a skeptic.

CHARLIE ROSE: Be a skeptic?

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: It said "Subvert the dominant paradigm."

CHARLIE ROSE: Subvert the dominant paradigm?

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: It was a sign that someone had given to me earlier in my career and it was essentially telling people challenge the conventional wisdom. Dont accept what you see. Push it.

CHARLIE ROSE: So conventional wisdom was that Saddam had nuclear weapons. Was the CIA saying lets 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.

CHARLIE ROSE: Because it had evidence or because...

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: There was evidence, yes.

CHARLIE ROSE: After 95?

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: After 95. And thats how we put it together. Thats -- people saw a variety of things that lead to that be conclusion.

Now, when Charlie Duelfer went over there.

CHARLIE ROSE: Right.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: I dont know if youve interviewed Charlie or not.

CHARLIE ROSE: I know him, yes.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Charlie is someone that we hired.

CHARLIE ROSE: Right.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: And its 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.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Right.

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.

So I want to just say, the CIA deserves, I think, some acknowledgment for honestly looking the problem in the eye, for hiring someone to find the answer independently and for accepting the answer and the consequences and learning the lessons.

CHARLIE ROSE: I want to show you...

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: But it is an important point I need to make here, though.

CHARLIE ROSE: All right.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Because one of the things -- I wrote an op-ed some time ago that says, based on everything the American public has heard, it probably has a kind of cartoon image of the intelligence community.

CHARLIE ROSE: Right.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: That it cant do anything right. That its always been wrong. That its divided internally and so forth.

CHARLIE ROSE: And it doesnt understand the cultures of other places.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: All of thatMy point is, it is dangerous to generalize too broadly from mistakes that are made in one arena, such as Iraq WMD.

I mean, if it was as flat-footed as everyone says, we would not have been able to get into Afghanistan, and join up with human sources wed cultivated for years, penetrate the worlds most dangerous nuclear proliferation network, the a.q.kahn network. We penetrated it thoroughly and disabled it.

We would not have been able to discover North Koreas covert uranium enrichment program, which is the thing that has pushed this back up onto the top of the agenda. We would not have been able, for years, to understand the roots of Irans nuclear intentions. And I was giving intelligence to our policymakers as early as the late 90s.
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 youve 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, thats what you put on paper and thats 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 dont 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 lets 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."​
Interesting.....

This should leap out at you.

"JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: And its 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.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Right.

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.

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BobG
Homework Helper
cyrusabdollahi said:
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.
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.

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.

Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member

I can't, you need a University Id to access them, Sorry.

This reminds me of an interview with Bob Woodward back in 04.

May said:
CHARLIE ROSE: And no other reporter has talked to him for three hours.

BOB WOODWARD: And gone through the detailed chronology of the road to war. And what you find with him is -- and I asked this very directly, what about doubt? And he jumps in his chair and says, no doubt. You know, in our business, in most lives, people live in a sea of doubt. You know, I always question. I always wonder. Am I talking to the person that I thought I was talking to? Am I being spun? How can I back this up? Are there documents and so forth? So there is no doubt that he says he has about this.

CHARLIE ROSE: So how do you measure that quality? I mean, on the one hand, you can say its 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.

BOB WOODWARD: It could be, but we dont know. It is going to be measured by outcomes. And the reason this book is recommended by the Bush-Cheney campaign...

CHARLIE ROSE: On their Web site.

BOB WOODWARD: On their Web site. And I checked two days ago with one of the senior people in the White House, and I asked, I said, is it still there? Have you taken it down? And said no, and said not only are we recommending it, we recommend it strongly, because it shows Bush is determined. No one is going to push him off course. Thats what hes running on. Karl Roves playbook is what? Strong leader. Somebody who will, you know, whatever the winds out there are not going to blow him away from what he is sure, in his own mind, was the right decision.

CHARLIE ROSE: Is it a tenet of wise leadership to seek out the advice of those around you, to see if you are on the right course? Is it a tenet of wise leadership to look at the circumstances you find yourself and adjust and change and make sure that your strategy is delivering the results, and perhaps consider another strategy?

BOB WOODWARD: Yes, it normally is, and in this book somebody went through and identified about 52 points where there were red flags, where there should have been doubt, where there should have been what you say, a reconsideration. Should we do this? Is there an alternative strategy to achieve this goal? And Bush is not a deliberative person. He doesnt call people together and say, hey, lets go back to square one. Are we on the right course here? Its Colin Powell comes in and says -- warns him. I mean, in the starkest terms.

CHARLIE ROSE: Saying?

BOB WOODWARD: Saying, have you considered the consequences of invading Iraq? If we break it, we will own it. You will own the hopes, aspirations and problems of 25 million people. Just laying it, almost throwing his heart on the table. And Bush says, yes, fine, well go to the U.N. and try to do this through the U.N. But if that doesnt work, were going to war.

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, youre 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...

CHARLIE ROSE: And hes prepared to live with the results?

BOB WOODWARD: Not prepared; he has no choice now. He said to me, he said, hey, look, I want to be a two-term president, but if Im only a one-term president because of this, so be it.

CHARLIE ROSE: When you talk to them today about all of the disclosures about the prison scandal, what do they say?
This is interesting:
"CHARLIE ROSE: So how do you measure that quality? I mean, on the one hand, you can say its 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, youre 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..."​

Last edited:
Aha! I his transcript is online now. I will post more shortly.

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.

July said:
CHARLIE ROSE: Tom Ricks for the hour, next.

CHARLIE ROSE: Tom Ricks is here. Hes the "Washington Post" senior Pentagon correspondent. Hes covered the U.S. military since the year 2000. His new book is called "Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq."

Earlier today, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki appeared before a joint session of Congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NOURI AL-MALIKI, IRAQI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): This is the new Iraq, which is emerging from the ashes of dictatorship, and despite the carnage of extremist, a country which respects international convention and practices non-interference in the internal affairs of others, relies on dialogue to resolve differences, and strives to develop strong relations with every country that espouses freedom and peace.

The journey has been perilous and the future is not guaranteed, yet many around the world who underestimated the resolve of Iraqs people and were sure that we would never reach this stage. Few believed in us, but you, the American people, did and we are grateful for this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLIE ROSE: Im pleased to welcome Tom Ricks back to this program. Welcome back.

TOM RICKS: Thank you.

CHARLIE ROSE: Its nice have you at the table.

TOM RICKS: Its good to be here.

CHARLIE ROSE: "Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq," there has been obviously a second and third and fourth printing, suggesting what to you other than a very good book, that theres a hunger for what?

TOM RICKS: I think people are ravenous to understand what happened in Iraq, how it happened, and why it happened. And the book, basically, is a narrative. At its core, its a narrative. Heres the story of what happened in Iraq. And its real people, real characters, explaining what they did and looking at the actions of others.

CHARLIE ROSE: A lot of it is ground thats been plowed before. Tell me how you went about filling in the sentences and the pages of your narrative? Who did you talk to? What was the methodology?

TOM RICKS: The book rests on two things. First of all, five reporting trips I made to Iraq over the last three years, and in the course of those, hundreds of interviews with everybody from privates in the U.S. military up to four star generals. And then when I sat down to work on the book itself, I did more in-depth interviews, about 100 with senior officers. And then I found there was enormous amount of information available. The biggest difference in the last time I wrote a book of non- fiction 10 years ago is the information revolution has taken hold.

CHARLIE ROSE: Yeah.

TOM RICKS: Guys at the end of interviews would turn to me and say, heres a CD-ROM with every e-mail I sent to Jerry Bremer when I was in Iraq. Heres all my notes from my year in Iraq and command in Iraq, all my thinking. And if its -- guys would give me, heres every email I sent to my wife. Keep out the good parts.

CHARLIE ROSE: You set out to say, why did we go to war? What did we hope to accomplish? How successful have we been? How unsuccessful have we been? And what are the consequences for the United States and for the military.

TOM RICKS: And what happened and how it happened. And I think where is different from other books is that I went and said, lets look especially at the occupation. Most other books have ended in the summer of 03. And thats about where my book takes off. And the more I looked at it, the more I thought, wow, the real war in Iraq began in the summer of 03, specifically August 7, 2003.

CHARLIE ROSE: Explosion outside the Jordanian embassy.

TOM RICKS: Exactly. And thats when the insurgency starts announcing itself, four months after the United States thought it had prevailed in Baghdad, and in the following weeks, the U.N. headquarters is blown up. Police stations are blown up. A leading Shia -- Shiite cleric is assassinated, and it was a very strategically clever campaign, a brutal and evil campaign, aimed at peeling away the allies of the American effort. Anybody who was helping the Americans was targeted, and it succeeded in isolating the Americans in two ways. First of all, allies were killed; also, the Americans started hiding behind the blast walls of the Green Zone, so they were cut off from the society they were trying to change.

CHARLIE ROSE: What signal -- first of all, was this military and civilian leadership and civilians in the Pentagon - in the White House and the Pentagon prepared for an insurgency?

TOM RICKS: No, they werent.

CHARLIE ROSE: They were prepared for what?

TOM RICKS: They were prepared to execute a rosy assumption best scenario plan. And I think you can blame the Bush administration a lot for that, for neglecting planning for what happens if our assumptions are proven wrong.

CHARLIE ROSE: They had a plan A but no plan B?

TOM RICKS: Exactly. And plan A was - Ill tell you -- the actual war plan said, well go into Iraq, well take Baghdad, and well quickly reduce our troop levels. By August, 2003, well be down to 30,000 troops. And in fact, three years later, we are still at 127,000 troops, and Baghdad is still a city of violence and chaos.

CHARLIE ROSE: Who planned the war? Tommy Franks?

TOM RICKS: I think it was a collaborative effort led by Tommy Franks but extremely heavily influenced by Donald Rumsfeld, in which Franks ultimately was bent to the will of Rumsfeld. We are going to invade Iraq with a small, agile fast force.

CHARLIE ROSE: Tommy Franks said that famous expression that speed - what?

TOM RICKS: Speed kills, he said. He thought you could substitute speed for mass, or troop numbers. And that would be a new way of war. What it didnt take into account was what the president had asked him to do -- go to Iraq and change that country and then change the Middle East, and that would call .

CHARLIE ROSE: They had no sense of changing Iraq or changing the Middle East.

TOM RICKS: No, the war plan essentially was a banana republic war plan, to carry out a coup detat and .

CHARLIE ROSE: Target the top or the dictator and everything else will work out.

TOM RICKS: And leave, thats right.

CHARLIE ROSE: Well be viewed as liberators, people of Iraq will take charge, and you can come home.

TOM RICKS: And when plan A didnt work, there was no plan B on hand. There was - had been a lot of planning but no coherent plan, and then the whole system seemed to freeze. And one CPA official, Andrew Rathmell, said that he blamed Donald Rumsfeld for that, that at the moment when Rumsfelds forceful personality could have come to bear and said, hey, we really need to change here, in that summer of 03, he said, instead Rumsfeld seemed to freeze. And the whole system, because it is a hierarchical system below him, froze as well.

CHARLIE ROSE: Did interview - did Rumsfeld talk to you in the preparation to this book?

TOM RICKS: Rumsfeld did not. When I asked his spokesman for an interview, he basically said not only no, but its never going to happen.

CHARLIE ROSE: Why do you think that is? Because he doesnt -- hes not interested in presenting his point of view?

TOM RICKS: I think he thought that Rumsfeld wouldnt want to talk to me, and I think Rumsfeld had made that clear. But as I said, a lot of information is available, I have read every word that Donald Rumsfeld has said publicly since 9/11. Several thousands pages of transcripts.

CHARLIE ROSE: Roll tape. Conversation I did at the Pentagon. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: In October, before the war ever started, I sat down and wrote a list of things that could go wrong, that could be problems. And if -- I happened to last weekend look at that list, and I read through it and I found things that never happened, that could have happened, that would have been terrible. So there, the realization was better than the expectation, or the possible expectation and vice versa. There were things that occurred that were worse than one might expect. And - and -- but theyre both ways. I mean, we could have had, you mentioned the infrastructure and the oil. Think what they did to Kuwaits oil wells. They set them all on fire. We were very concerned .

CHARLIE ROSE: Right.

DONALD RUMSFELD: . that that could happen in Iraq.

CHARLIE ROSE: It did not happen.

DONALD RUMSFELD: It didnt happen. We were concerned about fortress Baghdad, where it could go on for weeks and weeks and weeks. Thered be the last stand in Baghdad. It didnt happen. We were concerned about the bridges all being blown, and a number of them in fact were - were wired with explosives, but - but we -- that was prevented. We were worried about mass migration of refugees and human suffering and starvation and internally displaced people. It didnt happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLIE ROSE: I went on to actually raise the question of - of what about all the things that did happen that you mentioned could happen? And did. You know, the oil didnt happen, other things did. Tell me, this memo is famous. He showed it to me. Hes shown it to other people.

TOM RICKS: Theyre quite proud of that memo, and it kind of strikes me, I wonder why. There were huge amounts of studies done before the war that warned actually with much more foresight about the problems that would occur, and emphasized again and again security, security, security, you must provide security, you must provide rule of law.

Yet those studies, done at the National Defense University, done at the Army War College, also "The Future of Iraq" study that came out of the State Department, were kind of brushed aside. They werent welcomed, because they brought up meddlesome problems. And they did things like, say, you might not have enough troops to complete the task here.

So, Rumsfelds list is sort of OK, glad you had a list. But what about the thousands of pages of informed studies from specialists, infrastructure specialists, area specialists in the Middle East, who warned you more specifically and better about the problems that could occur? Why were those ignored? Why were those put aside?

CHARLIE ROSE: I know you want to focus and I want to focus on what happened after they toppled Saddam, and I want to get to that. But you just said to me as you sat down, this war really began in 1991.

TOM RICKS: I think historians will look at this entire American experience in Iraq from 91 to whenever it ends, Im guessing 2025, as one long war.

CHARLIE ROSE: 2025 or 2020.

TOM RICKS: Yes.

CHARLIE ROSE: Yes.

TOM RICKS: Ten, 15 years.

CHARLIE ROSE: Because you think Americans are going to have to be there in some number, and there will be an uneasy kind of tension between Shia and Sunni and Kurds.

TOM RICKS: I think our job will be to keep a lid on a civil war. Maybe therell be some sort of partition at some point, that we kind of keep the war inside separated, we keep some sort of peace, and most especially, we keep the war from spilling over the borders.

So I think that will require an American presence. You could probably do it with 30,000 or 50,000 troops. That would also bring down your casualty rate and your expenditure rate, and so make the entire mission more politically sustainable back here at home.

Continued...
CHARLIE ROSE: Whats the likelihood -- I want to come back to 91 -- but that this will spill beyond the borders of Iraq? Having listen to what the prime minister just said to the joint session of Congress?

TOM RICKS: There is a real and genuine and I think present chance that it will spill over the borders. Some people would argue that it already has. One of the - "The Weekly Standard," a conservative magazine, has argued that that this is a proxy war that we see in Israel and Lebanon right now.

CHARLIE ROSE: Right.

TOM RICKS: In which Irans proxy, Hezbollah, is fighting Americas proxy .

CHARLIE ROSE: Israel.

TOM RICKS: Israel.

CHARLIE ROSE: Back to 91. People came out of that -- especially people like Cheney and Wolfowitz, believing what? Especially Wolfowitz, who was such a close -- and Rumsfeld?

TOM RICKS: Im going to utter a phrase youre not going to hear a lot in the American media these days. Wolfowitz was right. He was right, I think, at the end of the 91 war to say that we let down the Shiites. He was then the undersecretary for policy at the Pentagon, one of the top civilian positions. And he was in a small minority inside the first Bush administration saying we should do more in Iraq at the end of the 91 war. I think he felt quite bad and quite pained to see the Shiites slaughtered, and thought we had - we really had a moral obligation to protect them.

CHARLIE ROSE: They rose up and we didnt protect them, and Saddam slaughtered them.

TOM RICKS: He slaughtered the Shiites in the south and the Kurds in the north.

CHARLIE ROSE: And so, Rumsfeld - I mean, Wolfowitz said that was a -- we have got to avenge that and weve got to finish the business we didnt do and we have to make amends for that terrible moral .

TOM RICKS: Yes, and Wolfowitz .

CHARLIE ROSE: . decision, immoral decision.

TOM RICKS: Wolfowitz, I think, didnt think you could actually invade Iraq. He once said to me, I didnt think that there would be a support for - a political support for that sort of invasion, but he did think that you can get support for perhaps an exile force, maybe supported by American air power that could establish an enclave in the south. Maybe you could take the oil fields and have those people support themselves by pumping the oil and selling it on the world market. And he wanted to come up with some sort of solution like that, that went back to Iraq and took care of that problem.

We wound up doing a massive transfer of power in a revolutionary fashion from the Sunnis, who had held power under Saddam Hussein, to the Shiites, and the consequences of that massive transfer I think will take years to unfold.

CHARLIE ROSE: Would they have advocated invaded Iraq if 9/11 never happened?

TOM RICKS: I think a couple of people -- Scooter Libby, Paul Wolfowitz, but not many other people inside the administration -- would have advocated it, but I dont think they would have thought it possible to pull it off until 9/11.

CHARLIE ROSE: And did they think that they should go to war because Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, or because they could change the dynamic of the Middle East if they topple Saddam?

TOM RICKS: I think probably both things. I think they really did persuade themselves, when Cheney got up in August 26th, 2002 and said theres no doubt - no doubt that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction.

CHARLIE ROSE: You have this fascinating point here when General Zinni - Anthony Zinni - is that the moment?

TOM RICKS: That is the moment. On that day, it was at the VFW convention in Nashville, Tennessee. Zinni was there to receive an award for his 30 years as a Marine. Cheney was there to give the speech to the VFW. And Cheney gets up and says theres no doubt about Iraqi WMD. Zinni is sitting behind him on the stage, and nearly falls off his chair. Zinni had been commander of Central Command, still had all the CIA access to top secret information and was a consultant, and knew that there was enormous uncertainty, enormous doubts. And he thought to himself two things -- wow, these guys are really kind of bending the intelligence here, and also, these guys are going to war.

CHARLIE ROSE: Did Zinnis opinion represent the majority opinion in the military?

TOM RICKS: I think it did very much. To the point there was so much skepticism about invading Iraq that in the fall of 2002 -- this is something I disclose in the book -- an order went out from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the regional commanders around the world, the so-called CINCs.

CHARLIE ROSE: Right.

TOM RICKS: It said if there is a war with Iraq, you will consider it part of the war on terror. It was an order.

CHARLIE ROSE: And that was when?

TOM RICKS: In the fall of 2002. Because there had been so many people saying what the hells going on? Why invade Iraq? Thats got nothing to do with the war on terror.

CHARLIE ROSE: Zinni also said they did not know whats going on, leading him to believe the administration wanted to go to war?

TOM RICKS: Yes, he said to me that in August and September 2002, he thinks they just basically had decided to go to war. And .

CHARLIE ROSE: And theyve been on .

TOM RICKS: It was just a political campaign to bring along the American people and the Congress.

CHARLIE ROSE: And promote a best case and - and - and limited and restricted worst case.

TOM RICKS: Well, you had this very interesting intellectual acrobatics where they were very .

CHARLIE ROSE: Thats the word you use, yes.

TOM RICKS: . they were very skeptical and pessimistic about the threat presented by Saddam Hussein and his arsenal -- supposed arsenal but enormously optimistic about the difficulty of occupying Iraq, and they were able to hold these two concepts simultaneously.

CHARLIE ROSE: Colin Powell believed that Saddam could -- as he said before - said before - that Saddam could have been contained.

TOM RICKS: Very much. Powell publicly before 9/11 was a big promoter of containments. He said containments works. But also the president and the vice president had campaigned, essentially saying they were going to continue policies on Iraq that were in place. Cheney was a supporter of containment in his public comments.

CHARLIE ROSE: Did he change?

TOM RICKS: I think .

CHARLIE ROSE: Because he was part of this administration? Who influenced Cheney to change?

TOM RICKS: I think Osama bin Laden.

CHARLIE ROSE: So 9/11 for him was a .

TOM RICKS: I think 9/11 really took them aback and they said boy, the world is different than we thought .

CHARLIE ROSE: And it made George Bush open to the idea as well?

TOM RICKS: Yes, and I think determined not to ignore warnings again as they had before 9/11.

CHARLIE ROSE: Is that your impression, and the other books talk about this too, that George Bush was dragged into this because people he trusted -- Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and others -- believed in it, made the case and he bought their case?

TOM RICKS: I think he did consciously buy their case, and consciously reject Secretary of States Colin Powells admonitions that if you invade Iraq, youll own it.

CHARLIE ROSE: Youll own it. It said - whatever principle that you take something home and you break it, you own it .

TOM RICKS: The Pottery Barn principle, as laid out by Bob Woodward in "Plan of Attack."

CHARLIE ROSE: Right. Going from that, the decision to go to war in 2003, there was after the topple, the looting. Whats the significance of the looting that took place?

TOM RICKS: I think the looting was enormously significant, especially for the message it sent to Iraqis, and most especially when Defense Secretary Rumsfeld was dismissive of - dismissive of it and said, stuff happens, freedom is untidy. The message it sent, according to Freddy Clay, who was one of President Reagans senior defense officials .

more......

CHARLIE ROSE: Right.

TOM RICKS: . was that Americans were disrespectful of Iraqi society ...

CHARLIE ROSE: Very close to Weinberger, by the way.

TOM RICKS: Yes. That either Americans couldnt stop the looting, which meant that they were weak or impressive, or didnt want to stop the looting, which meant that they were being reckless or even destructive to Iraqi society. In either case, the message it sent to Iraqis really I think eroded confidence in the American occupation.

CHARLIE ROSE: There is in your book this notion that there - there was a time that the insurgency, because of what happened after the fall, gathered strength.

TOM RICKS: Yes.

CHARLIE ROSE: It could have been extinguished.

TOM RICKS: Yes.

CHARLIE ROSE: There was a grace period.

TOM RICKS: Yes.

CHARLIE ROSE: And how long did that period last and what enabled the insurgency to get out of the box?

TOM RICKS: I think the grace period, which is a good term, was April, May, June, even July, 2003 when things could have been different. When an opportunity drifted out of our hands. And insurgency - an insurgency in some form was probably inevitable, some form of resistance.

CHARLIE ROSE: Because people were going to lose their stake, and secondly they had also put some weapons and hid them and - and they had some .

TOM RICKS: Yes.

CHARLIE ROSE: . idea that resistance might be their only alternative.

TOM RICKS: And the Baathist party began as a revolutionary party .

CHARLIE ROSE: Right.

TOM RICKS: . with a cell structure. But in 1920 when the British had an insurgency on their hands in Iraq, they were able to put it down in about six months. Now, they used quite brutal methods sometimes, that I think would not have been welcomed by the American public, but the point is you can put down an insurgency. Instead, and this is a major theme of the book -- the American policies on the civilian side and the tactics on the military side I believe and many officers I interviewed believed they helped create the insurgency, fuel the insurgency, made it bigger and stronger and more intense.

CHARLIE ROSE: Give me an example of what those things were.

TOM RICKS: On the civilian side, Jerry Bremer, the ambassador, came in and made two key steps. He said if you were a senior member of the Baathist party, you have no place in Iraqi society, called de- Baathification. And he also dissolved the Iraqi military and the interior police.

CHARLIE ROSE: And that ignored the idea that there were many people who joined the party for their own well-being and didnt really have the ideology or the commitment to the Baathist Party. They were just way because that was a way to survive.

TOM RICKS: Yes, and also, even if these were bad guys -- and many of them certainly were -- they were also powerful members of the society who you at least wanted to neutralize. You didnt want to push into opposition. So that created a disaffected class of leadership. And then when you dissolved the military, you had thousands of armed men, rank and file, who also were told youre being cut off.

So we saw the first big problem of the insurgency -- recruiting. Any insurgency needs to start with recruiting. Second problem an insurgency needs.

CHARLIE ROSE: Finance.

TOM RICKS: . is finance. We didnt shut down the border with Syria. We had people going back and forth. So money could come in and out of Syria.

CHARLIE ROSE: In fact, a lot of the Baathists, senior Baathists and people who were part of the Saddam hierarchy fled to Syria, and then Syria forced them to come back in part, didnt it?

TOM RICKS: It did.

CHARLIE ROSE: After we leaned on Syria.

TOM RICKS: It did. But there are still a lot of Iraqi, I think, who are hostile to the United States who are in Syria and probably influence the insurgency.

CHARLIE ROSE: Do you believe today we know whether the insurgency will win or not? Or do you believe today that in fact theres inevitability that the American effort, as it was formulated -- well go in there, well create a stable democracy thats a friend of the United States -- is almost impossible?

TOM RICKS: I think theres a 5 percent chance.

CHARLIE ROSE: Five percent.

TOM RICKS: . of realizing that dream, yeah.

CHARLIE ROSE: Five?

TOM RICKS: Yeah. And 95 percent chance it wont happen. But that doesnt necessarily mean well be defeated. I think this thing is still salvageable.

CHARLIE ROSE: How so?

TOM RICKS: When I talk to officers -- this is still I think a minority view inside the army -- two things they talked about were cutting the troop presence, and increasing funding for the advisory effort, for training and advising the Iraqi forces. You cut your troop effort by about two-thirds, get down to about 50,000 troops, your casualty level will go down instantly, because about 40 percent, 50 percent of U.S. casualties are taken in convoys. Convoys bring supplies.

And were spending \$1.5 billion a week there. If we werent spending all that money on those big American bases, you could spend it on the advisory effort. Right now, the advisory effort frequently looks kind of shoddy. Always shocking to see Iraqi troops kind of looking like chumps in lousy uniforms with lousy weapons. These guys should be driving gold- plated armored Lexuses.

CHARLIE ROSE: In order to make them symbols.

TOM RICKS: To say, hey, siding with the Americans is a smart choice. Youre going to come out a winner, youre going to look like a winner.

It really bothers me when I hear American commanders in Iraq tell me Ive never suffered a tactical defeat. Theyll say, hey, the police chief got killed, the mayor got intimidated, and the governor is kidnapped. Yes, but those are Iraqis was the attitude. No, those are your allies.

CHARLIE ROSE: Your central, for the lack of better word, indictment of the leadership in the Pentagon, its primarily the civilian leadership, or is it civilian and military leadership, the joint chiefs and Tommy Franks and the people who fight the war?

TOM RICKS: It saddens me to say it, because I have a lot of friends in the military, but I think the responsibility for the bungling of the occupation ultimately, primarily must rest with the leadership of the uniformed military. With the people, the generals.

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CHARLIE ROSE: Primarily the army?

TOM RICKS: Yes. An army that had walked away from everything it learned about insurgency in Vietnam, that didnt want to talk about it. They rightly thought the American people didnt want to do this war again, and so send in a force, they didnt have enough troops, and the troops they had werent trained or prepared to put down an insurgency. And so the tactics they used, and this goes back to how to create an insurgency, they said lets make this area quiet. How do you make it quiet? You round up all the military-aged males and ship them off to a detainee camp. Well, if they werent anti-American when they went in that camp, they probably will be when they come back out.

CHARLIE ROSE: And the people in a detainee camp were not prepared or experienced to engage in that activity?

TOM RICKS: Yes, and the force quickly was overwhelmed by these flood of detainees. It swamped the interrogation system. It destroyed the ability to quickly gather and act on intelligence. It was exactly the wrong thing to do. As one special forces colonel said in Baghdad one day, Tom, what youre saying here is an unconventional war fought conventionally.

CHARLIE ROSE: Rumsfeld, smart guy.

TOM RICKS: Absolutely. Smart guy, very strong, forceful personality.

CHARLIE ROSE: Paul Wolfowitz, smart guy.

TOM RICKS: One of the brightest guys I think Ive ever met.

CHARLIE ROSE: These are the two principal civilian planners of the war in the Pentagon. Did they -- you would assume that they would want to know everything they could about insurgency. You would assume that once there was insurgency, they would want to reach out to whoever the smartest people were, because their own place and their own legacy was at stake. Secondly, and more importantly, the countrys security was at stake.

TOM RICKS: I think they consistently underestimated the difficulty of what they were doing. And this goes.

CHARLIE ROSE: But they were told it by the people who knew anything about insurgency, or did they not want to hear it?

TOM RICKS: I think they didnt want to hear it. One of the great oddities of this war is as we marched toward war, as we prepared for war, the group involved in the thinking about it narrowed, because if you dissented, you werent invited back to the next meeting. One senior military intelligence officer I quote in the book read Annex Bravo to the war plan, which is the intelligence section of the war plan, and he read it one weekend, wrote out a critique, fellas, you need to think about this, heres some problems. Thank you very much. He was never invited back to the next meeting.

And so you have this narrowing, and so what you would want to do is broaden as you go to work. FDR, for example, brings in Henry Stimson, a former Republican secretary of war to be his secretary of war. He might reach out to somebody like Ike Skelton, a conservative Democrat who has got real issues, but wants to support you.

CHARLIE ROSE: And he basically said he couldnt get a hearing, right?

TOM RICKS: And in fact, when he raised some of his concerns to a White House aide, the response was.

CHARLIE ROSE: We dont need you.

TOM RICKS: We dont need your vote, which is the narrowest possible response. So you have this narrowing going in, and you tend to look upon critics.

CHARLIE ROSE: Does that come from arrogance?

TOM RICKS: A sense that we dont need you. Also a sense of distrust, and I think also the Bush administration felt like an embattled little band. They felt the State Department was opposing them, the CIA was undercutting them, the Army was fighting with Rumsfeld, and so they kind of hunkered down and didnt even talk to other people inside the government.

CHARLIE ROSE: And what was the famous meeting, the national intelligence meeting that took place in which they brought all these people in? Tell me about that meeting. You know, about -- I think it was called the national intelligence meeting, but there was a meeting where a whole bunch of people came in.

TOM RICKS: The national intelligence estimate in the fall of 2002, yeah.

CHARLIE ROSE: Not a meeting, but a document.

TOM RICKS: Its a document, production process where they tried -- the Congress asked them, tell us about the intelligence...

TOM RICKS: This is the fall of 2002, September of 2002.

CHARLIE ROSE: So this was right before a war that begins in March of 2003.

TOM RICKS: Congress is readying itself for a vote and says, wed like to know the intelligence communitys views on weapons of mass destruction. It was a horrendous process. What they did was take all the views of analysts across the intelligence community, including people who had grave doubts, and they sifted out the doubts, so more the information went up the pyramid of the bureaucracy, the less the doubts and dissents were present, until finally the summary document at the very top, the one that actually top officials looked at, neglects entirely all the doubts and dissents. It makes it seem like there is certainty where there was no certainty. Its a shameful document.

CHARLIE ROSE: I would assume that Donald Rumsfeld would say, Ricks went out and interviewed everybody who had a complaint, but he didnt talk to people who were on board with the mission, so therefore what he is, is he is simply reflecting those people who are not happy with the way this has gone. And we, the administration have admitted from the president on down that we ran into a lot of difficulties we didnt expect. But the people who are talking to him are complainers.

TOM RICKS: Yeah, I think thats probably what they will say if they ever do talk about the book. My response would be that the American soldiers deserves better than that. That this book overwhelmingly is not.

CHARLIE ROSE: They fight the battle, they risk their life and they deserve ...

TOM RICKS: They deserve to be listened to. Mostly, this book is based on interviews with guys who dont have a political bone in their body, who are career soldiers who want to win in Iraq. And theyre thinking seriously about how to win, and they wish the Pentagon would think as seriously as they.

CHARLIE ROSE: And do they believe if in fact the Pentagon would listen to them, its still winnable?

TOM RICKS: Yes, and in fact, one of the real surprises to me since the book came out, is every single email Ive received from officers in Iraq about this book has been positive.

CHARLIE ROSE: Saying they like the book, saying you got the story right?

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TOM RICKS: Thanks for doing this. Youre doing what Congress should have been doing. Asking the tough questions. Why are we into this war four years and have never had a congressional hearing that looks at the conduct of the war? Why has not one general been relieved in the course of this war?

CHARLIE ROSE: George Marshall fired 25, 30 generals.

TOM RICKS: Over 100 seniors officers were relieved by George Marshall, then the chief of staff of the Army, at the outset of World War II.

CHARLIE ROSE: Sending them a letter, saying essentially thank you very much, but we dont think this -- we need your services for this effort.

TOM RICKS: Exactly.

CHARLIE ROSE: Not one general has been relieved.

TOM RICKS: Well, arguably, Brigadier General Karpinski, the demoness of the Abu Ghraib situation. But she was a reservist, and its not clear she was really relieved. She says it was for other matters; it wasnt about that. So these guys are saying we could win, its still salvageable, but the system needs to work much better than it has. And so Ive been really pleased to hear from these guys in the field.

CHARLIE ROSE: Heres where theres some contrasting opinions. Rumsfeld has been on this show, Bremer has been on this show, Wolfowitz has been on this show. This idea that the military wanted more soldiers. There is nothing that Donald Rumsfeld says more often than he does, nobody in the field has asked for more soldiers. Take a look at this. Donald Rumsfeld.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD RUMSFELD: The president and I have both told the commanding generals that we will favor a level of troops that they believe is appropriate. And we have from the beginning. The external critics who have criticized the number of troops and saying were doing -- weve got too many or weve got too few, thats their privilege to criticize. But the fact is, we have provided the number of troops that the commanding generals have asked for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLIE ROSE: OK, but Im saying, you say commanders in the field told you they asked for more troops, that they were going to need more troops. So whats going on here?

TOM RICKS: Well, I think Rumsfeld used an interesting term. He didnt say generals. He said commanding generals. And thats one level of command. The level just below that consistently has wanted more troops. Usually in tactical situations. I need another battalion. I have sat on meetings where generals in Iraq have said, the senior generals, we need another two battalions, and have been told we dont have them.

CHARLIE ROSE: But we do see today, add troops, where General Casey said Im going to need more troops.

TOM RICKS: Theyre going to add 800 troops in a city of 5 to 6 million. Its not going to make an ounce of difference, I think.

What this neglects is something that I want to point out about the book as well. My book is based not just on interviews, its based on more than 30,000 pages of documents, most of them internal. One of the documents that speaks to Rumsfelds point is that in the spring of 2003, the U.S. headquarters in Iraq did whats called a troops-to-task analysis, that looks at the jobs that have been give to us, the missions we have in front of us, and asks how many troops do you need to do each of these jobs? And then you add up all the numbers.

And their answer was, we need exactly twice as many troops as we have here. Thats not an outside critic. Thats not Tom Ricks, some carping journalist who can be dismissed easily. Thats an official analysis of the U.S. military that says we need many more troops than we have here.

CHARLIE ROSE: So why didnt they send them?

TOM RICKS: I think because.

CHARLIE ROSE: Because they want to win.

TOM RICKS: Because the phone didnt work. In a sense that commanders would ask the commanding generals, but the commanding generals wouldnt pass the word up. Why? Because they basically knew there werent any more troops available.

CHARLIE ROSE: Well, they knew it would be silly to ask because there would be no response?

TOM RICKS: Why ask for troops that arent there? You know what the answer is already.

CHARLIE ROSE: Because theyre stretched too thin?

TOM RICKS: The shelf is bare. They were putting out as many troops as they had. They were heavily relying on the reserve force. Were sending troops out on their second and third rotations now. The military is putting out about as many troops as it can out there. And they knew it was the answer.

CHARLIE ROSE: And people are serving second and third terms.

TOM RICKS: Yes.

CHARLIE ROSE: There is this too. When you look at these people, certainly colonels and captains, there are really wonderful stories. McMaster is one.

TOM RICKS: Yes, Colonel H.R. McMaster.

CHARLIE ROSE: Tell me about him and what he told you.

TOM RICKS: McMaster is an extraordinary officer. A real pleasure to watch. I was embedded with his unit, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, up in northwest Iraq earlier this year. And he took over a unit that had not done well in its first tour in Iraq, the 3rd ACR. The first tour had a lot of instances of abuses. Weve actually seen some trials come out. One detainee was actually murdered during interrogation, or killed during interrogation. McMaster looks at his unit -- and he went around and visited all the troops -- and he said, every time you disrespect an Iraqi, youre working for the enemy.

CHARLIE ROSE: Because youre adding to them.

TOM RICKS: Yes. And its something that every 21-year-old soldier could grasp instantly. OK, I shouldnt disrespect Iraqis.

It shows what a leader can do. He can set the tone of command.

But then he retrained his whole unit. And he goes to Iraq and he sets up a little facility called "ask the customer." Every single detainee held by his unit upon release was interviewed. How were you treated? Why do you think the way you do about Americans? What would change your views?

CHARLIE ROSE: And what was the response from these detainees?

TOM RICKS: I read some of the responses. They were quite interesting. They talked about how they became anti-American. and what McMaster grasped, partly because he has a Ph.D. in history and wrote a very good book on Vietnam called "Dereliction of Duty," was you treat your prisoners well. Because what you want to do with them is bring them over to your side, or at least neutralize them. The best scout is a guy who used to work for the other side. And also, if youre successful in talking the insurgency into entering the political system, this years detainee is next years mayor. And if your troops have beat him or urinated on his head when he was in detention, its going to be a lot harder to talk to him about the sewage system next year.

The third thing McMaster did is McMaster went to the local insurgency, and this took courage and intelligence.

CHARLIE ROSE: How do you go to the local insurgency?

TOM RICKS: Everybody knows who they are. And he says to them, when the Americans first came to Iraq, we were like men stumbling around in the dark.

CHARLIE ROSE: We were blind.

TOM RICKS: But now he said, we have an Iraqi government thats turned on the lights for us, and now the time for honorable resistance is over.

CHARLIE ROSE: And the message was?

TOM RICKS: Well, hes couched it in the terms of respect, dignity and honor. And it is the most polite possible way of threatening to kill somebody Ive ever heard. He is saying, I know who you, I know what youre doing, and its going to stop. But he doesnt come in like Vince Lombardi. He comes in, in almost Arabic terms, and coaches it in terms of honor.

CHARLIE ROSE: And how is he doing today?

TOM RICKS: Well, hes off in a think tank in England for a year. I think theres probably better uses of Colonel H.R. McMaster, but thats where the Army has put him for a year. Now, yes, hes been working hard, he had a great tour of command, and I suspect hell get out -- back out to Iraq pretty soon, but I would love to see guys like that in command in Iraq right now.

CHARLIE ROSE: Or writing their own book. It is also said the following: That in 1991, in Desert Storm, the sort of middle level leadership who fought that war and even the higher level leadership came out of it with the experience of Vietnam. The mistakes of Vietnam, the lessons of Vietnam were part of their own experience.

TOM RICKS: Yes.

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CHARLIE ROSE: And by the time you got to -- go ahead.

TOM RICKS: Their sense was, lets not screw this up like we did Vietnam. They were very conscious of making military errors. Very conscious of the consequences, and they knew defeat.

CHARLIE ROSE: What was the lesson of Vietnam that should have been applied to here, to Iraq in 2003, 4, 5, 6?

TOM RICKS: There are multiple lessons of how to put down an insurgency, and they really run against everything the Army learned after it rebuilt itself after Vietnam.

CHARLIE ROSE: And part of it is respecting the civilians and respecting the community.

TOM RICKS: Seeing the people as the prize in a struggle, not the playing field is key. The use of force. The U.S. Army coming out of Vietnam rebuilt itself brilliantly. It rebuilt itself spiritually, technologically, in terms of personnel. Its a brilliant rebuilding and it is to be commended, this generation of Colin Powell, Eric Shinseki, the guys who stuck in the Army when it was falling apart in 75, 76, 77 and put it back together again.

But the culture they created did not serve them well in Iraq. They had an Army built for blitzkrieg warfare against the Red Army on the plains of Central Europe. It did not adapt well when its culture was called on to say, use the minimum amount of force, as you do in a counterinsurgency, rather than how to use overwhelming force. You have to judge everything politically in an insurgency. It doesnt matter if you think you won a military battle if its a political victory for the insurgents, as the first big battle in Ramadi was. .

CHARLIE ROSE: Yes, and then Fallujah.

TOM RICKS: Fallujah was a real problem. I think second Fallujah, a terribly difficult battle, the hardest combat U.S. troops have seen since the Vietnam War, which was necessary to do in order to clear the way for elections. You couldnt hold elections with this outpost on this near suburbs really of Baghdad, able to come and bomb at will. But that was a very tough fight.

CHARLIE ROSE: But necessarily to fight it that way, youre saying?

TOM RICKS: I think so ultimately, yeah, because they had lost the city at that point.

CHARLIE ROSE: You tell the story in here of -- of someone who goes to see Jerry Bremer and basically says, this is the lesson of Vietnam.

TOM RICKS: This is Colonel Gary Anderson. Hes a crusty old Marine, and he comes in as a consultant. And hes actually a good writer. Hed written an op-ed that Paul Wolfowitz had read and I asked him to go out to Iraq and talk to him.

CHARLIE ROSE: Talk to Bremer.

TOM RICKS: So he goes to Bremer, he says, Mr. Ambassador, heres some of the lessons from Vietnam. And Bremer practically throws him out of the office. Vietnam, says.

CHARLIE ROSE: He explodes and says, this is Iraq, not Vietnam.

TOM RICKS: He says, I dont want to talk about Vietnam. This isnt Vietnam. This is Iraq.

CHARLIE ROSE: OK, but heres an interesting thing about what you just said. Paul Wolfowitz reads something he said and finds it interesting and sends him to Baghdad. Suggesting some kind of open mind about the way things are going, or some sense that we need the best thinking we can apply to this?

TOM RICKS: I think Wolfowitz sensed that Iraq was fast becoming an albatross that was being hung around his neck. And he was desperate to do better out there. He really was trying to adjust.

CHARLIE ROSE: Because it was viewed as his war.

TOM RICKS: Yes, he was the so-called architect of the war. But the command structure was so dysfunctional that Paul Bremer wouldnt talk much to Wolfowitz. In fact, Wolfowitz told me, and I quote him in the book, that Bremer ignored him. He just ignored him. We had a screwy command structure. There was another one of lessons of counterinsurgency: Have one person in charge, have unity of effort, have the civilian and military efforts together. The Romans knew this. The Romans had pro-consuls who commanded their forces out in the provinces. We had a command structure in which the civilians had one chain of command, the military had another. They both report to somebody 7,000 miles away.

(CROSSTALK)

TOM RICKS: And they have fundamentally opposing missions that theyre never able to resolve, and so they continue friction. The military thinks its about stability. It just wants to calm things down. Bremer is coming in trying to be a revolutionary and change the nature of the country.

CHARLIE ROSE: What does Bremer think today?

TOM RICKS: Bremer was another guy who wouldnt be interviewed for me when I was writing the book.

CHARLIE ROSE: Well, hes now -- OK, go ahead.

TOM RICKS: Im not sure what Bremer thinks. What struck me about all of this was the amount of information was so much -- one general said to me, how are you able to write the book without me being available for an interview? I said, I had all your emails.

CHARLIE ROSE: What about Wolfowitz today?

TOM RICKS: Wolfowitz today I think still thinks.

CHARLIE ROSE: President of the World Bank.

TOM RICKS: Still thinks he was right. I interviewed him just as I was finishing the book. Again, I had interviewed him a lot over the years. And he was saying some things different. I remember back in December of 2002, he said people were being too pessimistic about the aftermath. Its not going to be as difficult as you think. When I interviewed him just earlier this year, he said, we always knew it was going to be tough. Wars are tough things, and we are only three years into this.

CHARLIE ROSE: Do soldiers who I have learned care most about their buddies, making sure they save them, take care of them, and that is a cardinal value that comes out of the military experience, do they believe that the American public is not getting the story of Iraq?

TOM RICKS: I think soldiers really do, and they think the media is not telling accurately.

CHARLIE ROSE: What is they believe theyre not telling?

TOM RICKS: The good news. They say, sure, theres a lot of bad things happening, but you do not tell the good news stories. Two things I say.

CHARLIE ROSE: Where were working with these kids and doing these schools.

TOM RICKS: (inaudible) schools.

CHARLIE ROSE: Projects to help clean up the sewer, that kind of thing.

TOM RICKS: When I hear that, I think of when I was having lunch in January with an Iraqi brigadier down in Mahmoudiyah, a nasty little town in the so-called triangle of death. And as were sitting there having lunch, theres an explosion just outside. And I said, what was that? Meanings rocket, mortar? And the American advisor said, that was the losing contractor. The guy had lost the contract, so he was shelling the winning contractor.

So were applying American lowest bidder wins the contract rules, and theyre saying, well, the lowest bidder was a Sunni, and this is a Shiite area. So we are bringing in Sunnis.

So again and again, what may appear to be good news to an American is not necessarily good news to an Iraqi, who resents whats going done and doesnt think its going to help him.

The second thing is, I think the American military generally doesnt know a lot about whats going on out there. I sat down and looked through a classified intelligence base that an officer let me look at, and I was struck about one area of Baghdad I know particularly well, because thats where I live when Im in Baghdad.

CHARLIE ROSE: You make the point that you dont stay in the Green Zone, you stay in the red zone when I go there.

TOM RICKS: Very few reporters live in the Green Zone. I dont like the Green Zone. Its like the bottled city of Kandawar (ph) in "Superman" comics. Its got nothing to do with Iraq. So we live out in the red zone, which is the rest of Iraq.

CHARLIE ROSE: Explain to the audience what the Green Zone is.

TOM RICKS: The Green Zone is the enclave of downtown Iraq behind the blast walls, where the American headquarters are, and the red zone is everything else.

CHARLIE ROSE: And the Green Zone contains some of Saddams palaces.

TOM RICKS: The red zone is where Iraq is, 25 million Iraqis.

And I knew about the explosions Ive been hearing out where we lived, and the machine gun fire, the atmosphere of intimidation, and none of this was in the intelligence database. And I realized what the Americans keep track of are two things: Any threat to American troops and killings of Iraqis. What did that leave out? About half the picture -- rape, robbery, intimidation and the general lack of rule of law.

CHARLIE ROSE: So what has this done to the Army and the Marines and the .

TOM RICKS: I think its put an enormous strain on them. I think we wont know really how much of a strain for years to come. Partly because we dont know whats going to happen in Iraq and how long were going to be there.

One of the things youre saying for example in the Haditha situation, in which Marines out in western Iraq allegedly killed 24 civilians in cold blood, was the phrase that John Murtha used, congressman used in describing it -- its possible that almost none of those Marines will be charged. Maybe one will be charged with lying. Why? Because they were operating as they had been trained and told to. Think of that. Killing 24 civilians. Thats a leadership failure.

And I think the military is going to have to come at some point to grips with that leadership failure. Some generals are trying to make that happen. Lieutenant General Peter Chiarelli, the number two commander in Iraq, is working hard. Hes the guy responsible for making sure this the Haditha incident was investigated, because hes trying to send a message I think about how the troops need to deal with Iraqis. But right now, you have a force that generally would rather protect itself, as one officer said to me, than protect Iraqis.

CHARLIE ROSE: Do you believe if they knew what they knew now, that the lessons had been absorbed, so if we could turn the clock back to the day they toppled Saddam, we would have had a very different result?

TOM RICKS: It could have been very different. What one commander said to me, is one-third of my guys get it, understand that we need to fight differently and operate differently. One-third are trying to get it, but dont really. One-third dont care, dont want to get it and theyre just here to (inaudible). What that means is two-thirds of your force is not very effective.

But there are good leaders in the military. They are trying to adjust. The question in my mind, as one lieutenant colonel, Joe Rice, put it out there earlier this year, will it be too little, too late?

CHARLIE ROSE: Is there today a war between the military and Rumsfeld?

TOM RICKS: No, I think theres a cease-fire.

CHARLIE ROSE: Cease-fire?

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TOM RICKS: Yeah, I think its, you know, that means its not a peace but theres kind of a cessation of hostilities right now. Everybody is kind of.

TOM RICKS: Well, the sense that theyve walked to the precipice and this is not a real productive situation. And so, everybody just calmed down, take a deep breath. But I think theres still quite a bit of antagonism in both directions. I think Rumsfeld probably feels let down by the generals. The generals certainly feel a deep rage, not all generals but many do.

CHARLIE ROSE: Now, how does he (inaudible) the generals let him down?

TOM RICKS: Probably in his heart of hearts, not much different from what we have talked about here today. An unimaginable, ill-educated, inflexible series of Army leadership who didnt prepare the troops adequately for the task at hand.

CHARLIE ROSE: And he believes -- and they believe that.

TOM RICKS: They believe.

CHARLIE ROSE: They made the case and he did not want to change, and he was married to ideas he began with.

TOM RICKS: That they gave their best professional military advice and it was consistently ignored, and troops died because of that. And thats a very grave charge for them to make, and a lot of them dont want to make it in public, but they went and talked to me for this book, because the secretary of defense doesnt want to listen to them, they think, Congress wont listen to them, wont even ask them, and so they finally go to a reporter and talk about it.

CHARLIE ROSE: You didnt talk to General Casey.

TOM RICKS: I did talk to General Casey. I quote him actually in the book.

CHARLIE ROSE: And he says what?

TOM RICKS: Casey says theyre doing better.

CHARLIE ROSE: Is he right?

TOM RICKS: Yes. I was struck when I was out there, that General Casey had started up a counterinsurgency academy. The Coin Academy.

CHARLIE ROSE: I read that, yes.

TOM RICKS: In Taji. But think of that for a moment. The fact that the commander out there says the officers youre sending out here are inadequately prepared. These are people who have been in the Army for 10 or 15 years. And he said, you cant command in Iraq until you go to my counterinsurgency academy, a week-long course.

CHARLIE ROSE: Basically saying, they havent taught you what you need to know to fight this war.

TOM RICKS: Thats right. And so, heres the tool kit. Thats a condemning fact, I think, that the commander in Iraq felt that the troops, the officers coming out were not adequately prepared by their institution.

CHARLIE ROSE: Several senators have criticized, obviously more than several, John McCain has called Rumsfeld, I think he said he hasnt been -- he doesnt have confidence in him is what he said. Senator Kennedy has called for his resignation. Do you think based on the military and the people youve talked to, that Donald Rumsfeld owes it to the country to resign, take responsibility and resign?

TOM RICKS: Its obviously not my judgment to make. And I do agree with Rumsfeld when he says thats really the judgment for the president to make.

CHARLIE ROSE: The president. And the president has said, every time hes given the opportunity, he has my confidence?

TOM RICKS: Exactly.

CHARLIE ROSE: There is also the notion of whether these lessons, even though were overextended, would be understood in some other kind of conflict?

TOM RICKS: I think they will be. I think the Army will carry Iraq with them for decades to come.

CHARLIE ROSE: You consider this the what, the most disastrous?

TOM RICKS: The term I used in the first sentence of the book, the most profligate decision in the history f American foreign policy. There are other, probably bigger mistakes -- the loss of Eastern Europe after World War II I think was probably a bigger mistake, but this was a war of choice.

CHARLIE ROSE: The loss of Europe to the Soviets when it was divided.

TOM RICKS: Exactly. It was a war of choice. It wasnt necessary to do. It wasnt necessary to do in the way it was done, and the occupation didnt need to be bungled in the way it was bungled. So thats -- its profligate, is the word I use.

CHARLIE ROSE: Its dedicated to the war dead, for the war dead.

TOM RICKS: Yes, both the Americans and the Iraqis.

CHARLIE ROSE: And Iraqis. Civilians and military as well.

TOM RICKS: Yes.

CHARLIE ROSE: Some say they died in vain.

TOM RICKS: I think we wont know until this is all over. But certainly, it didnt have to be this way. It could have been done much better.

CHARLIE ROSE: But the definition of success has changed.

TOM RICKS: Well, the Bush administration says that it still wants to go for a stable, pro-American democracy that is an ally in the war or terror. I think the American people broadly would settle for a lot less than that at this point. So yes, I think the definition has changed what Americans want out of Iraq.

CHARLIE ROSE: I know youve been writing this and doing a whole bunch of things and havent been focused on whats happening in Lebanon. But what is the people that you know -- it would be irresistible, if I was you, knowing the contacts you have, not to call them up and say what do you think about whats going on in Lebanon? What are they saying?

TOM RICKS: Theyre saying theyre heading for the basement. Theyre really worried.

CHARLIE ROSE: Worried? Heading for the basement?

TOM RICKS: In the sense of, wow, this is really trouble. This is worrisome. The biggest worry I think we have in Iraq is regionalization of the conflict, the war spilling over the borders. That could make life very difficult for us in ways that affect us very directly. If the war spills into Saudi Arabia, you can expect to see oil prices shooting to the roof. That would lead also to the economic dose of shock around the globe.

CHARLIE ROSE: And what do they think, theres a 50/50 chance it will spill into Saudi Arabia?

TOM RICKS: Well, the strategists I know tend to be, like, cautious in the way that Sam Goldwin (ph) prescribed. They never make predictions especially about the future. But yes, they talk about scenarios that deeply worry them. T.X. Hannis (ph), a very good Marine colonel, retired Marine colonel and thinker told me that he expects to see his grandchildren fighting aspects of this war in the Middle East.

CHARLIE ROSE: His grandchildren?

TOM RICKS: When I was writing this book, I would look out the window every day about 3:30, and see the kindergarteners marching up the street from the elementary school over to the daycare center, and I would think, grimly, one of those kids is going to fight and die in Iraq.

CHARLIE ROSE: Is the military in favor of an attack on Iran in order to destroy their military, their nuclear capacities?

TOM RICKS: I think its a mistake to talk about the military in monolithic terms. It has more internal divisions and factions.

CHARLIE ROSE: Thats what comes out of this, doesnt it?

TOM RICKS: . than the NFL.

CHARLIE ROSE: I should say, what comes out of this book is that a lot of very interesting and smart people having a lot of wise things to say. Now, whether thats hindsight or not, I dont know, but its clearly there.

TOM RICKS: Well, its not hindsight. For example, I quote the CIA station chief, turning to Bremer on the day that Bremer talked about de- Baathfication and arguing against it, and saying, look, dont do this. But if you do it, know now that by nightfall, you will have driven 50,000 in this country people underground, and six months from now youre going to regret it.

That is not the CIA second-guessing a year later. Thats giving perspective advice that you need to understand the course youre embarking on is dangerous.

So I dont think its just second guessing. Youre touching on something that means a lot to me about this book. I like and admire the U.S. military. Ive spent a lot of time with them. Ive spent 17 years of my life now covering the U.S. military. I wouldnt do it unless I really liked and respected and admired these guys.

CHARLIE ROSE: Probably this book wouldnt be as good as it was if you didnt have that, Tom.

TOM RICKS: But when I was writing the sections on abuse, which I found to be much more pervasive and broad than just Abu Ghraib, it was a shock to me, to see units that I was embedded with, and I read the legal documents, court martial transcripts, statements of soldiers and saw what had happened, the image that came to me is like watching one of those Polaroid pictures develop that we used to have, and you think youve just taken a picture of your daughters birthday, and suddenly you see theres an axe murderer standing in the background.

I went to them, I said, I got kind of depressed about it. My God, these are guys I know. These are units Ive been around. They did these things. The 4th Infantry Division, which is a unit Ive focused on, I had been with them in Tikrit, Ive been in Baquba, and you read about a soldier shooting an unarmed, handcuffed detainee, whos behind the prison wall, shoots him, kills him, and the MPs recommend a charge of murder, and hes just simply let out of the Army for the good of the Army.

The commander of that division, by the way, Raymond Odierno, is scheduled to replace General Chiarelli later this year, or at the end of this year as the number two U.S. commander in Iraq.

CHARLIE ROSE: Theres a whole lot more in this book as well, theres ideas about how the -- whether they should have replaced soldiers individually, or by units, and what the advantages and disadvantages of that -- all things I havent gotten into.

I quote two things here. This is the last paragraph of a chapter called "Too Little, Too Late."

"I would like to think theres still possibilities here, Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel Joe Rice said at the coffee shop at the Al Rasheed Hotel downtown in the Green Zone. We are finally getting around to doing the right things. Rice was working on an Army lessons learned project, but was expressing his personal opinion. I think were getting better. I do. But he continued, Is it too little, too late?"

Thats where we are.

TOM RICKS: I think thats exactly where we are right now.

CHARLIE ROSE: The book is called "Fiasco." Its gotten tremendous reviews. Tom Ricks, Pulitzer Prize winner is the author. The Pentagon correspondent for "The Washington Post." Thank you.

TOM RICKS: Thank you.

CHARLIE ROSE: Thank you for joining us. See you next time.
End.........

Well, I can't really say much, other than that you guys don't take the enemy seriously either. You're like the president, except that you're honest enough to not start something that you won't take seriously. So, that's good. We need more of that kind of honesty.

cyrusabdollahi, you should see if you can catch a show on the Military channel called "Battleplan." It details the requirements for plans by tactic (e.g. flank attack, raid, premptive strike) and examines historical examples to see how they fit or did not fit the plan, why, and the results. These requirements are absolute and necessary. They have not changed at all throughout history. The reason is because they are at a high level of abstraction, and are meant to guide the creation of new ground-level plans, which are constantly going out the window. War is chaotic and always has been, so soldiers need a streamlined system for making plans on the go.

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Thanks for posting this Cyrus!