Friday, March 28, 2003

Well, this is a surprise... if by "is" you mean "is not". Yep, it looks like the CIA warned the Pentagon about the possibility of guerilla warfare.

Intelligence analysts warned senior Pentagon officials before the war in Iraq began that Iraqi paramilitary units would fight back and could pose a significant threat to American-led coalition forces, officials said today.

The Central Intelligence Agency issued a report last month that said that paramilitary units loyal to Saddam Hussein could threaten rear areas during an allied advance. The agency report also raised concerns about the possibility that the paramilitary forces could mount attacks against Iraqi civilians and use other irregular methods to try to tie down coalition forces.
To be fair, the same story points out that the threat of guerilla warfare wasn't being prioritized by said analysts, and that "a lot more attention was paid to the Republican Guard and to the possible use of weapons of mass destruction". Fair enough. The problem, though, is the possible political consideration:

The optimism of the political leadership at the Pentagon that Mr. Hussein's government would quickly collapse in the face of an American-led invasion may also have overridden concerns among analysts about the possibility that Iraqi forces would use guerrilla tactics.

Officials have said top Pentagon policy makers were strongly influenced in their belief that the Baghdad government was brittle by accounts from Iraqi dissident leaders who said they expected relatively little opposition to the invasion.
This might be nothing... or it might mean that said analysts were also under pressure to adhere to the accepted interpretation being put forward by the Neo-con hawks about the situation, an interpretation that was at the root of the (what would have been disasterous) plan of Rumsfeld's to send in even fewer troops, a plan that the military brass luckily (and wisely) avoided. There is certainly precedent for this: pressure to "stick to the party line" has been characteristic of the Bush administration's treatment of its economic advisors since they took power, and the Bush administration is notorious for its obsession with loyalty and disloyalty. It's also odd that this wasn't prioritized, considering how it would disrupt Rumsfeld's plans for the war... it begs the question of why it wasn't paid "a lot more attention".

Even if everything else goes according to plan, questions should be and must be raised about how this war was planned and conducted. Right now the nation is behind the soldiers, behind Bush, and behind winning this war as soon as possible. The Bush administration and its satellites would do well to remember, however, that when the war stops- the questions will start.

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