I still fail to see the ultimate brilliance of the vaunted war plan. The key here is the debate between the policy and miitary people in the DOD. In using faulty assumptions and a meager ground force, we lost the ability to prevent societal break downs from which we are trying desparately to recover. We also lost tons of very critical documents both for the prosecution of the war criminals and for our credibilty in justifying the war. The Ministry of Oil remains untouched by the looting, but all other government buildings have been razed, which shows that if they wanted to save them they could have at least had a plan in place.
The war was not simply about subduing the Iraqi regime's military, but about acheiving certain aims and goals. Because of the way the war was executed, with poor post war planning, much fewer troops than needed and a clear misreading of the Iraqi/Middle Eastern situation, the policy people have made life much more difficult for the military. For instance, there were not enough troops in the north nor were there proceedures in place to address the inevitable conflict between Arabs and Kurds who were forced out of their land which was then given to Arabs. Also the whole talk of liberation was nothing short of silly and now they are realizing that you can't pull a quick PR campaign on people in this situation. The planners thought that the people would worship and kiss their feet, but now they are facing a problem of palpable animopsity. They also underestimate the Shiite and Irannian issue. The speed and effectiveness of Shiite organization has stunned them and now they are fighting to stem the tide towards and Islamist theocracy.
There was a lot of wisdom to the idea of proceeding along the war path with the UN and now we see why. At the very least if we had waited another year, we would have gotten better intelligence and the planning would have been much better. Congress would have, at the least, held hearings to raise some of the issues and the administration would have benefitted from the public debate. Also if we went in with a broader coalition, especially with EU partners, the Islamist tide from the Shiite connection in Iran would have been blunted, it is what it is now because it is being fueled by anti-Americanism.
I guess that's all water under the bridge.
On another subject, I actually do think that Sen. Kerry is a solid Democratic candidate and can beat Bush. For now, I think I'd vote for him, but that's "for now," and if McCain's not running.