Apr 30, 2004
Time for Better Decision-Making
“There was no debate about the wisdom of going to war,” said one senior administration official, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity. “No discussion of pros and cons, of what might happen, no planning for the unexpected. It was just something we were going to do.”
It didn’t have to be this way, critics inside and outside the administration say. Top Bush administration officials ignored and even disparaged pre-invasion warnings from their military, intelligence and foreign policy professionals - warnings that proved prescient.
They instead pursued a course urged by Iraqi exiles and their neoconservative allies in Washington, which envisioned a joyous welcome for U.S. troops and the quick installation of a pro-American government.
“The administration’s plan today is exactly what they rejected in the fall of 2002 because it wasn’t ideologically compatible,” said David Phillips, who was an adviser to an intensive State Department-led planning effort called “The Future of Iraq Project.”
It also remains to be seen how far Bush is willing to go in correcting course.
Members of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council, including controversial Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmad Chalabi, are resisting the new approach and efforts by the U.N. envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, to exclude them from the interim government.
One certainly hopes that Josh Marshall and UPI’s fears about the Oil-for-food investigation will not be justified:
The crux of the matter, however, is whether the investigation will be conducted through some transparent process or whether it will be conducted by a team under the control of ... well, can you guess? Ahmed Chalabi.