Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Post War Planning - The Final Cut!

There was a great deal of intelligent feedback on my recent posts about postwar planning, all of which achieved the purpose of Wilsonizer, which I started as a place where ideas and opinions could be exchanged and debated.

An excellent comment posted by Bill W., who had personal experience in OIF from 2003-2004, argued against my point that there was little to no coherent U.S. government planning:

I think it is simplistic to say there was no plan. Bremer and his team hit the
ground in June or July of '03 with a 4000-5000 point plan. . .

They laid out a plan of building a representative government from the ground up, which meant going to all 18 provinces, and starting with town councils, tribal
councils, etc to start electing the first representatives. They laid out the
plan of electing national representative, provisional government, turning
authority over to them in less than a year, having first democratic election 6
months later to elect representatives to write a constitution, write &
approve a constitution, and elect a permanent government all within 2005. This
is the plan that was laid out from day one and they followed.

In the meantime, they had to work to get women represented, and set up a lot of special councils and many, many meetings to get that into place.

They also had plans to execute for the banking system (setting a real one up, getting it certified, opening banks, opening a stock market), which also could not happen without setting up the whole legal system - again something from scratch for this area.

They had plans for reconstruction, for the health care sector, education, civil rights, industry, etc, etc, etc. It was an enormous effort, and because of the lack of real, balanced reporting that puts all of this in context, many well educated and thinking people in this country think as you do - that there was no plan and it has all been chaos.


Bill W. makes several strong points to counter my argument, as did an anonymous poster, who pointed me in the direction of State Department documents of working groups of expat Iraqis who provided expertise in various areas to help prepare for a post-Saddam Iraq.

I never had any doubt that Ambassador Bremer and Lieutenant General Sanchez provided decisive guidance to subordinates, and that Ambassador Bremer’s guidance extended across all civilian lines of operation required to re-establish Iraq as a civil, functioning democratic society.

Paul Bremer did not come on board until May of 2003, however, weeks after Saddam’s government dissolved. He replaced retired General Jay Garner, who had this to say about the Pre War planning that took place during a frontline interview:

On Jan. 9 [2003], I was in Manhattan to give an end-of-year report to our
corporation. I got a call on my cell phone from Doug Feith, [who] said that
Secretary Rumsfeld asked him to call me and ask me if I would come and put
together a team from the other agency to do the planning for postwar Iraq, if
there was a war. If there was a war, yes. "Should there be a war," I think
he said, and that many of the plans had already been done, but what had not been
done [was] there hadn't been a horizontal integration of the plans. ...

When asked about the level of planning that had been done, Garner said

Yes, some of [the plans were] pretty good, too. State Department does some real
good planning. The Justice Department does some good planning, the Defense
Department had done some good planning. But what had happened is the
planning, I guess most of it started in October 2002, but they were all done
in the vertical stovepipes of those agencies. What you find in any one plan,
there's multiple agencies or players. I mean, one might be the proponent of
the plan, but it takes multiple agencies. So that vertical integration of
those plans had not occurred up to that point
... [emph. added]

Gen Garner’s comments echo the main pointt hat I attempted to make in my previous posts on this subject: that a coherent plan, involving multiple agencies under one lead planning agent, was not truly conducted; however, the general's the comments do show that a hastily gathered together organization did some integrated planning in the days leading up to the war. Thus, I learned something more of the preparation done priot to the war that I did not know prior to my first post.

And what does General Garner say about the way this planning group came together in preparation for the tasks at hand:

I think the day you start building the war plan is the day you start beginning
the postwar plan.

This is just one man’s opinion, of course, albeit the original leader of the Iraqi postwar construction team.

Here is a little of a disclaimer. My posts are not intended to disparage the tremendous accomplishments of the people on the ground, military and civilians both, who are participating in the most challenging undertaking of this government in over a generation. Massive amounts of progress have been made on all fronts in Iraq. And yes, I wholeheartedly agree with Gateway Pundit’s comments, that

It is a shame that the defeatist media has spent such a small percentage of
their reporting on the great things that have been happening in Iraq.

The majority of those reporting (or commenting) on this endeavor seem to have collectively decided that the Iraq War is going poorly on all fronts, and incessantly report negative indicators above the fold. Hence, instead of hearing about progress in re-establishing a power grid across Baghdad over a given period of time, readers instead get a report of how many corpses entered the Baghdad morgue last evening.
Thankfully, there are now alternatives to the standard news outlets to help paint a more complete picture of the situation in Iraq (and elsewhere).

I stand by the claim, however, that all of the progress is being made in spite of the minimal integrated planning conducted by the U.S. government. The military spent ten years preparing for what it perceived as the inevitable return to Iraq; various government agencies, in a vacuum, analyzed the situation in their individual area of expertise for a postwar scenario, but there was no real coherent plan development until the days leading up to the war.

OOOKAY, I will get out of this rut and move out smartly to a new topic in my NEXT post. . .

No comments: