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November 4, 2006

We Knew in 1999
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 10:55 PM *

The same year George W. Bush was saying “take ‘im out” of Saddam Hussein during a campaign debate before the New Hampshire primary, the Army was estimating that it would take 400,000 troops to take and stabilize Iraq.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A series of secret U.S. war games in 1999 showed that an invasion and post-war administration of Iraq would require 400,000 troops, nearly three times the number there now.

And even then, the games showed, the country still had a chance of dissolving into chaos.

In the simulation, called Desert Crossing, 70 military, diplomatic and intelligence participants concluded the high troop levels would be needed to keep order, seal borders and take care of other security needs.

The documents came to light Saturday through a Freedom of Information Act request by George Washington University’s National Security Archive, an independent research institute and library.

By golly! Do you suppose Rumsfeld and Bush could have learned of this? Wasn’t that what General Shinseki was trying to tell them?

What else did those war games show?

# “A change in regimes does not guarantee stability,” the 1999 seminar briefings said. “A number of factors including aggressive neighbors, fragmentation along religious and/or ethnic lines, and chaos created by rival forces bidding for power could adversely affect regional stability.”

# “Even when civil order is restored and borders are secured, the replacement regime could be problematic — especially if perceived as weak, a puppet, or out-of-step with prevailing regional governments.”

# “Iran’s anti-Americanism could be enflamed by a U.S.-led intervention in Iraq,” the briefings read. “The influx of U.S. and other western forces into Iraq would exacerbate worries in Tehran, as would the installation of a pro-western government in Baghdad.”

# “The debate on post-Saddam Iraq also reveals the paucity of information about the potential and capabilities of the external Iraqi opposition groups. The lack of intelligence concerning their roles hampers U.S. policy development.”

# “Also, some participants believe that no Arab government will welcome the kind of lengthy U.S. presence that would be required to install and sustain a democratic government.”

# “A long-term, large-scale military intervention may be at odds with many coalition partners.”

Does any of that sound familiar? Like “ripped from today’s headlines”?

Incompetents and wishful-thinkers. That’s who we have in Washington. But they have a plan! Torture enough prisoners and it’ll all come out okay….

Comments on We Knew in 1999:
#1 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2006, 11:18 PM:

1999 -- like, that's so last millenium. Besides, Clinton was President then. And anyway, that war-game stuff is way too reality-based for Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld.

Ya gotta laugh, otherwise you'll cry.

#2 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 12:08 AM:

Because of the current deliberately fact-ignoring administration, this comes as no surprise. What Lizzy L said. It ain't faith-based and what they thing should be so in their worldview, so they ignore it.

Very sad. Kick the bastards out. This election will be a start.

Please, everyone, go vote.

#3 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 01:01 AM:

the word "thing" should be "think"

#4 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 03:56 AM:

There's plenty of room for wargames to be misleading: for one thing, they depend on how you think things work. But most of the examples I know of include some pretty blatant rigging to make the result "better".

Although, sometimes, you can also see that rigging as way of checking options. "Yes, if they sink all our carriers we can't invade Midway. So let's reset the situation so we can test the actual invasion." Sounds reasonable, but then things get political and awkward truths can be ignored, until the enemy gets as lucky as they did in the wargame.

And the wargaming I've done, purely as a hobby, has plenty of examples of how the players can overwhelm the apparent advantages the rules give one side or another. But that's tactical, somebody playing the hi-tech Americans not watching his flanks and getting ammbushed.

Still, a professional wargame saying that Iraq would need 400,000 troops: that's a big enough difference that it hardly matters if it was optimistic or not.

#5 ::: galloglass ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 04:26 AM:

On a different note, BBC news is reporting that Saddam Hussein has been convicted and sentenced to death by hanging.

As someone else might say:

"And here we are, coming down the stretch in an election campaign, and it's on the front page of your newspapers. Isn't that interesting? Somebody has taken it upon themselves to adjust the trial timing for political purposes."

#6 ::: Tom S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 06:40 AM:

galloglass: I don't see how Saddam's conviction would help the GOP. After all, the likely outcome is another wave of sectarian violence in Iraq just a day or so before the U.S. elections, which is exactly what the Republicans don't want. No news at all from Iraq right now is probably their fondest desire.

#7 ::: Cynthia ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 07:15 AM:

Tom S in #6: I am sad to have to disagree with you. The phone rang early this morning, even before I'd had the requisite ritual cup of morning coffee, for my *token republican relative* to report the news that Saddam had been found guilty, and see, George was right!

Perhaps it won't sway the sophisticated voter, but for those who want their knee-jerk support of all things red vindicated, it's a red letter day.

#8 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 09:38 AM:

Poor bugger, they'll probably botch the hanging.

#9 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 11:49 AM:

Cynthia... Did your Republican relative say what George was rigth about? That Saddam Hussein was a very Bad Guy? I'd be about as surprised if George's intellect were monitored closely by experts and found somewhat lacking.

#10 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 12:14 PM:

Well, you know, out here in the reality-based community this is clearly more evidence that George & Co. can't tell their collective arses from holes in the ground. However, in the fantasy-based community in the White House, this is going to be taken as further proof that the Democrats are for 'cutting and running'.

#11 ::: Cynthia ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 12:24 PM:

Serge --

She appeared to be taking Saddam's conviction as proof 'we were getting things done' in Iraq. I have to admit that I didn't quiz her too much about it, as her answers tend to make my brain hurt.

Now I'm wishing I asked her if she'd thought there was the slightest chance in the world of him being found not guilty.

#12 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 12:28 PM:

Cynthia... If you had asked that question, she probably would have come up with a response that was totally irrelevant and/or definitely not Reality-based.

#13 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 12:30 PM:

...the Democrats are for 'cutting and running'...

I prefer thinking of it as cutting & pasting.

#14 ::: Martyn Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 03:08 PM:

#8 Dave Bell

Only if they get an American to hang him. Fortunately for Saddam, there are enough well practised executioners in Iraq to guarantee him an easy passage. After all, he used to employ them.

#15 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 03:11 PM:

I suspect that anyone who sees this conviction as proving anything about George Bush's competence is not a swing voter anyway. I doubt it'll change anyone's vote at all.

#16 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 04:33 PM:

One thing about these types of wargames is that they aren't run once, they're run several times, over and over. Each time different variables are inserted, usually one side is disadvantaged (mostly the Good Guys(tm) gets to learn from the past games, the opposition is instructed to ignore previous runs), and the report at the end includes all the lessons learned.

#17 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 06:56 PM:

Saddam gets an automatic appeal which is estimated to take a couple of years.

#18 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 07:54 PM:

Cynthia: "The phone rang early this morning, even before I'd had the requisite ritual cup of morning coffee, for my *token republican relative* to report the news that Saddam had been found guilty, and see, George was right"

Did you note that Saddam was convicted in the death of 145 or so people, and ask if that was worth 2,800 of ours?

#19 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 08:26 PM:

And Saddam was convicted for his deeds in 1982, which was before the US supplied him with arms and armaments, before we shared intelligence with him, and before Donald Rumsfeld shook his hand.

With Saddam hanged (not that he doesn't deserve it) I guess we'll never find out what other ties he had with the US and US intelligence, or where those pesky weapons of mass destruction might be located.

#20 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 10:42 PM:

I don't think the verdict will sway anyone's vote, but I worry that it might galvanize some Bush supporters who might otherwise have stayed home.

You know, I don't much like being the kind of person who wishes that some people would just not vote. But it's either that or wish that they would stop being impervious to facts, which just doesn't seem possible with the stalwart pro-Bush core. It's depressing.

#21 ::: Cynthia Wood ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 09:22 AM:

Cynthia the other - You're making me feel like I have an alter-ego, as I had an almost identical conversation with my conservo-relative. Actually I have a lot of conservo-relatives, but this one happened to be my mother.

I think she's so desperate for news that doesn't make the Republicans look like corrupt incompetant thugs that she's willing to take anything at this point.

Reality-based thinking isn't her strong point on any topic, but politics is stretching even her well-practiced denial this last few weeks.

#22 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 06:45 PM:

we knew in 1991 when Bush Senior contemplated invading Iraq. We knew in 1999. And we knew in 2003. The generals were saying in March 2003 several hundred thousand troops, several years of bloody occupation, and possibility of civil war beyond our ability to contain it. That's been the reality all along.

Everytime someone gets huffy and asks me, "Well, you're so smart, what's YOUR exit strategy?" I tell them it's already been worked out how this will pan out. We're playing exactly according to the generals' predictions. This is exactly what they said we'd get. Don't blame me if you didn't listen.

#23 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 06:54 PM:

"Well, you're so smart, what's YOUR exit strategy?"

That's like dropping a raw egg then turning to the guy beside you and saying "What's YOUR plan for putting it back together?"

I'll tell you what the exit strategy is: Put 'em all on airplanes.

We can do that now, or we can wait ten years and have 50,000 dead Americans first, but that's what the exit strategy is going to be.

#24 ::: Dean ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 06:42 PM:

People really need to stop describing the situation in Iraq as a mistake brought on by incompetence. This was always the plan from the beginning. A stable Iraq would be one we could not get oil (not to mention all those no-bid contracts for Halliburton and Dyncorp) out of, because a stable Iraq would be one the Iraqis could govern themselves. As long as Iraq is unstable, there's an excuse for us to be in there. If the people in the Bush administration are such "incompetents and wishful-thinkers," and everything in the war is going so wrong for them, then why are they making so much money off of it?

War profiteering does not happen on accident. You don't become a billionaire by slipping on a banana peel.

People also need to stop pretending that the Democrats are going to save them, or that they're even interested in saving them. Corruption, on both the Democrat side and the Republican side, is the name of the game in this election. It's the name of the game in politics everywhere. Who was in charge of Congress when they voted to go to war with Afghanistan? The Democrats. Who was in charge of Congress when they voted to go to war with Iraq? The Democrats. Who was in charge of Congress when they voted to approve the Patriot Act? The Democrats. Until we all start voting in some third party candidates we are all screwed, forever.

#25 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 06:47 PM:

Dean, you mean like the Greens in Pennsylvania? (/snark).

What we need is not another non-viable party (there are, for example, four third-party candidates for governor of California, and at least three for senator) . What we need are reasonably honest main-party candidates; that is, ones that aren't blown around by every opinion poll and consultant, and can't be threatened into compliance by a President bent on illegal activity.

#26 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 08:33 PM:

Because some Democrats supported something all Republicans did, it's all the Democrats fault.

#27 ::: Dean ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:16 PM:

No Nancy, because SOME Democrats supported something SOME Republicans did, NOBODY should vote for either party based solely on their party lines. I'm sorry if my post came off as pure Democrat bashing, I really didn't mean for it to sound that way. I actually only brought them into the conversation because it's election day today and I always get frustrated when people talk about voting Democrat as if, by default, what they would do would automatically be in opposition to what the Republicans would do. There are a few politicians in the Democratic party that I really like; Howard Dean (though he's been pretty pointless since the 2004 election ended) and Cynthia McKinney in general. A lot of Iraq vets are running for office on the Democratic ticket in certain places, and that definitely sounds like a good thing. There's also a few people in the Republican party that I like (though Ron Paul is the only one I can think of right now, lol).

My point in bringing up the Democrats is that in general, and especially when voting for federal offices, the Democratic platform and the Republican platform differ on only a few domestic issues like taxes and abortion and social security, while being almost identical on foreign issues. Especially when it comes to war. None of the major Democratic candidates has put forth any kind of plan to get out of Iraq, or even do anything differently there. They speak of such plans, but they do not tell the plans themselves. They say the war is stupid and terrible and wrong, but then they continue to vote for it. And when any kind of rebellion does come up it's usually in an election year. Cynthia McKinney spoke against the Iraq war, but she spoke against it too soon for her fellow Congressional Democrats and so was made the pariah of the party.

The Congressional Democrats may talk about being against the war, but really it's just theater because they don't want their Democratic voters to turn against then. Anyone in Congress (in both parties) claiming they didn't know the Iraq war was BS is clearly lying. Either that or they're just stupid. If everyone else knew it was crap, they should have known too. There's no excuse for anyone in office at the time to have voted for it.

Now that I think of it, "Vote for somebody new" would be a good starting point for undecided voters. As long as they knew not to vote for that party that has a good sounding name but are secretly neo-nazis. (no, not the Republicans, the other ones, lol)

Anyways, my point in bringing all that up was to say that they're not actually an opposition party because Congress is overflowing with comfortable and corrupt career politicians in BOTH parties, that stay in office because of people voting by a candidates party instead of what that candidate actually does. I figured the fact that the Republican party is a ridiculous criminal empire was obvious that it went without saying (although the first paragraph of what I wrote was all about it). But this post is waaaaaaay too long already without me listing out all their horrors.

The corruption is more concentrated in the Republicans, specifically and obviously amongst the Neocons of course, but there are enough bad eggs in the Democratic seats in Congress that I just don't think they should get as many automatic opposition party votes as they do.

Saying "vote third party" was a bit over simplistic, true. There are some good people running for office on the Democratic ticket this election. They are an unfortunately small minority however. Actual anti-war candidates, politicians who do more than give lip service to the idea of peace because they think it will get them votes, are hard to find. Or at least it is on the federal level I should say.

It is only the because of the belief that no third party can ever win an election that keeps people voting for and supporting third parties. And there are a lot more third party candidates out there that I like (some of them even have a chance of winning this year) than there are in the big two. As long as people keep thinking that they have no choice but to pick between only these big too parties, who's leaders are largely bribed (or "funded" as they prefer to call it) by the same huge corporations, nothing is ever going to change. I'm not saying anybody here votes like that, but you all know a lot of people do.

Anyways, I hope this didn't sound too long or rambling, I just always end up writing a lot whenever I write anything.

Everyone should just make sure to vote for something revolutionary if you can find it. Now is not the time for average politics.

#28 ::: Dean ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:20 PM:

Hmmm, it's only now that see that first sentence sounds a lot more obnoxious than it was meant to, lol. Sorry about that!

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