Thursday, March 22, 2007

How Not to Run a War...

As if the ideological underpinnings and strategic assumptions of the Iraq invasion weren't wrong enough, there's always the actual management of the operation to surpass all other levels of incompetence:

WASHINGTON, (AP) --Explosives looted from Iraq munitions sites will likely continue to support terrorist attacks throughout the region, a congressional report said Thursday, finding that some sites were still not secured more than three and a half years after the war started.

Failure to guard the sites "has been costly," the Government Accountability Office report said, noting looted munitions are being used to make roadside bombs, the No. 1 killer of U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

Quoting from previous Defense Department reports, the GAO study says widespread looting occurred after the fall of Baghdad in early 2003 because war planners didn't put enough troops into the country to secure weapons depots and because officials incorrectly assumed, among other things, that Iraqi soldiers would surrender and help with security.

The report recommended that the Pentagon do an Iraq-wide survey of unsecured sites and factor already identified lessons learned into future war planning.

Defense officials said Thursday they would have no comment beyond what the department said in the report. That is that commanders are aware of the problem, have done similar surveys over the past three years and don't have the manpower for a new one without harming the war effort.

This is inexcusable. For three and a half years, the President and the Joint Chiefs repeatedly, confidently assured the American people that enough troops had been dispatched to Iraq to handle the occupation. Anyone who dared to warn otherwise was branded a traitor or a fool. Yet, from this report it is entirely clear that for all during that time US commanders have known about this problem and just didn't have the troops to do anything about it. This is a perfect example of the shocking incompetence of the administration and its blithe disregard for reality as well as American lives, money, and America's credibility abroad.

Will anyone in the administration or the Pentagon face any real consequences for this monumental disaster? Probably not.


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