Sunday, December 24, 2006

Iraq: Freed from tyranny and delivered into anarchy

Kenneth Pollack has written an important analysis of what has gone wrong in Iraq for the Brookings Institute entitled, “The Seven Deadly Sins of Failure in Iraq: A Retrospective Analysis of the Reconstruction”. The seven deadly sins, by the way, are ignorance, arrogance, neglect, stubbornness, panic, haste, and denial.

The essay is much too long to reprint but here is the introduction:
It never had to be this bad. The reconstruction of Iraq was never going to be quick or easy, but it was not doomed to failure. Its disastrous course to date has been almost entirely the result of a sequence of foolish and unnecessary mistakes on the part of the United States.

Perhaps at some point in the future, revisionist historians will try to claim that the effort was doomed from the start, that it never was possible to build a stable, let alone pluralistic, new Iraq in the rubble of Saddam Hussein's fall. However, that is decidedly not the view of the experts, the journalists covering the story, or the practitioners who went to Iraq to put the country back together after the 2003 invasion. Americans returning from Iraq--military and civilian alike--have proven unanimous in their view that the Iraqis desperately want reconstruction to succeed and that they have the basic tools to make it work, but that the United States has consistently failed to provide them with the opportunities and the framework to succeed.
Indeed, perhaps the most tragic evidence of this unrealized potential is that even three-and-a-half years after Saddam's fall, with Iraq mired in a deepening civil war and no sign of real progress on the horizon, over 40 percent of Iraqis still clung to the belief that Iraq was headed in the right direction--with only 35 percent saying it was headed in the wrong direction.

If Iraq does slide into all-out civil war, the Bush Administration will have only itself to blame. It disregarded the advice of experts on Iraq, on nation-building, and on military operations. It staged both the invasion and the reconstruction on the cheap. It never learned from its mistakes and never committed adequate resources to accomplish either its original lofty aspirations or even its later, more modest goals. It refused to believe intelligence that contradicted its own views and doggedly insisted that reality conform to its wishes. In its breathtaking hubris, the Administration engineered a Greek tragedy in Iraq, the outcome of which may plague us for decades.
You can read the entire essay here.

1 comment:

Bill Baar said...

Recall many were predicting a united Islamic uprising against the United States and allies.

Instead we have people telling us we have a civil war among Muslims.

We have Hamas and Fatah uniting to tell Zawahari to bug off.

We launched a revolution and allowed Shia Arabs and Kurds to power... we ought not let them down.