Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"We Should Have Learned"

Here's Dr. Emile A. Nakhleh, the CIA Director of the Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program in Harper's:
The main reason for our failure in Iraq was not looking at the “morning after.” It was obvious that the military campaign would succeed, but there was also an ideological view among some administration officials that we would be received as liberators. Those people did not understand that just because the Iraqis hated Saddam, that didn't mean they would like our occupation.

Iraq was more complex than just Saddam. We should have learned from the experience of the British in the 1920s, when modern Iraq was created—namely, that bringing in outside leaders would not work. People expressed views about the need to plan for a post-Saddam Iraq, about the potential for sectarian violence and the rise of militias, about the fact that the Shiites would want to rise politically. These were not minority views in the intelligence community, but the administration ended up listening to other voices. The focus was on invading Iraq and getting rid of Saddam, and after that everything would be fine and dandy.

Tip of the hat to Laura Rozen at War and Piece.


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