Chalabi Or Bust

Message to all of those rightwing net warriors who demanded over the years that I accept that THERE WAS A PLAN and the Rumsfeld/neocon warhawks are not a bunch of criminal incompetents: you were completely fucking wrong. Give up.

Let’s hear from patchouli-soaked hippies at the Army War College:

“The transition to a new campaign was not well thought out, planned for, and prepared for before it began,” write Wright and Reese, historians at the Army’s Combat Studies Institute at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. “Additionally, the assumptions about the nature of post-Saddam Iraq on which the transition was planned proved to be largely incorrect.”

The results of those errors, they add, were that U.S. forces and their allies lacked an operational and strategic plan for success in Iraq, as well as the resources to carry out a plan.

The capsule summary is not entirely accurate in that Rumsfeld certainly did have a plan. He and the neocons planned to install a friendly strongman and leave. To guage just how stupid the war planners were, a useful question is who. Unless we had in mind a Saddam cousin or Muqtada Sadr, who wasn’t on our radar at the time, the only credible option would be a friendly exile. Aside from Ahmad Chalabi, how many of those can you name?

It really was Chalabi or bust. We got bust.






31 replies
  1. 1
    ed says:

    OK, but you have to admit that there was a plan. It was a shitty one, and hardly well thought out, but they had a plan to hand off post-Saddam Iraq to a corrupt strong man (ours!) whom the majority of Iraqi hating the living shit out of.

  2. 2
    El Cid says:

    Imagine that — the same actually existing lazy, venal, dishonest, deceptive, crazy, ideological nutball political leaders we had who couldn’t competently and honestly govern their way out of a wet tissue bag suddenly didn’t become heroic, time-transcending, insightful policy success obsessed American statesmen simply because they launched a war.

    I know a lot of people who actually thought that something so serious as a war would have that effect. I guess it’s something you learn from movies and the like. I guess people are unwilling to accept that when you have a lousy bunch of scoundrels in charge, they remain scoundrels when they launch a war or are called to help our citizens in a disaster.

  3. 3
    cmorenc says:

    The plan was:
    1) The happy, grateful people of Iraq rejoice that we have rid them of the Wicked Witch of the West Saddam Hussein, and willingly accept our appointed provisional leader whom we have wisely selected for them, in anticipation of being able to democratically choose their next leaders pro-Western, friendly to US business and oil interests by their own free choice.
    2) The American people would be so happy and impressed by the success of the Iraq venture that the electorate would hardly care less if some of the claims to justify the war in the first place didn’t pan out. After all, Saddam Hussein was a very, very, VERY BAD MAN, n’est pas? NO, that’s a Frenchie phrase, say it another way Er, true?

  4. 4
    Zifnab says:

    Clearly someone in the Army War College is a Bush Hating fake soldier with a book to sell. I hope the Pentagon conducts a full scale investigation into this guy’s personal life, because he’s probably a gay Islamic registered member of the ACLU.

  5. 5
    Wilfred says:

    Lest we forget, McCain was a big Chalabi fan:

    ‘ McCain welcomed Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress (INC), to Washington and pressured the administration to give him money. When General Anthony Zinni cast doubt upon the effectiveness of the Iraqi opposition, McCain rebuked him at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

    In 2003, McCain joined four other Republican senators and asked Bush to “personally clear the bureaucratic roadblocks within the State Department” that blocked increased funding for the Chalabi’s group. Also that year, McCain said of Chalabi, “He’s a patriot who has the best interests of his country at heart.” ‘

    An unerring eye for true patriots.

  6. 6
    cminus says:

    Natually, liberal college professors are going to say the war was badly planned.

  7. 7

    […] Tim F. at Balloon Juice is all The capsule summary is not entirely accurate in that Rumsfeld certainly did have a plan. He and the neocons planned to install a friendly strongman and leave. […]

  8. 8
    dbrown says:

    People, the war was purely window dressing for their real goal – fucking the fools that voted for them while they stole their (and ours) futrue – we now have all that they wanted for us (and also read as U.S.) – debt, dying middle class, and bills; they have all the money, more money and control of the real power: money.
    They are laughing all the way to the bank as American soldiers die, get injuried and just screwed; I wonder how many fools reading this either

    1) voted for those dumb fuck heads
    2) Believe the shit they were feed (at first) or
    3) Still have those stupid ‘Support the troops’ on their cars as these fuckers murder more American kids?

  9. 9

    Remember the candy that the Iraqis were going to give their American liberators? I remember definitely that there was going to be candy. That much of the plan I remember.

    Was it going to be that Turkish candy, you know, kind of a rose-flavored jelly cubes with pistachios in them, and covered with powdered sugar? Because that’s really good candy.

    There was supposed to be flowers too. What kind of flowers?

  10. 10
    Texpope says:

    You don’t have the plan correct.

    It wasn’t “install a friendly strongman and leave”.

    It was “install a friendly strongman, who wouldn’t object to the US building permanent garrisons for our troops throughout their country, and use Iraq as a base of operations for attacks against Syria and Iran”.

    Bush had as much intention to leave Iraq as he had of waiting to see if Saddam really had a WMD program when he signed the AUMF against Iraq in 2002.

  11. 11
    Splitting Image says:

    “3) Still have those stupid ‘Support the troops’ on their cars as these fuckers murder more American kids?”

    Nothing wrong with supporting the troops. At this point, the best way to support them is to have the people who sent them overseas put on trial for war crimes, then lined up and shot. That’s worth a bumper sticker, in my opinion.

  12. 12
    Brachiator says:

    “The transition to a new campaign was not well thought out, planned for, and prepared for before it began,” write Wright and Reese, historians at the Army’s Combat Studies Institute at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. “Additionally, the assumptions about the nature of post-Saddam Iraq on which the transition was planned proved to be largely incorrect.”

    Right wing pundits and talk show hosts, the hand maidens to the Neocon high priests, will counter this by insisting that this bunch are just traitorous, out of touch liberals or Democratic Party loyalists who want to bring down the only true Americans — all Republicans who believe in the war on terror. This was the same tactic used to discredit those analysts at the State Department who tried to warn the Bush Administration of the stupidity of their Iraq policy.

    Texpope Says:

    You don’t have the plan correct.

    It wasn’t “install a friendly strongman and leave”.

    It was “install a friendly strongman, who wouldn’t object to the US building permanent garrisons for our troops throughout their country, and use Iraq as a base of operations for attacks against Syria and Iran”.

    And don’t forget the Bush economic plan for Iraq:

    Install a Halliburton guided free market paradise in which free flowing oil will reimburse the US for the costs of the war.

  13. 13
    Bill White says:

    Sure there was a plan — a plan hatched by Chalabi perhaps with assistance from Tehran and their intelligence assets.

    Chalabi and company told the neo-cons three BIG lies:

    1. Saddam had WMD. IMHO, the discovery of weapons grade plutonium or uranium inside Iraq would have given Bush ample political cover no matter how badly the occupation was FUBAR-ed thereafter.

    2. We would be greeted with flowers and candy. Chalabi and company would be able to transform a grateful Iraqi people into a stalwart ally of America and Israel.

    Anyone else remember that proposed blue/white flag as Iraq’s new national flag? That was part of the neo-con bait, IMHO.

    3. I also recall reading somewhere on the inter-tubes (back then) a rumor about massive oil reserves Saddam discovered in the western deserts of Iraq but could not develop because of sanctions. As much or more petroluem than Saudi Arabia has remaining.

    A great premise for a novel: Chalabi was working with Iranian intelligence and together they pulled the psy-ops sting of the millenia by goading and hoodwinking Uncle Sam into whacking Iran’s largest and nearest rival for them.

    = = =

    OF COURSE “we” wanted a Washington compliant Saddam-lite to rule Iraq. What better way to prepare for the toppling of the Iranian regime?

    By tempting the PNAC-ers with the promise of that, Tehran drank America’s milkshake.

  14. 14
    dbrown says:

    I never said don’t support the troops – what I was saying was that most people with these stickers are dumb fucks that think that is supporting the troops – meanwhile, bloody hands cheney and bushwhack are killing our kids while few people are going anything for the troops. Let bring them home – NOW!

  15. 15
    The Moar You Know says:

    Anyone else remember that proposed blue/white flag as Iraq’s new national flag? That was part of the neo-con bait, IMHO.

    That was truly hilarious. How out of touch can you get? It’s like flying the Stars and Bars over the state capital of a state with a large black…

    Oh yeah, never mind, it’s the same bunch of people in charge.

  16. 16
    Tsulagi says:

    We are all DFHs now. Alright, maybe not all. No doubt the brilliant thinkers among the 20%ers with The Big Picture looping on a screen in their heads are certain the guys writing this Army War College report were wearing Birks.

    During the glorious Rummy years there were lessons learned battles within the Pentagon. Over who would write critical assessments, or sign off on them. Civilians, or military as in the past. Guess which side Cheney, Rummy, Wolfie, and “the stupidest fucker on Earth” Feith thought best for the task.

    To be fair, there have been some really smart thinkers too with military backgrounds. One retired AF General and former AF Chief of Staff mused during the salad days of OIF that the admin had its priorities reversed, we should have done Kim Jong il first before jamming Saddam. And a primary reason we didn’t was…

    New York City. Miami. We have a large vote – vote, here in favor of Israel. And no politician wants to run against it.

    But once we handed off Iraq to “some sort of military-slash-civilian administration,” we could get back on track dealing with Korea. But never forget Iraq!…

    We’ll be there a century, hopefully. If it works right. I’ll tell you one thing, that it is not something we should hope for, and that’s a democratic Iraq.

    Okay, you have to cut him some slack, he was Air Force. They’re special. He still is too, he’s senior military adviser and co-campaign chairman for Obama. No worries, no doubt General McPeak has transcended while in the presence of The MUP.

  17. 17
    William Ockham says:

    Um, not a novel, but history:

    Chalabi was working with Iranian intelligence and together they pulled the psy-ops sting of the millenia by goading and hoodwinking Uncle Sam into whacking Iran’s largest and nearest rival for them.

    Meanwhile Ghorbanifar was entertaining Ledeen, Franklin, and Rhode with the same ‘moderate Iranians’ that he introduced us to in 1985.

    What pisses me off is not so much that we fell for an Iranian counterintelligence operation, but that we fell for the exact same one they pulled 20 years ago.

  18. 18
    mark says:

    I hope the Pentagon conducts a full scale investigation into this guy’s personal life, because he’s probably a gay Islamic registered member of the ACLU.

    … with granite counter tops. Don’t forget the counter tops.

  19. 19
    maxbaer (not the original) says:

    Thanks, Wm Ockham for pointing that out. All these Republicans think they’re James Bond or John Drake or some such undercover agent. These guys are bigger dupes than Ollie North or Robert McFarlane thought about being.

    Can’t wait to see what some Repub admin 20 years from now comes up with.

  20. 20
    Wolfdaughter says:

    I remember reading somewhere during the ramp-up to the Iraq war that Chalabi hadn’t been in Iraq since either 1956 or 1958, forget which. How could you trust the assessment of such a man, even assuming that he was well-intentioned and actually telling the truth as he understood it? And of course events have amply proven that he was lying about almost everything that he said. Also, he had done some sort of scheme having to do with banking–passing bad checks, forging signatures, something like that, which should have been all too easy for the CIA to suss out.

    Even if he had been telling the truth as he saw it, the idea that the Iraqis were going to greet us with candy, hugs and kisses was just ludicrous, as I knew at the time. Yes, the Europeans in the countries liberated in WWII were grateful to the liberators, but for the most part, they had been occupied by Nazis who had invaded them. Saddam, nasty brute that he was, was still one of theirs, and we invaded Iraq. It would go against everything a sensible person knows about human nature to expect that they would greet us happily. And the idea that they would then choose, on their own, a pro-Western, business-oriented guy? Beyond ludicrous. Into la-la territory.

  21. 21
    JJ says:

    This is nothing new. You get the same info from Thomas Ricks and his sources, and George Packer, etc.

    Yes, there were planning done other than the Chilabi pipe dream and Rumsfeld’s quick win, but I think they were un-implementable (because Rumsfeld’s and the Neocons’ plans superseded them. The sets of plans were competing and didn’t mesh in any implementable way).

  22. 22
    mitchell porter says:

    Apart from Chalabi, there was Allawi, who was the CIA’s favorite. And Allawi, unlike Chalabi, actually got to be PM for a while. Which tells you a bit more about what happened: CIA (and the State Dept) intervened to prevent the INC from becoming the interim government, and instead you got Bremer.

    The buck stops with Bush, so if he screwed things up by going first with the Pentagon and then with the CIA, he still has to wear the blame. But you might want to acknowledge that there’s a bit more to this story than “the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld axis fucked things up”.

  23. 23
    joe says:

    I remember reading about Chalabi in the National Review as far back as 2001. He’s the George Washington of Iraq, doncha know, and those limp-wristed traitors in the CIA and State Department refused to recognize his greatness, mainly because they are partisan Democrats.

    You can learn so much reading the National Review.

  24. 24
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    I just get this mental picture of the Bush gang, sitting around the cabinet table.

    Georgie, doodling on his notepad, when Cheney asks Rumsfeld: “do we have a plan for Iraq, after the invasion?”

    Rumsfeld: “Plan? Of COURSE we have a plan! We have a plan so cunning you could put a tail on it, and call it a weasel!

    And the rest is history…

  25. 25

    […] I read Balloon Juice. Every day. In fact, I left a comment over there the day before yesterday trying to point out (politely) to Tim that this study wasn’t a product of the Army War College, but of the Combat Studies Institute, an outfit belonging to Fort Leavenworth’s Combined Arms Center. Yes, the Combined Arms Center runs the Army’s Command and General Staff College, but that’s a far cry from the War College. Leavenworth != Carlisle Barracks, but then again, only folks subject to PTSD might know that. What tickles me is that the comment disappeared in moderation, clearly not of the caliber Balloon Juice expects. […]

  26. 26

    […] I read Balloon Juice. Every day. In fact, I left a comment over there the day before yesterday trying to point out (politely) to Tim that this study wasn’t a product of the Army War College, but of the Combat Studies Institute, an outfit belonging to Fort Leavenworth’s Combined Arms Center. Yes, the Combined Arms Center runs the Army’s Command and General Staff College, but that’s a far cry from the War College. Leavenworth != Carlisle Barracks, but then again, only folks subject to PTSD might know that. What tickles me is that the comment disappeared in moderation, clearly not of the caliber Balloon Juice expects. […]

  27. 27

    […] Rice was talking about the Surge plan; the topic might as well have been the postwar plan for Iraq. She could have been talking about forcing Fatah to hold elections in Gaza. Similar words describe the decision to ignore North Korea until Kim Jong Il enriched a crapload of plutonium and tested a nuke. They equally apply to the decision to ignore Iran’s diplomatic contacts in 2003 and effectively turn them into an adversary with a potent incentive to keep us violently occupied next door (the plan was to intimidate Iran instead of talking; after his engagement failed Iranians turned against moderate President Khatami and elected Ahmadinejad in his place). […]

  28. 28

    […] Rice was talking about the Surge plan; the topic might as well have been the postwar plan for Iraq. She could have been talking about forcing Fatah to hold elections in Gaza. Similar words describe the decision to ignore North Korea until Kim Jong Il enriched a crapload of plutonium and tested a nuke. They equally apply to the decision to ignore Iran’s diplomatic contacts in 2003 and effectively turn them into an adversary with a potent incentive to keep us violently occupied next door (the plan was to intimidate Iran instead of talking; after his engagement failed Iranians turned against moderate President Khatami and elected Ahmadinejad in his place). […]

  29. 29

    […] Rice was talking about the Surge plan; the topic might as well have been the postwar plan for Iraq. She could have been talking about forcing Fatah to hold elections in Gaza. Similar words describe the decision to ignore North Korea until Kim Jong Il enriched a crapload of plutonium and tested a nuke. They equally apply to the decision to ignore Iran’s diplomatic contacts in 2003 and effectively turn them into an adversary with a potent incentive to keep us violently occupied next door (the plan was to intimidate Iran instead of talking; after his engagement failed Iranians turned against moderate President Khatami and elected Ahmadinejad in his place). […]

  30. 30

    […] Rice was talking about the Surge plan; the topic might as well have been the postwar plan for Iraq. She could have been talking about forcing Fatah to hold elections in Gaza. Similar words describe the decision to ignore North Korea until Kim Jong Il enriched a crapload of plutonium and tested a nuke. They equally apply to the decision to ignore Iran’s diplomatic contacts in 2003 and effectively turn them into an adversary with a potent incentive to keep us violently occupied next door (the plan was to intimidate Iran instead of talking; after his engagement failed Iranians turned against moderate President Khatami and elected Ahmadinejad in his place). […]

  31. 31
    Smart Alex says:

    Correction: On Point II is not a publication out of the Army War College (Carlisle Barracks, PA) as you state in your original post, but rather from the Combat Studies Institute in Ft. Leavenworth, KS.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Rice was talking about the Surge plan; the topic might as well have been the postwar plan for Iraq. She could have been talking about forcing Fatah to hold elections in Gaza. Similar words describe the decision to ignore North Korea until Kim Jong Il enriched a crapload of plutonium and tested a nuke. They equally apply to the decision to ignore Iran’s diplomatic contacts in 2003 and effectively turn them into an adversary with a potent incentive to keep us violently occupied next door (the plan was to intimidate Iran instead of talking; after his engagement failed Iranians turned against moderate President Khatami and elected Ahmadinejad in his place). […]

  2. […] Rice was talking about the Surge plan; the topic might as well have been the postwar plan for Iraq. She could have been talking about forcing Fatah to hold elections in Gaza. Similar words describe the decision to ignore North Korea until Kim Jong Il enriched a crapload of plutonium and tested a nuke. They equally apply to the decision to ignore Iran’s diplomatic contacts in 2003 and effectively turn them into an adversary with a potent incentive to keep us violently occupied next door (the plan was to intimidate Iran instead of talking; after his engagement failed Iranians turned against moderate President Khatami and elected Ahmadinejad in his place). […]

  3. […] Rice was talking about the Surge plan; the topic might as well have been the postwar plan for Iraq. She could have been talking about forcing Fatah to hold elections in Gaza. Similar words describe the decision to ignore North Korea until Kim Jong Il enriched a crapload of plutonium and tested a nuke. They equally apply to the decision to ignore Iran’s diplomatic contacts in 2003 and effectively turn them into an adversary with a potent incentive to keep us violently occupied next door (the plan was to intimidate Iran instead of talking; after his engagement failed Iranians turned against moderate President Khatami and elected Ahmadinejad in his place). […]

  4. […] Rice was talking about the Surge plan; the topic might as well have been the postwar plan for Iraq. She could have been talking about forcing Fatah to hold elections in Gaza. Similar words describe the decision to ignore North Korea until Kim Jong Il enriched a crapload of plutonium and tested a nuke. They equally apply to the decision to ignore Iran’s diplomatic contacts in 2003 and effectively turn them into an adversary with a potent incentive to keep us violently occupied next door (the plan was to intimidate Iran instead of talking; after his engagement failed Iranians turned against moderate President Khatami and elected Ahmadinejad in his place). […]

  5. […] I read Balloon Juice. Every day. In fact, I left a comment over there the day before yesterday trying to point out (politely) to Tim that this study wasn’t a product of the Army War College, but of the Combat Studies Institute, an outfit belonging to Fort Leavenworth’s Combined Arms Center. Yes, the Combined Arms Center runs the Army’s Command and General Staff College, but that’s a far cry from the War College. Leavenworth != Carlisle Barracks, but then again, only folks subject to PTSD might know that. What tickles me is that the comment disappeared in moderation, clearly not of the caliber Balloon Juice expects. […]

  6. […] I read Balloon Juice. Every day. In fact, I left a comment over there the day before yesterday trying to point out (politely) to Tim that this study wasn’t a product of the Army War College, but of the Combat Studies Institute, an outfit belonging to Fort Leavenworth’s Combined Arms Center. Yes, the Combined Arms Center runs the Army’s Command and General Staff College, but that’s a far cry from the War College. Leavenworth != Carlisle Barracks, but then again, only folks subject to PTSD might know that. What tickles me is that the comment disappeared in moderation, clearly not of the caliber Balloon Juice expects. […]

  7. […] Tim F. at Balloon Juice is all The capsule summary is not entirely accurate in that Rumsfeld certainly did have a plan. He and the neocons planned to install a friendly strongman and leave. […]

Comments are closed.