SteveG1 got it right: ‘catastrophic success’ = succeeded too well, leaving oneself open to consequences that otherwise wouldn’t have happened.
That’s bullshit, in this particular for-instance. They weren’t exactly expecting a long war; if they had been, they would have either started earlier, or waited until fall. Summer comes early in Iraq, and it’s no time to fight a war.
Not to mention, they’d been planning for this war, off the radar, practically since January 21, 2001; hell, some of these guys had been planning this war for a lot longer than that. And they’d been officially planning it since right after 9/11. Things didn’t go to hell in a handbasket over there simply because our troops got to Baghdad a week or two ahead of somebody’s schedule.
Not to mention, Rumsfeld’s whole approach to the war was to aim at a quick KO. So what Bush is saying is, things went according to plan, and because of that, everything went wrong. Like that makes sense.
No, things went bad because they didn’t do a lick of risk management. They didn’t think about what could go wrong, and as a result, they didn’t have plans to mitigate the risks. ‘Miscalculation’, my ass. It’s not a matter of calculating rightly or wrongly; it’s a matter of planning for all the possibilities with a significant likelihood of happening, the whole range. This involves making sure knowledgeable, experienced people with a lot of different relevant backgrounds are in the room, asking what could go wrong at each phase, what the probabilities are, what the consequences might be, and what can be done to head off the risks ahead of time, or mitigate their fallout if they should happen. And from that, you come up with a plan to handle the risks.
But that’s exactly the sort of environment these guys hate, from Bush on down. They don’t like people who might question, and come up with ‘wrong’ answers.
The State Department did this exercise, and the Bushies tossed it in the wastebasket, of course.