It wasn’t just Colin Powell, a voice Cassandrizing itself into marginalization and eventual unemployment; even the military’s own war games predicted the current state of affairs.
More to the point, it showed that only a force nearly three times the size of the current one could have any chance at maintaining stability and preventing sectarian chaos.
George Washington University’s National Security Archive applied through a Freedom of Information Act request, and obtained the documents that prove it. AP has the report.
A series of secret U.S. war games in 1999 showed that an invasion and post-war administration of Iraq would require 400,000 troops, nearly three times the number there now.
And even then, the games showed, the country still had a chance of dissolving into chaos…
“The conventional wisdom is the U.S. mistake in Iraq was not enough troops,” said Thomas Blanton, the archive’s director. “But the Desert Crossing war game in 1999 suggests we would have ended up with a failed state even with 400,000 troops on the ground…”
Some of the conclusions are similar to what actually occurred after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003:
“A change in regimes does not guarantee stability,” the 1999 seminar briefings said. “A number of factors including aggressive neighbors, fragmentation along religious and/or ethnic lines, and chaos created by rival forces bidding for power could adversely affect regional stability.” “Even when civil order is restored and borders are secured, the replacement regime could be problematic — especially if perceived as weak, a puppet, or out-of-step with prevailing regional governments.” “Iran’s anti-Americanism could be enflamed by a U.S.-led intervention in Iraq,” the briefings read. “The influx of U.S. and other western forces into Iraq would exacerbate worries in Tehran, as would the installation of a pro-western government in Baghdad.” “The debate on post-Saddam Iraq also reveals the paucity of information about the potential and capabilities of the external Iraqi opposition groups. The lack of intelligence concerning their roles hampers U.S. policy development.” “Also, some participants believe that no Arab government will welcome the kind of lengthy U.S. presence that would be required to install and sustain a democratic government.” “A long-term, large-scale military intervention may be at odds with many coalition partners.”
This is news? Colin Powell and General Franks asked for at least 350,000 pairs of boots on the ground.
“A vague interest in toppling a madman”–doesn’t have that ring to it, does it?
Indeed. I read several articles on the Powell Doctrine before posting this, and the more I read the more it appears he was quite right. The complaint at the time was “But that won’t let us go to war!” and they were quite right. Something like 20% of the Canadian population died in WW I and who could conceive of a country sending soldiers overseas to that kind of slaughter now? If we were even actually invaded, I don’t think you’d get that kind of signup.
Why can’t the Americans pronounce Colin? Why do they rhyme it with colon? (with in at the end) Or is it just with this guy? Is this a social statement Mr Powell hasn’t noticed? Nah, they can’t say Worcester right either, or maths. I just hate it when they shorten mathematics to math – it’s plural! If you have one number you don’t do anything to, that’s not maths, thats counting.
Well, different members of Powell’s family pronounce it in different ways; it’s weird. The reason they can’t say obscure British words “correctly” is that they’re idiomatic, not phonetic, in other words their pronounciations have nothing to do with their spelling. Can’t expect someone over here to keep track of idioms like that, any more than we could expect you to know that in Quebec, you swear using church words, rather than sexual words.