Carol Platt Liebau: The Orphaned Iraqi Army

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Orphaned Iraqi Army

This is guest blogger Wile E Coyote.

It is said that success has a thousand fathers, while failure is an orphan.

Here is an article by Paul Bremer explaining how and why the decision was made to disband the Saddam-era Iraqi army.

Bremer tries to pin paternity for this decision on a number of organizations and people, including coalition security advisor Walter Slocombe. Of course, the baby still looks most like Bremer.

I know Slocombe personally. He is undeniably brilliant (and almost as smart as the people who comment on these blogs).

Now, brilliant people make mistakes, and sometimes they do really dumb things. (Bill Clinton, anybody?)

What we should remember is that tough decisions are made on the margins. There isn't always one right choice, or even one good choice. When things don't go well, we look back on the road not taken and assume it was the better, hassle-free choice. We can fantasize in this manner because we don't have to deal with the consequences of that other choice.

Where Bush made mistakes was in not involving or listening to cultural/area experts in decision-making. He might still have made the same decision to disband the army, but would have been better informed of the potential consequences and been better prepared to mitigate the inevitable downsides of the decision.


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