Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Post-war Iraq through rose-colored glasses

"...we will be greeted as liberators."
-- Dick Cheney,
Meet the Press, March 16, 2003

So the rosy assessments about post-war Iraq parroted by hawks in the administration haven't quite come true. This is because people like Cheney chose to believe their own propaganda, even when dissenting analyses were readily at hand.

It thus comes as little surprise to see this story in today's Washington Post:

U.S. intelligence agencies warned Bush administration policymakers before the war in Iraq that there would be significant armed opposition to a U.S.-led occupation, according to administration and congressional sources familiar with the reports.

...Among the threats outlined in the intelligence agencies' reporting was that "Iraqis probably would resort to obstruction, resistance and armed opposition if they perceived attempts to keep them dependent on the U.S. and the West," one senior congressional aide said. The general tenor of the reports, according to a senior administration official familiar with the intelligence, was that the postwar period would be more "problematic" than the war to overthrow Hussein.

"Intelligence reports told them at some length about possibilities for unpleasantness," said a senior administration official, who like others spoke on condition of anonymity. "The reports were written, but we don't know if they were read."

In the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion, senior Pentagon officials were privately optimistic about postwar Iraq, and their assessment shaped calculations about the size of the occupation force that would be required and how long it would have to be there, as well as the overall cost of the U.S. management of Iraq after the fall of the Hussein government.

The more pessimistic view generally remained submerged, but the controversy did occasionally break into the open, most notably when then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric K. Shinseki told Congress in February that several hundred thousand occupation troops would be needed. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz rejected his estimate at the time as "wildly off the mark."
Nothing in this piece should shock you, if you've been paying attention over the past few months. Nonetheless, isn't it about time someone is held accountable for this stuff? Resignations, at the least?