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”?