Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Following the Perfect Plan

Reading Joint Forces Command's report on the Iraq War provides lots of information.

One thing that jumps out is the refuting of the idea of some war opponents that the whole invasion was just a sucker play we fell for in order to suck us into a quagmire. Even aside from debating the idea of quagmire, the report makes it clear that there was no evil and deep plan to trap us in an insurgency. (See page 116 and 167-168 in particular--the document's copy function doesn't work!--and my most recent post on this fallacy.)

Jocelyn thinks that there is evidence of planning for an insurgency, but I am not persuaded. Isolated actions that could support insurgency are not persuasive when so many other steps were not taken. And not when many steps make sense for non-insurgency reasons.

Remember that we planned irregular warfare in Europe should the Soviets have headed west in the Cold War. Special forces would have headed for Eastern Europe to organize resistance while stay-behind teams would have ducked while Soviet forces marched west and reappeared to harrass the Soviets rear areas. This does not mean we planned to be defeated conventionally and wage an insurgency against the Soviet occupation.

No, Saddam's regime was trounced but they never expected to lose the war. They expected us to stall short of entering Baghdad. They expected that France and Russia would save them and get us to withdraw in time. And in the meantime, loyal thugs would make our life hell in the south and west which he expected us to control for a while. And after it was over, his loyal and vicious Fedayeen would control the Shias of the south until his military preserved north and east of Baghdad could deploy south.

Indeed, with all the ridiculous furor over perfect plans that war opponents periodically float over here, one of the most amusing aspects is the Saddam regime's insistence on following their perfect plan even when contact with the enemy made the plan obsolete. (See page 160.)

Mistakes are made in all wars. In the end, our plans were way better than Saddam's--enough to lead us to the point of victory if only we have the patience to wait a little longer for Iraq to stand on its own feet. And support the Iraqis, of course. Nothing is inevitable and even though we win, we have not yet won. We can still lose.

Oh, and I'm not impressed with the media reports of the loyal opposition's alternative war plan. After three years in Iraq and 4-1/2 years after 9/11, they labored to come up with a six-page plan (according to the television news). And half was the Spanish translation! Give those military and strategic geniuses a few more years and I look forward to their 5-page perfect plan for the Iraq occupation.

Man, at least Saddam only took a few weeks to realize he was actually in a war. And I imagine the loyal opposition here still is counting on the French...