What were the Bush admninistrations plans for a post-war Iraq?

How were they planning to create a democratic Iraq that was not run solely by the Shi’ite majority? How were they expecting the Iraqis to build up their economy? What were their plans for Saddam Hussein if they happened to capture him rather than kill him?

No, really, I want to know because from where I sit they had no plans whatsoever. They seem to be stumbling blindly since the fall of Bagdhad. But I will put aside my impressions and prejudices and listen as you, Mr Bush’s supporters, explain what was planned, what has worked, what didn’t, what contingency plans were made, what isn’t done yet but looks to have a successful outcome, etc.

These are honest questions and at the beginning of this thread I would prefer that the anti-Bush crowd please keep their comments to themselves. Later we’ll open the floor but please humor me for now.

Well when you ask what the “administration” had in mind, you should be more specific. The post-war detail was originally to be handled by the State Department, ie Powell, and then the job was handed to Rummy in the Defense Department. The plan was all layed out, thoroughly documented by the State Dept. So “admin” has many faces, and is not always the most cohesive government “body”.

:smack: No, I don’t have to be more specific. State and Defense are both part of the Executive Branch and Powell and Rummy, as cabinet officers, both report to Bush and he in turn tells them what to do in a general way and they and their minions make it work.

As far as I know, the administration never made any post-war stabilization and reconstruction plans public before the invasion. One of my major objections to the war was the fact that Bush was chomping at the bit to invade as soon as possible, at the cost of gathering more international support and establishing a well-thought out post-invasion plan. So I paid a lot of attention to what came out of the White House during the march to war, and they really didn’t talk about it. Most questions about post-war plans were answered with some variant of “Saddam is bad”.

My guess is that the administration just assumed it could sort things out on the fly after the war was over and simply hope for the best, which is dangerously careless in my opinion.

I suspect it was one part “Let Chalibi sort it out” coupled with two parts “The Iraqis will be so happy to be free from Saddam that they’ll all link hands and be happy-happy together” wishful thinking.

US outlines post-war Iraq plans (20 March, 2003):

Text: Azores summit statement (16 March, 2003):

Thanks for the links Squink.

So, it sounds like they had a clear idea of what they wanted to do. However, I wonder if they had a clear idea of how they were actually going to make it happen?

Were they naive enough to think it would be simple task, and that they would be welcomed by the vast majority of Iraqis? Or did they know it was going to be a nightmare, but decided it was going to be worth the pain in the long run? Unfortunately, I’d be suprised if we can get a conclusive answer to this.

I urge any Doper really interested in this question to read this article in the Atlantic Online, the online extension of the Atlantic Monthly, by James Fallows. The lead in reads as follows:

“The U.S. occupation of Iraq is a debacle not because the government did no planning but because a vast amount of expert planning was willfully ignored by the people in charge. The inside story of a historic failure”

A bit of a slog, as most reading on government policy is, but very, very informative.

(The gist, for the lazy, is that we did lots of planning for post-war Iraq, and a lot of it quite good planning. For political reasons, we didn’t follow any of it.)

There do seem to be very real questions about the immediacy of the war. Given that the WMD issue doesn’t look well supported, and given that the administration knew the case was not as strong as it was presenting it, why the rush to war when more preparations and groundwork could have been laid? Why not wait until the troops were properly equiped for an occupation? Why wait to get more in place, thus making things safer for all of them? Why not spend more time winning international support? It wouldn’t have hurt, and it might well have helped everything go better.

Is there any good answer besides the needs of politics?

The Atlantic article also claims there was considerable friction between civilian and military leadership on many aspects of this action, including such things as force level needed, timetables, etc., and that the civilians generally acted as they wished.

It also strongly suggests that a strong thread among the civilian leaders was an attitude that it would be inappropriate to predict or plan for what will happen, because the future is too uncertain. I recall Rumsfield is particularly painted in this manner.

Disclaimer, I do not intend to present this article as the ultimate authority on this matter - it is simply the best among the little I have read on topic. Further, I fully acknowledge that I may be subjectively predisposed to accept its unflattering portrayal of the administration’s actions. Sorry if my contributions are seen as taking this thread down the path you disfavor, drop.

Not as far as I can see. There may have been genuine concern that more time would have given Saddam time to prepare and deploy his WMDs, but I think that is a very weak argument. He would already have had all the time he needed to prepare. And thats assuming the government was really as worried about his WMDs as they made out.

I think the real reason for the timing of the war is that the US government was concerned that the UN inspections might have made progress, and public support for the war might have weakened.

Very interesting article btw elucidator, it raises a lot of questions.

Dude, I gave 'em a day and unless somebody is researching and writing the most thorough explanation of the Administrations plans I’ve seen the floor is open. Anyway, that Fallows story was elucidator’s contribution, not yours. Is there something we don’t know about? :wink:

Funny, ain’t it, that there is sudden silence from the Bushies? I thought I was bending over backwards to allow them to make their case. I mean, I genuinely wanted the questions answered and I hoped that my impressions were inaccurate, but without a “this is how it was and is, Mike” out of any of them I have to assume the plan was to wing it, which seems like what they are doing.

There. If THAT doesn’t pull one in from the bushes I don’t know what will.

I mean “this is how it was and is, drop”!

(replacing the veil of anonymity)

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

The State Dept planning was called the Future of Iraq Project (FIP). It was deemed too pessimistic by various Pentagon voices. The project planning was scrapped, but then revived belatedly when it was realized that it wasn’t too pessimistic.

The conclusions were not politically salable. Same with Shinseki’s assessment of the forces needed to secure Iraq. Not salable meant the Pentagon didn’t use them. A shame. Cost the lives of US military personel and dollars of US taxpayers.

The fact that there’s not a well known plan for the recon of Iraq nor a well known explanantion of how a invaded Iraq will “transform” the ME. By and large supporters of the invasion haven’t been troubled by lack of details. By and Large, people who’ve been troubled by these things didn’t support the invasion.

My objections to the invasion began from realizing that the gov was feeding the public BS again. That was sufficient for me to oppose and suspect the invasion. Subsequently, I’ve found more and more shadiness. Of course, shadiness from politicians isn’t a newsflash.

More on the FIP later…

From the OSP thread

Here’s a link to the Frontline piece:

truth, war and consequences (home page)

interviews with major players including Bremer, Chalabi, Garner and Perle

There’s discussion of the pre-war planning for the post-war period.

Here’s a one stop shop for some resources on the State Dept’s FIP

So much to see

hamster food