While Rummy and his crew had a good (though I don’t think GREAT) plan for the fighting in Iraq, they really are struggling with the post-war phase. The recent change in the administration’s approach to the UN might be just more posturing, but there can be some real gains if we play it right. As for Rummy,
People close to the administration said the Joint Chiefs and Powell (a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs) did not win a bureaucratic battle as much as Rumsfeld lost one. “Rumsfeld lost credibility with the White House because he screwed up the postwar planning,” said William Kristol, a conservative publisher with close ties to the administration. “For five months they let Rumsfeld have his way, and for five months Rumsfeld said everything’s fine. He wanted to do the postwar with fewer troops than a lot of people advised, and it turned out to be a mistake.”
Pentagon spokesmen said there would be no official Defense Department comment for this report.”
For the record, I think we were short of troops during the invasion. As soon as it appeared that we might not get permission to move the 4th Infantry Division through Turkey, we should have changed plans and moved them to Kuwait immediately. That would have allowed the 3rd ID, Marines, and Brits to spearhead the invasion, then the 4th ID could have “taken the ball” by passing through and leading the charge through the Karbala gap. That would have given us fresh units to carry on the fight, and the 3rd ID would have been in perfect position to secure and guard the supply lines, as well as mop up an Nasiryah and similar hotspots in the rear.
I’m not so sure that we’re short of “troops” in post-invasion Iraq, although it seems to me that more combat training for support-types would allow them to perform routine duties such as guard duty and man check-points. We’re certainly short of police-type troops, and that’s where we’re stretched too thin. We’ve got front-line warriors spending their time guarding things and policing Baghdad. Really, they should be taking the war to the guerrillas. Although we do suffer casualties when on offense, we have had great success. And I think that nearly anyone would rather risk casualties by attacking enemy forces than by standing outside a power plant or riding shotgun on a relief convoy waiting for some guy to take potshots with an RPG. I think that maybe Rumsfeld hoped that Iraqi security forces would be able to police the place, but that seems like it’s too far off.
If some UN-mandated multinational forces can allow us to fight the war while they keep the peace, that will make a huge difference. Besides, that’s probably all that many countries’ militarys are good for. If they can get some men with guns to put on a show of force, that will dissuade quite a few would-be guerrillas. And when dead-enders and foreign fighters do try to make trouble, our guys will be able to deal with them instead of acting like targets.