A war never plays out the exactly the way planners think it will. But there are some things about the Iraq war planning that I really don’t understand – and I’m no expert on war or Iraq.
When the war first started, my dad (who fought with the Partisans during WWII) explained to me that the Iraqis would let the U.S. get all the way to Baghdad and, only then, begin their major resistance. Why? Because they really had no other choice. The third rate Iraqi military could never have stood a chance in a war against U.S. troops. That part was obvious.
So why wasn’t it obvious to Pentagon planners that the major challenge of this war would take place after the so-called catastrophic success?
That’s the military question. The diplomatic question is this:
How could the Bush administration have been so sure that they would get support from allies in the building of a multilateral force to keep the peace? How did the administration get a read that was so incredibly far off the mark?
These and more questions (including: why does Rummy still have a job?) are raised in this incredible Michael Gordon piece on Iraq’s unforseen 2nd War.