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“The Iraq imbroglio has produced some amazing and, for war supporters, painful essays. . . . Blind Into Baghdad . . . show[s] that most of what happened in postwar Iraq was predicted prewar by government analysts. It's just that their reports were suppressed or ignored by the people making the decisions.”
–David Brooks, The New York Times
The Fifty-First State?
Blind into Baghdad
Bush’s Lost Year
Why Iraq Has No Army
Will Iran Be Next?
Posted October 16, 2007
James Fallows, the Atlantic Monthly¿s national correspondent, produced a series of articles between 2002 and 2005 on the planning and execution of the war against Iraq. He has now brought these articles together in a fascinating book. He writes, ¿the administration will be condemned for what it did with what was known. The problems the United States has encountered are precisely the ones its own expert agencies warned against.¿ Bush refused to use the State Department¿s `Future of Iraq¿ programme. He was told that occupying Iraq would be harder than conquering it, that they should act to prevent looting, and that they should not disband the Iraqi army. But he ignored all this good advice, because planning for postwar meant facing its costs and problems, which would have weakened his fragile case for war. Fallows writes that the US strategy against Islamic terrorism is `gravely flawed in both design and execution¿. He points out that Bush¿s mantra of ¿they hate us because we are free¿ is ¿dangerous claptrap. Dangerous because it is so lazily self-justifying and self-deluding: the only thing we could possibly be doing wrong is being so excellent.¿ Fallows also recounts what happened when a team of experienced US government officials war-gamed attacking Iran. They explored three escalating levels of intervention: raids on Revolutionary Guard units (which Brown has apparently signed us up to), a preemptive strike on possible nuclear facilities (an estimated 300 targets, in a five-day assault), and regime change. They concluded, ¿You have no military solution for the issues of Iran. And you have to make diplomacy work.¿ Fallows sums up, ¿The country failed because individuals who led it failed. They made the wrong choices they did not learn or listen they were fools.¿ The war in Iraq is counter-productive: the USA is now worse off than in 2003. It is also unwinnable: as a US lieutenant colonel said, there are now ¿two options. We can lose in Iraq and destroy our army, or we can just lose.¿ Fallows concludes that the US state should ¿face the stark fact that it has no orderly way out of Iraq, and prepare accordingly.¿
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