Plan Away, Boys

Why does this particular headline aggrevate my acid reflux?

US steps up planning for a Cuba without Castro

Because this particular bunch of knot-head neo-cons couldn’t plan a Bar Mitzvah, that’s why. And when someone has a plan that tries to cover all the bases, it’s “too negative”. Like who? Anthony Zinni, for one.

“But how to square away this attitude with invading Iraq? Assume away the need for nation building. Again, White explains: “We had this mind-set that it would be a relatively straightforward, managable task, because this would be a war of liberation, and therefore reconstruction would be short-lived.” Rumsfeld’s spokesman, Larry Di Rita, went to Kuwait in 2003 and told the American offcials there that the State department had messed up Bosnia and Kosovo and that the Bush administration intended to hand over power to the Iraqis and leave within three months.
So the Army’s original battle plan for 500,000 troops got whittled down to 160,000. If General Tommy Franks “hadn’t offered some resistance, the number would have dropped well below 100,000,” Packer says. At one point, Franks’ predecessor, Anthony Zinni, inquired into the status of “DESERT CROSSING*“, his elaborate postwar plan that covered the sealing of borders, securing of weapons sites, provision of order and so on. He was told that it had been discarded because its assumptions were “too negative.” – Fareed Zakaria reviewing The Assassins’ Gate by George Packer, Sunday NYT Book Review.

*More on Desert Crossing below

General Zinni asked himself what would happen if Iraq suddenly collapsed. Who would pick up the pieces and help rebuild the country? To examine these questions, Zinni sponsored a war game called “Desert Crossing” in late 1999, with a wide range of government agencies and representatives. In his words, “The scenarios looked closely at humanitarian, security, political, economic, and other reconstruction issues. We looked at food, clean water, electricity, refugees, Shia versus Sunnis, Kurds versus other Iraqis, Turks versus Kurds, and the power vacuum that would surely follow the collapse of the regime (since Saddam had pretty successfully eliminated any local opposition). We looked at all the problems the United States faces in 2003 trying to rebuild Iraq. And when it was over, I was starting to get a good sense of their enormous scope and to recognize how massive the reconstruction would be.”


So at Central Command before I left — I retired in 2000 — I started a plan called Desert Crossing for the reconstruction of Iraq because I was convinced nobody in Washington was going to plan for it, and we, the military, would get stuck with it. So when I left in 2000, we were in the process of that planning. When it looked like we were going in, I called back down to Centcom and said, “You need to dust off Desert Crossing.”
They said, “What’s that? Never heard of it.” So in a matter of just a few years, it was gone. The institutional memory had lapsed completely.
In February [2003], the month before the war, I was called before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to testify on this, and the panel before me was the planner for the State Department and the planner for the Pentagon. And they were briefing their so-called plan. It was clear to me that there was no plan. The current government was way underestimating what they were getting into. That they had done virtually no planning.
Why didn’t they do it? They naively misjudged the scope and the complexity of the problems they were going to have. They thought they could do it seat of the pants.

He was right about the military getting stuck with it and getting it stuck to them.
Forget the Bar Mitzvah. At this point I think they couldn’t plan themselves out of a paper bag.

One Response to “Plan Away, Boys”

  1. GALA says:

    Politics rules again. The same thing happened in Vietnam to the poor American soldiers, who won the battles, but lost the war.
    You gotta listen to the generals, NOT THE PATHETIC POLITICIANS!

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