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New Army Book Tells-All About Lack of Post-Combat Planning

Today the US Army is releasing a 669-page account of their role in the Iraq war and occupation entitled On Point II: Transition to the New Campaign and it stands to be a tell-all page-turner. Although unclassified, the book is the Army’s chance to honestly tell the story of one of the most controversial periods in its history and accompanies an ever-expanding canon regarding the problems the US faced in their Iraq adventure.

Based on 200 interviews conducted by military historians, it includes long quotations from active or recently retired Army officers. The book is said to claim that the military effort after major combat operations were over, was put under the command of short-staffed headquarters headed by newly promoted three-star generals, causing trouble. These decisions came despite the objections of the Army’s Vice Chief of staff. According to the book, “the move was sudden and caught most of the senior commanders in Iraq unaware. [The new headquarters] was not configured for the types of responsibilities it received.”

Among other claims, On Point II: Transition to the New Campaign says that a huge error was made with the lack of detailed planning before the war for the post-war phase; a negligence that was the result of false optimism in the White House. To see how,


The report claims that then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld assumed that Iraq civilian agencies in the conquered nation would automatically assume much of the burden once their leadership was removed. Instead what happened was a near total collapse of every single government department and national chaos. One General is quoted in the report warning General Abizaid, who had replaced General Franks as the head of Central Command as saying, "I said ‘Jesus Christ, John, this is a recipe for disaster!’ " While another General remembers this damning detail: “there was not a single session that was held at the command level to hand off or transition anything.”

Is faulty planning the reason for the mixed views of success in Iraq? Is a book like this necessary, or is it Too Much Information, dampening any reports of military progress? Was the mission set up for failure due to lack of forethought?


Join The Conversation
mirmir4 mirmir4 9 years
I'm shocked no one has commented on the true issue at hand: Rumsfeld isn't wearing a flag pin!
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Well I guess it's nice to have the details of a fact that is already well established.
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 9 years
That being said, I do think its admirable that the army is owning up and being honest.
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 9 years
Ok, I think this report is slightly irrelevant as we all knew all along that the war was mishandled at the beginning. NOW we should be concentrating on fixing the problem, not pointing fingers and showing how ill prepared we were...
stephley stephley 9 years
Nice job explaining, Em - I had to hit the ground running at work.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
Time for a group hug! :hug: :hug: :hug:
em1282 em1282 9 years
Gotcha, cab. ;)
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
em - I don't know that people who supported the war in the begining saw at that time that things were going wrong, I think they were probably optimistic back then that this would be a much smoother process. But knowing what we know NOW, I would say that everyone has to admit that there were many mistakes in the begining. If my comment came off as saying that even the war supporters knew it was wrong from the get go, thats not what I meant at all. What I meant was even if you whole heartedly believe in the cause and always have, you can still admit that there were mistakes made and learn from them.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
I seriously have no idea what just happened here. My point is that any rational person would agree that there were many mistakes made in the begining and it was very mismanaged. From this there's two ways people can go, they can either say To hell with it! Lets bring everyone home! or they can say Hey, lets correct our mistakes and make it better since we're there anyways. Now Steph, I know you and I take separate roads (and I know you were against the war from the begining) but I was hoping that we could at LEAST agree that it was mismanaged in the begining and that would AT LEAST give some foundation to the fact that there are rational thinkers on both sides of this argument. I see now that I was wrong in thinking that was a good thing.
em1282 em1282 9 years
I get what stephley's saying...I don't think anyone's trying to pick a fight or anything...stephley's just saying that cab's comment about even the staunchest supporters of the war believing that the war was mishandled in the beginning makes her stomach turn because we keep pouring money into something its *supporters* even saw as flawed/incredibly mishandled at the start. Haha, ok, don't know if that was worded any better, and stephley feel free to correct me if I'm totally off-base here. What can I say, I'm still distracted by your McAvoy pic. ;) (Oooh and totally off topic, but if you have seen "Wanted", you can seriously see the street I walk down every day during the scene wher Angelina's going crazy with her gun in the red car with McAvoy. The apartment they use as his apartment is also right under my train line, the brown line. Chicago looks so awesome in that movie!)
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Wow I am so lost.
stephley stephley 9 years
Damn, that should read 'I didn't say you were wrong'...
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
I'm confused...
syako syako 9 years
cab's being snarky?
stephley stephley 9 years
Don't get snarky Cab, that isn't necessary. I say you were wrong. Take a deep breath and ask yourself what you would think if the war really intensified and one day I started saying we've under-manned it and started calling for more of everything to be sent over. Unless you're a saint, you'd have mixed emotions at best.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Ok so I just want to be clear... When I disagree with you, I'm wrong. And then when I agree with you, I'm still wrong. Good to know.
stephley stephley 9 years
Like almost threw up.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
I'm confused? Lurched in a bad way?
stephley stephley 9 years
Wow Cab, I read that and my stomach actually lurched. An incredibly mishandled beginning and we keep pouring lives and money into it to try and make it right.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
I don't think that even the staunchest supporter of this war wouldn't say that it was incredibly mishandled in the beginning.
stephley stephley 9 years
As much as some people hate to hear negative stories about the military and Iraq, unless there is some effort to tell painful truths, the same mistakes will continue to be made and more people will die. Over-optimism and lack of planning have been concerns since before Bush launched the war - this just confirms that they were legitimate worries.
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