Monday, September 10, 2007

In Which I Was Right

Risk management is serious business in my profession so the other day I made what I thought was an obvious observation about Iraq's post war planning:
I don't know how anyone can claim that the decision to invade was made analytically since there was never any serious consideration given to the risks. The outcome thus far has proven that, not the least of which is that an examination of the risks would have produced strategies for mitigation, which were apparently never even considered.
Today I read Colin Powell's confirmation of the matter:
As for the Iraq War, Powell -- a retired general and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- tells Isaacson that as he and others in the Bush administration debated strategy in the lead-up to the war, he did not think the Pentagon and then-secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had planned for what would happen after Baghdad fell.

"That was the big mistake. Don had written a list of the worst things that could happen, but we didn't do the contingency planning on what we would do about it. So we watched those buildings get burned down, and nobody told the divisions, 'Hey, go in there and declare martial law and whack a few people and it will stop.' Then the insurgency started, and we didn't acknowledge it. They said it wasn't an insurgency. They looked up the definition. They said it was a few dead-enders! And so we didn't respond in a way that might have stopped it. And then the civil war started at the beginning of last year. I call it a civil war, but some say no, it's not a civil war, it's a war against civilians. In fact, we have total civil disorder."
Satisfying and depressing, all at once.

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