6 years ago: Worst-case scenarios

March 19, 2007, on this blog: Worst-case scenarios

The invasion of Iraq was planned for and conducted with Plan A and only Plan A in place. That plan involved a military “cakewalk” with American forces being “greeted as liberators,” followed shortly thereafter by the flowering of a pro-America, pro-Israel democracy, funded by privatized/westernized oil revenues that would limit American expenditures for reconstruction and nation-building to $1.7 billion.

This sounds like mocking exaggeration, but it is not. That was precisely the plan. The phrases “cakewalk” and “greeted as liberators” were actually spoken, and $1.7 billion was the precise figure cited by the Bush administration. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said that America’s military involvement, “Could last, you know, six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.” That was Plan A and there was no Plan B. Plan B could not be allowed, because even to think of it was to hope against, and somehow even to bring about, the failure of Plan A.

"Thought so. They really seem to want to take ALL the positions though."

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  • “Could last, you know, six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.” Your stay here in Purgatory Mr. Bush and Mr. Rumsfeld. It is not written in stone now that you have arrived here following your obvious journey here. BTW, your cafeteria tickets have a combined $1.7 billion dollar budget. Good luck with that guys. You may lose some weight while waiting here for other opportunities to occur. And your friend Dick rated other accommodations elsewhere should you be curious about that particular matter.

  • Foreigner

    pro-Israel? Surely nobody seriously expected that?

  • Robyrt

    Many, if not most, wars throughout history have been started and planned on overly optimistic grounds. The American Civil War is a classic example: initial Union enlistments were for only 90 days, on the theory that it couldn’t take that long to end a war where the two capitals are separated only by 100 miles of farmland.

  • WalterC

    True, but at least an argument can be made that those wars were involuntary on our part. The Confederates attacked and seized a federal fortress in South Carolina. What exactly did Iraq do to us? I can understand making a mistake in the heat of the moment, during a minute-by-minute response to a sudden outbreak of armed conflict.

    But the Bush Administration could have deliberated over Iraq for as long as they wanted; there was no clear and present danger. No Iraqi Revolutionary Guards marching down D.C., no nuclear missiles trained on the the U.S., no jets flying overhead. They could have come up with realistic estimates (at least, more realistic than six weeks to conquer a country and transform it into a stable, secular, liberal democracy!) but they didn’t, in part because they knew that if they said that it would take six months or six years voters might have reacted badly.

  • Even a suitcase nuke sent over by Saddam Hussein would, by simple virtue of the need to secretively get it into the USA, have been limited in yield and anyway, he’d have had to be the worst moron in the world to even consider that.

    He had his nice little slice of heaven amid a lot of misery and jeopardizing that by trying on anything with the USA would have been the rankest lack of self-preservation I’ve ever seen.

  • After September 11 attitudes in the USA seriously hardened against Arabs and Muslims, and as a consequence Israel got rather a free ride for a few years.

  • flat

    the first thought that came up in my head when I heard the Americans attacked Iraq was: okay, now is the genie out of the bottle, or something like that.

  • rizzo

    Hahaha they lost almost 10x more than that in cold hard cash!

  • mcc

    Today on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq war the morning news is 65+ Iraqis killed by car bombs and 7 U.S. marines killed in an accidental mortar detonation in one of our own bases in Nevada. Americans dead of a self-inflicted wound, 10 times as many Iraqis dead from the chaos our long-past invasion left them in. Yeah.

  • I’m going to put this here because it seems least likely to interfere in new discussions. If I knew how to contact Fred directly instead, I would.

    The new Disqus settings on Patheos make me nauseous. I cannot read even one comment without feeling ill, let alone scroll through many — that makes me nauseous *and* gives me a headache. There are other blogs that use different fonts and settings for the new Disqus that do not cause this issue. Other people have different problems, like not being able to follow threaded conversations.

    Fred, you need to know that being on Patheos, with the settings it has now, is stopping people from participating in your community. Not from some moral stance, but because it is literally physically impossible for us to participate. People with certain disabilities/physical issues are being disallowed from participation in this new platform.

    I won’t be able to come back to talk about this for obvious reasons.

  • Lori

    The Neocons did. For them being pro-Israel is part and parcel of being pro-US. Because they are ridiculous, intellectually stunted people.

  • Lori

    Israel was getting a free pass in US policy long before 9/11.

    I think Foreigner’s question was about how anyone could think that a Muslim country in the Middle East would be pro-Israel under any circumstances not involving an AU.

  • Nick Gotts

    I’ve just been reading Ian Kershaw on Mussolini’s 1940 invasion of Greece (in his Fateful Choices). The “planning” for that sounds remarkably similar to that for the invasion of Iraq – although even Mussolini did not expect the Greeks to welcome the invaders as liberators (Greece had its own pocket-Duce at the time, by the name of Metaxas). Arguably, it was this folly that sealed Mussolini’s fate, and even that of the Axis; if, instead, he had invited the Germans to assist with an offensive in north Africa, Britain might have been driven out of the war, leaving Hitler free to attack the USSR without distraction.

  • Foreigner

    That was what I was after, yes. Like you say below, beyond dumb.

  • DavidCheatham

    I’ve always been proud of the fact that, despite stupidly buying the WMD claims, I pulled back at the last second and say ‘Wait, why are we hurrying this so much? We’re already _in_ another war, and Saddam is pretty well contained. Why do we need to invade the country _now_? Do we even need to invade at all? Isn’t his secular government one of the few in the middle east and haven’t we pretty well concluded that Saddam is only driven by money? Let’s just _buy_ the damn country from him.’