In his new book War and Decision, former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith describes two signal administration blunders in Iraq.
The first, the failure to provide adequate security forces once Baghdad had fallen. Whereas Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld refused to provide additional American troops for the purpose, Ambassador Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, refused to employ Iraqis. The result: A policy impasse as Iraq descended into chaos.
The second blunder? The failure to transfer sovereignty from the Coalition Provisional Authority to Iraqis themselves much, much sooner than we did. Rumsfeld wanted a quick transition after just a few months; Bremer instead planned a transition that would have taken more like two years. The result, again: impasse.
One man, I note, could have broken both impasses. Where was the President of the United States?
For Douglas Feith’s answers, click on the image above.