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Hey guys. For one of my law degree module options I’m doing The Law and Ethics in War and Warfare. The exam (second last ever uni exam! Eeek!) is next Friday, and the war in Iraq is a sure fire topic to come up. Anyway, after doing extensive research, I compiled this timeline-esque set of notes documenting the strategic problems with the war and the ineptitudes which has led to its current status as an unwinnable quagmire.

I hope you find it interesting reading!

EDIT; this is not a go at the US, please don't treat it as such.


Pre invasion
Initial Naivety and lack of Operational Foresight
• Immediately post September 11th, senior analysts are tasked with linking Al-Qaida to Iraq. Marc Garlasco, one such analyst, comes to the conclusion there is no link – and in fact reports that it is more likely there is hostility between the AQ and the Iraqi Ba’athist regime.
• Combat operations commence in Iraq. The Iraqi army is defeated in a matter of weeks. Saddam is overthrown and goes into hiding.
• May 1st 2003, Bush declares an end to combat operations. He ignores warnings from the National Intelligence Council of potential post-invasion difficulties, dismissing it as nay saying. Robert Hutchings claims that in fact Bush did not even read the NIC briefing.
• Mideast Director Joost Hiltermann claims naivety about postwar reconstruction of Iraq, and what the Iraqi people would do, is rampant amongst the Bush administration.
• The plan is to remain in Iraq for a matter of 3-4 months, install a pro-US democratic government, then have upwards of 30,000 troops out by August of 2003.
• The Future of Iraq project, a hefty set of volumes compiled carefully by expert analysts, is almost entirely ignored by the Republican administration.
• In WWII, the Roosevelt administration spent 2 years planning the occupation of Germany. Bush didn’t establish the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA) until 60 days before the invasion of Iraq. General Jay Garner said ‘a task of that magnitude takes years to prepare’.
• According to Ambassador Barbara Bodine, head of ORHA, ‘there were no plans, there were truly no plans’; the office ORHA was given lacked computer equipment – even chairs.

Post Invasion
Post invasion chaos and Strategic Ineptitude
• As US forces entered Bagdad widespread looting broke out. It quickly descends into utter lawlessness. $12billion worth of damage is done to public and private property within the first month of occupation.
• ORHA had provided a list of culturally and strategically significant points to protect. Out of these, only the Oil Ministry was protected. The National Library and Archives were burned down, and the National Museum was looted, destroying thousands of years of national and world heritage.
• Martial law was never declared, as would have been legitimate within the 4th Geneva Convention. Bodine laments these as the days in which US forces lose the support of the Iraqi people.
• Within the Bush Administration, apathy reigns. It is not seen as the US’s job to police the streets. An entire armoured division of 16,000 men headed for Bagdad is cancelled, while the Shiites and Sunnis are increasingly at war.
• April 2003, ORHA goes in to Iraq. They do not even have working telephones, and only 5 people who speak Arabic. There is no physical or administrative structure in Iraq; they are effectively building a country from the ground up, and are woefully underfunded.
• The mosque fills the vacuum left by the US. The Madhi Army under an infamous cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, takes control of southern Iraq. Samantha Power claims this would not have happened had law and order been restored.
• OHRA is phased out and replaced by the Coalition Provisional Authority, headed by politicians with no experience. 3 disastrous policy decisions are subsequently made;

1. Cease the formation of an interim Iraqi government.
2. De Ba’athification (Saddam’s ruling party. Many of them are simply professionals doing a good job, having joined the regime to remain safe. Some 50,000 are fired, wiping out Iraq’s administrative structure from the top down).
3. Disband the Iraqi military. The kicker.

• Disbanding the military led to the firing (and subsequent infuriating) of half a million men, men who would have been, according to ORHA and the US military, fundamental in suppressing an insurgency and restoring order. Millions of people now are plunged into poverty, with no source of income.
• Iraqi officers offer tens of thousands of men to the US army. Colonel Paul recalls one officer telling him that he could have 10,000 military police on the streets of Bagdad within a week. Nothing was done.
• The decision to disband the military was taken by officials in Washington who had not consulted anyone nor even visited Iraq.
• CPA contracts last only 3 months. Officials who gain any kind of experience are rotated out of the country within 90 days. This is ‘a terrible way to run a country’.
• In May 2003, Sergio Viera de Mello, the UN’s top expert in postwar reconstruction, was sent in by Kofi Anan. His team were all Arabic speakers and with excellent experience working in the region. They set up a non-walled HQ in Bagdad and address grievances of the Iraqi people. He is quickly phased out of US contact and completely ignored after 3 months. Weeks later the UN HQ is bombed and destroyed, killing him.
• US forces continue to pursue unpopular and violent mass arrests and imprisonments. Hundreds of people are killed in instances of mistaken identity. The relationship between the US military and the civilians becomes toxic.
• In 2004, the US army attacks Fallujah in an attempt to regain control of it from the Sunni insurgency. The battle destroys 70% of the city and renders 150,000 people homeless. Whilst this was going on, Shiite militias take over southern Iraq. Within the first democratic election, the party consisting mainly of Muqtada al-Sadr’s Madhi army win 50% of the seats.
• By 2006 Iraq is in near total anarchy. The direct and indirect costs of the war have reached $2 trillion dollars.
• Strategically, the war in Iraq has tied up almost all US military resource, rendering them impotent should any other potentialities reach fruition – such as North Korea.


Lack of operational hardware; money, troops and vehicles
• The Chief of Staff of the US army, Eric Shinseki, had told a Select Committee of the Senate publically that at least ‘several hundreds of thousands of soldiers’ would be needed to occupy Bagdad alone, to prevent violence and ethnic tensions from flaring up.
• The government immediately responded, Wolfowitz for one saying he ‘couldn’t imagine’ needing that number of forces, and putting forward a number under 100,000.
• Interventions in the 90s, such as in Bosnia and Somalia, however, had taught the US that you need X numbers of troops per thousand civilians simply to maintain order. This was a lesson that was not learned.
• The fact that no-one in the Bush Administration had any real military experience is a telling factor.
• April 2003; shooting finally begins in Bagdad, after widespread lawlessness and destruction. There is no police force. Robert Perito, then a Foreign Service Officer, had recommended the US would require at least 2500 in constabulary forces, 4,000 civil police and then teams of judicial advisors and corrections officers. No such force is provided; morgues are receiving upwards of 25 homicide victims a day. This number quickly spirals.
• Vast weapons storage depots and ammunition dumps go unguarded due to lack of troops on the ground. The rapidly forming insurgency is able to arm. Thousands of IEDs are placed; US casualties skyrocket.
• Late 2003, $18billion in funds is made available by Congress to reconstruct Iraq. By 2004, only $1 billion has been spent, with no visible improvements.
• By mid 2004, there are 45,000 mercenaries in the country to supplement poor numbers of US troops. They are over violent, irresponsible and unaccountable. They wantonly murder civilians, rallying hundreds to the insurgency.
• Military hardware is becoming a scarce resource. Only 1 in 8 Humvees has adequate armour plating. IEDs continue to wipe out un-armoured Humvees daily.



• By now the country is in chaos, dominated by criminals and warlords. Ethnic cleansing is commonplace. Abductions and violent killings reach hundreds daily. Fundamentalists infiltrate official organisations and security services. Fake checkpoints are set up, IDs are checked, and then people are killed on the spot.
• As of 2007 there are 10-15 reported bombings a day in Iraq; intelligence suggests it is actually closer to three times this number.
• Water, sewage treatment and electricity is still scarce and in some areas nonexistent. 3 million people have been displaced; this number rises daily.
• There has existed an 8pm curfew on everyone since 2006.
 

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Interesting. Are you asked to provide a balanced account of the whole event, or just present a catalogue of failings? I assume from the fact that your going to be presenting this in an exam that you have sourced all of your information and it is therefore mostly accurate, but a lot of the time you are asked to present both the good and bad sides to an event.

Some stuff in there I didn't know about, a nice short summary. Funny how you never see it in the news any more, isn't it?
 

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A very interesting read, there was a lot of information I and im sure many other people won't be aware of. It really shows the inadequacy of the Bush Administration. Although I noticed nothing about HM armed forces was mentioned, is there a reason for that?
 

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Sethis: aye, this is just preliminary noting, I've yet to properly organise it (into strategic/ethical/legal implications) and also, as you've correctly pointed out, bring in the other side of the argument - that the invasion was in response to a legitimate threat and completely legal (hmmm...). Since the UK is no longer in Iraq, unless something big happens I wouldn't be surprised if it was never in the news again.

bitsandkits; eh?!

CotE: the simple reason HM forces aren't mentioned (or indeed any other coalition forces) is because I've been watching/reading from sources mainly concerned with Bagdad; British forces were tasked with cities in the south of the country.

Thanks all for reading!
 

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'De Ba’athification (Saddam’s ruling party. Many of them are simply professionals doing a good job' - I wish I could have told this to the families I spoke to in 2003, when the Ba'ath party henchmen took their husbands/sons/fathers away for execution in the dead of night . The man of the house of one family was a good lad, 10 years old, spoke good english, and wore his dad's boots since his dad wasn't there.

'Ethnic cleansing is commonplace' it was under Hussein's regime too. I'm guessing the kurds (was the kurds right?) in the north must have just been sleeping http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halabja_poison_gas_attack

'Water, sewage treatment and electricity is still scarce' about mid august, myself and a few others from our troop were tasked with guarding a group of engineers who put the electricity back on for most of basrah by repairing and fixing one of the substations. Ironically we did this four days in a row, as every night, locals would break into the substation and rob the copper, cables, anything they could. A small instance but who's to say its not more common place.

Yeah there's plenty of failings in that war, but you need to paint the full picture, it reads like something the Mirror would have printed when the war was going on, when all they did was ruffle feathers and poke shitty sticks at the military.

Note the positives (there has to have been some surely!!!) that come from it too and it doesn't look like an attack on the US, at the moment it does :)
 

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something interesting that i've heard quite a lot is that, since the americans invaded, some 90% of the worlds opium is made, and distributed, in afganistan. for those of you that don't know heroin, cocain and i think crack are made from opium. i can imagine that the money made from it is quite a bit. don't take this as a fact, it's just what i've heard.
 

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Cocaine is gods gift to low self esteem. Don't knock it.

I think that pretty much makes sense, its hard to present an even account when the facts stackly firmly in favour of the US and Uk being twats. We were, why paint it as anything else?

My opinion though is that the dickhead locals ruined the place themselves not us. They'd shoot down electricity cables to sell then blame is when they had no power. They'd dig up railway sleepers then blame us when the trains crash.

The sad fact is the country is full of uneducated idiots. They destroyed the place when the educated ruffians stopped bossing them about.
 

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something interesting that i've heard quite a lot is that, since the americans invaded, some 90% of the worlds opium is made, and distributed, in afganistan. for those of you that don't know heroin, cocain and i think crack are made from opium. i can imagine that the money made from it is quite a bit. don't take this as a fact, it's just what i've heard.
Cocaine is made from the Coca plant (the same plant that Cola is made from) which is why the Coca Cola corporation is the only company allowed to import the plant into the USA.
 

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Cocaine is made from the Coca plant (the same plant that Cola is made from) which is why the Coca Cola corporation is the only company allowed to import the plant into the USA.

When launched Coca-Cola's two key ingredients were cocaine and caffeine. The cocaine was derived from the coca leaf and the caffeine from kola nut, leading to the name Coca-Cola
 

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Hey guys. For one of my law degree module options I’m doing The Law and Ethics in War and Warfare. The exam (second last ever uni exam! Eeek!) is next Friday, and the war in Iraq is a sure fire topic to come up. Anyway, after doing extensive research, I compiled this timeline-esque set of notes documenting the strategic problems with the war and the ineptitudes which has led to its current status as an unwinnable quagmire.

I hope you find it interesting reading!

EDIT; this is not a go at the US, please don't treat it as such.
It was a very interesting read, yet it does seem to lack any evidence of the good that has been done in Iraq. Much of the information also seems to lack a measure of context, showing poor decisions in a worse light due to missing reasons behind the thinking.

Lacking such reasons, like the general questioning of the US governments need to invade Iraq, makes the US and allied forces look like complete fools. The US took Afganistan in days, due to full media and populace support of the action, while Iraq took weeks due to the media questioning the actions. If the US and allied forces had the same support in Iraq as they did in Afganistan the war would have gone much differently.

You're also missing information of the insanely large no-bid contracts given to companies to rebuild Iraq, one such company that hired Dick Chaney to work for them after he got out of office. As well as the fact that US armed forces went through leadership changes several times in the course of the occupation.

Finally stopping at 2007, before US policy changes begin to really make headway in Iraq, really gives the impression that the entire read is ment to be a blow against the US.

Still it's good data, but just data.
 
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