Monday, December 27, 2004

Army historian cites lack of postwar plan

Army historian cites lack of postwar plan
Military strategist calls effort in Iraq 'mediocre'
Goran Tomasevic / Reuters file
The U.S. military lacked a formal plan for stabilizing Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, a failure that has contributed to a "mediocre" Army effort there, war historian and strategist Maj. Isaiah Wilson III has concluded.
By Thomas E. Ricks
Updated: 12:49 a.m. ET Dec. 25, 2004
The U.S. military invaded Iraq without a formal plan for occupying and stabilizing the country and this high-level failure continues to undercut what has been a "mediocre" Army effort there, an Army historian and strategist has concluded.
advertisement"There was no Phase IV plan" for occupying Iraq after the combat phase, writes Maj. Isaiah Wilson III, who served as an official historian of the campaign and later as a war planner in Iraq. While a variety of government offices had considered the possible situations that would follow a U.S. victory, Wilson writes, no one produced an actual document laying out a strategy to consolidate the victory after major combat operations ended.
"While there may have been 'plans' at the national level, and even within various agencies within the war zone, none of these 'plans' operationalized the problem beyond regime collapse" — that is, laid out how U.S. forces would be moved and structured, Wilson writes in an essay that has been delivered at several academic conferences but not published. "There was no adequate operational plan for stability operations and support operations."
High-level criticism
Similar criticisms have been made before, but until now they have not been stated so authoritatively and publicly by a military insider positioned to be familiar with top-secret planning. During the period in question, from April to June 2003, Wilson was a researcher for the Army's Operation Iraqi Freedom Study Group. Then, from July 2003 to March 2004, he was the chief war planner for the 101st Airborne Division, which was stationed in northern Iraq....