5,224. 7/12/2003

“The small circle of senior civilians in the Defense Department who dominated planning for postwar Iraq failed to prepare for the setbacks that have erupted during the past two months, according to interviews with more than a dozen current and former senior government officials. The sources explained that there were no real postwar plans because officials thought Iraqis would welcome U.S. troops with open arms and Washington could install a favored Iraqi exile leader as the country’s leader. The Pentagon civilians ignored CIA and State Department experts who disputed them, resisted White House pressure to back off from their favored exile leader, and when their scenario collapsed amid increasing violence and disorder, they had no backup plan, the officials said. …’There was no real planning for postwar Iraq,’ said a former senior U.S. official who left government recently. …’We could have done so much better,’ lamented a former senior Pentagon official, who is still a Defense Department adviser.”

 – Jonathan S. Landay and Warren P. Strobel, “Pentagon Civilians’ Lack of Planning Contributed to Chaos in Iraq,” Knight-Ridder, July 12, 2003

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