Bush Administration Ignored The State Department About Lack Of Post-War Planning

Ken AshfordBush & Co., IraqLeave a Comment

No doubt because the State Department primarily deals with diplomacy, and the Bushies don’t do no pansy-ass diplomacy.

One month before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, three State Department bureau chiefs warned of “serious planning gaps for post-conflict public security and humanitarian assistance” in a secret memorandum prepared for a superior.

The State Department officials, who had been discussing the issues with top military officers at the Central Command, noted that the military was reluctant “to take on ‘policing’ roles” in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The three officials warned that “a failure to address short-term public security and humanitarian assistance concerns could result in serious human rights abuses which would undermine an otherwise successful military campaign, and our reputation internationally.”

The Feb. 7, 2003, memo, addressed to Paula J. Dobriansky, undersecretary for democracy and global affairs, came at a time when the Pentagon was increasingly taking over control of post-invasion planning from the State Department. It reflected the growing tensions between State Department and Pentagon officials and their disparate assessments about the challenges looming in post-invasion Iraq.


Shitty post-war planning?  File this under “Duh”. 

But you would think that if the rationale for invading Iraq was to turn it into a democracy and/or humanitarian efforts, the Bush Administration would have paid attention to the State Department’s warnings.  And it should cause you to wonder why the Bush Administration rushed into Iraq before the “gaps for post-conflict public security and humanitarian assistance” were filled.  It probably got the same due attention as the August 6 PDB ("Yeah, whatever")

Anyway, this is a good story, not only because of this document, but also because of the other related documents recently made available under the FOIA.  It’s telling in that it shows how relevant considerations from knowledgable people was virtually ignored in the Oval Office.  It’s not that the Bush people got bad information; it’s that the Bush people ignored inconvenient information.