Sunday, April 09, 2006

At Our Mercy

Marine General Anthony Zinni served the U.S. for thirty-five years. After retiring, he co-authored a book with Tom Clancy titled Battle Ready (2004) about the invasion of Iraq. Commenting on preparations for the attack and the invasion’s subsequent conduct, he wrote that:

I saw at a minimum true dereliction, negligence, and irresponsibility — at worst, lying, incompetence and corruption.

It was said we couldn’t wait for a smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud. The administration ignored a decade of planning and dismissed troop level estimates out of hand. Reconstruction was a get-rich-quick scheme for contractors; most of the money just disappeared. The Iraqi army was disbanded, creating a power void at the federal level even as we claimed to be supporting a new Iraqi government.

On Meet the Press last week, Zinni described an administration mired in efforts to re-write history:

We just heard the Secretary of State [Condoleezza Rice] say these were tactical mistakes. These were not tactical mistakes; these were strategic mistakes, mistakes of policy made back here. Don’t blame the troops. They’re the ones that perform the tactics on the ground. They’ve been magnificent. If anything saves us, it will be them.

Pre-invasion claims about Iraq were ridiculous. Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and no military capabilities. Hussein’s army:

…had caved in. It was nothing like the Gulf War; it was a shell of its former self. We knew we could go through it quickly. We had stripped away his air defenses. He was at our mercy.

All of the Iraqi people were at our mercy. They still are.

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