Thursday, March 24, 2005

Defence Committee Report

The House of Commons Defence Committee has published a report today. I've been watching news stories and reading about this, so I didn't spend too long considering the report earlier in the day. Then a thought struck me; wouldn't it be just like the Blair government to manipulate the media so that the Defence Committee report missed the headlines. On reflection, I've realised that it was an overly cynical thought, even for me, and even though it concerns the government of a liar. Still, if you missed the report, you can read about it at BBC online. Or, if you really want to, you can read the full report from the Defence Committee. I didn't, but you might want to.

I did read the Key Planning Misjudgements. There are five listed by the committee. Here is a short extract from each of them:
1. First, instead of the grateful, amenable population, which the Coalition had apparently hoped to find, many Iraqis sought actively to take advantage of the power vacuum that followed the combat phase.
2. Second, and perhaps most importantly, the Coalition underestimated the insurgency—or, at least, its potential.
3. Third, the Coalition seemed to be unable to decide what to do about the Iraqi military and security forces.
4. Fourth, the Coalition did not appear to plan adequately for the scope of the reconstruction task that lay before it nor did it seem to realise how quickly it would be expected to act to ameliorate the situation.
5. Finally, the Coalition underestimated the number of troops required to meet the challenges of Iraq's post-conflict transition.

These misjudgements do not seem to be consistent with the humanitarian mission which, we are told, was a key objective of the invasion of Iraq. Of course it is easy to be wise after the event, but I can clearly remember opponents of the war arguing that there would be a breakdown in law and order in Iraq if the Coalition invaded.

At the time of writing, the Iraq Body Count organisation reports 17,186 civilians killed in the military intervention in Iraq.

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